Sharon Bowles MEP welcomes new UK Tax Accord with Switzerland

November 10, 2010 6:00 AM
Originally published by Surrey County Council Lib Dems

Sharon Bowles MEPThe UK and Switzerland will begin negotiations that could see Britons with Swiss bank accounts pay tax on the interest they earn.

Switzerland, which has strict secrecy laws, has long been a popular place for wealthy foreigners to keep their money. Approximately £100 - £125 billion of British investors' money is believed to have been squirrelled away in Swiss banks.

The new tax deal, which followed talks between George Osborne and Swiss Finance Minister, Hans-Rudolf Merz, in London yesterday, could raise over £1billion in tax, to be collected by HM Revenue and Customs.

However, the UK government has stated that any future tax on interest should be retroactive, a position not shared by the Swiss government.

Sharon Bowles MEP, who chairs the European Parliament's influential Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, said: "I support the move by the UK government to tax the savings of wealthy British citizens who see fit to hoard their money offshore in Swiss banks where the tax man cannot get to it."

"On matters of tax, I believe that information sharing is the way forward. The European Parliament has repeatedly asked for more exchange of information so that wealthy individuals and corporations pay their fair share of tax. Indeed, greater cooperation between Member States on tax governance is the only way to eliminate tax fraud, which costs the EU €250 billion a year."

"That said, I am sure there will be people who do not want to pay tax on their fortunes but, whether the new rules are retroactive or not, these people can afford it."