Austria Stands Firm on Banking Privacy


Austrian Vice Chancellor Michael Spindelegger has stated that  Austria will support the proposed (as revised) European Union Savings Tax Directive, provided that third states such as Switzerland and Liechtenstein also agree to must participate in the Directive.


The aim of the new Directive is to close loopholes and prevent individuals from evading taxation on interest income by enhancing the existing automatic information exchange system for EU tax authorities.


Austria made its adoption of the text conditional. The Government said from the outset that it would not relinquish its banking secrecy for Austrian nationals, but will agree to exchange information automatically concerning EU residents with accounts held in Austria.


It also said that third states such as Switzerland and Liechtenstein must participate in the Directive, and warned against a European and a global standard operating in tandem.


The EU Council of Economic and Finance Ministers agreed at a recent meeting in Brussels that banking secrecy could remain in place for Austrian nationals.


So the game of cat and mouse between the EU and the EU tax (and Banking Privacy) Havens continues as it has since 2003.


One doubts the EU will get their way. Countries like Austria Switzerland and Liechtenstein (with their lucrative banking and financial services sectors) have too much to lose…  If I was a betting man my money would be on them agreeing to apply a 20% Witholding tax on interest earned in local accounts by non-nationals rather than hand over account owner info…



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