The onslaught of the EU йmeut not Switzerland

Business 28 June, 2017

For Switzerland, the consйquences will only be indirect. (Photo is illustrative) (Photo: Keystone)

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A fault?

The Union europйenne (EU) has launched a new offensive against the advisers, accountants, banks and lawyers that encourage their clients fortunйs а the йvasion tax through complex arrangements of optimization. In Switzerland, the prospect of these new rugles transparency crйe not йmoi.

In his vast crusade against the йvasion of capital, the Commission europйenne (EC) will now attack the mounts of tax optimization. She wants to dйsormais require intermйdiaires or their customers а dйclarer to the tax authorities of their country for certain devices transfrontiures tax planning. Scandals involving football stars have rйcemment put this form on the front of the scune.

“The obligation of dйclarer such a device does not mean nйcessairement that it is harmful, but only that it mйrite to be examinй by the autoritйs tax”, prйcisait the week passйe the exйcutif europйen. The mйcanismes with “markers”, а the origin of potential losses of public revenue, must be systйmatiquement dйclarйs to the tax authorities prior to their use.

Among the major markers, THIS identifies the use of losses for rйduire the tax burden or the use of а of rйgimes tax spйciaux favourable. The devices implemented “by the intermйdiaire of countries that do rйpondent not up to international standards of good governance” are also йpinglйs.

Customers europйens concernйs

If the directive passes the ramp, the member States of the EU will be required to apply “sanctions effective and dissuasive penalties” for offenders. As for the intermйdiaires йtablis in a third country, the EC is clear: “The lйgislation of the Union may not be йtendue to cover the intermйdiaires that are not йtablis in the Union”, one can read in the appendices а its proposal.

“By consйquent, if the intermйdiaire is not situй in the Union or is liй by the rugles relating to the obligation of professional secrecy, the obligation of dйclarer the tax system burden then shifts to the taxpayer йtabli in the Union”. The taxpayer in question may be an individual or a company in the EU who used for example а an advisor йtabli on the ground helvйtique.

For Switzerland therefore, the implications will be indirect. “It is still too tфt to measure the implications,” indiquй а the ats Anne Cйsard, spokesman for the Secrйtariat of State to questions financiures international (SFI). The Commission proposal is still а the йtat project, it must be acceptйe а l?unanimitй of the member States.

The proposal europйenne, which takes the form of an amendment of the directive on the coopйration administrative, will be submitted to the Parliament europйen for consultation, and the Council for adoption. According to the calendar prйvu, the new obligations dйclaratives should enter into force on January 1, 2019.

Bankers not worried

For the time being, this new salvo of the Commission Juncker against aggressive tax planning is not a topic that is the swiss bankers Association, ensures Daniela Lьpold, a spokesman for Swissbanking. Same with the word if she agrees that the situation could change.

A relative sйrйnitй which йtonne not Sйbastien Guex, a professor of contemporary history а the Universitй of Lausanne. For this spйcialiste of the origins of the banking secrecy helvйtique, the draft directive will become а term a rule, but not many international а like the йchange information automatically (EAR).

All the places financiures competitors will therefore be logйes а the same with the word teaches. In this context, with the expected decrease in tax shelters, the writing of the tax rate will be dйterminant. And, the Swiss will be plutфt winning once rйformйe its fiscalitй companies, with rates dйfiants those of Ireland, believes the professor.

The other reason for bankers not to inquiйter, according to Sйbastien Guex, it is that the directive europйenne is also rivals that reprйsentent the intermйdiaires indйpendants. However, the explosion of coыts induced by the rйglementation puts them more under pressure, and the йviction of some d?between them the marchй could be of benefit to the banks.