Tax agreements expected to be passed by parliament

It seems the tax agreements with Germany, Great Britain and Austria will be passed by the Swiss parliament.

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A majority in the rightwing Swiss People's Party (SVP) and the centre-left Social Democratic Party (SP) reject the agreements. However, the SP parliamentary faction is split, and it appears both chambers will vote in favour. On Tuesday the SP faction rejected the agreements by 26 votes to 17, with 2 abstentions, as Andy Tschümperlin (Zug) told the media in the Swiss parliament building in the afternoon.

For the accords to be rejected, the entire faction of the SVP and the SP would have to vote against them. After the outcome of the vote within the faction, SP president Christian Levrat finds this unlikely: «It is obvious that the agreements will be passed by the parliament.»

No alternative to automatic exchange

National Councillor Susanne Leutenegger Oberholzer of the SP (Basel-Country) said the decision was a hard one. The Social Democrats agree on the fact that the automatic exchange of information should be a primary goal. Part of the faction rejects the agreements because the Federal Council sees an intended flat rate withholding tax as an alternative to the automatic exchange of information. The other part sees a flat rate withholding tax as a step in the right direction. But Christian Levrat, head of the party, warned that Switzerland would be pressured anew in a few years. It was «deluded and dangerous» to think that the other states would accept a flat rate withholding tax as an alternative to the automatic exchange of information.

Other parties say Yes

The SVP announced their opposition to the agreements with Germany and Great Britain some time ago and made that official at the beginning of May. Switzerland has made too many concessions for their liking. The other main parties plan on passing the agreements. (sda)

Erstellt: 29.05.2012, 17:28 Uhr

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