Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Determined to portray a new and positive image of the Principality, Liechtenstein’s Prime Minister and Finance Minister Klaus Tschütscher has recently insisted that the age of so-called tax havens, jurisdictions deemed to be uncooperative in tax matters, is now over.
According to Prime Minister Tschütscher, Liechtenstein has acknowledged the plethora of changes taking place at international level, notably as regards the global issue of tax evasion, and has reacted accordingly by concluding appropriate bilateral tax agreements with 25 countries.
A lack of information exchange and cooperation are no longer acceptable business models, Tschütscher continued, noting that Liechtenstein’s European partners could not now “point the finger at us”.
Tschütscher emphasized that the decision to change the Principality’s image had not presented the country with a problem, arguing that any clients electing to close their Liechtenstein accounts as a result of policy changes would merely be confronted with the same regulations in other financial centres. All financial locations have had to adapt their policies to new regulations, he added.
Commenting on the issue of tax agreements, as a means by which to legalize and to regularize undeclared bank accounts held in Liechtenstein, returning evaded taxes to the countries concerned, Prime Minister Tschütscher revealed that negotiations on a bilateral tax deal with Austria have been taking place over the course of the past year to legalize existing accounts and to ensure tax conformity in the future.
Tschütscher pointed out that the Liechtenstein-Austrian agreement could follow the same model as the bilateral agreement concluded with the UK, offering clients the opportunity to either legalize or to close their accounts.
Talks aimed at concluding a tax treaty with Greece are also currently ongoing, Tschütscher confirmed. Tschütscher underlined the need for all countries to offer Greece such a deal as a means to help the debt-ridden country to recoup much-needed lost revenues.