GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – The southern German state of Baden-Württemberg said Thursday 15 November that it will not support the tax treaty negotiated by the federal government with Switzerland when the deal comes up for a vote next week in parliament. The coalition of Greens and Socialists voted against the treaty after a final effort by the Swiss government to convince states to approve the agreement in the upper house vote.
The treaty would allow German citizens to retain accounts in Switzerland, with Bern withholding tax on their accounts; the account holders would then have the option of remaining anonymous but forfeiting the tax, or declaring it to their government in order to recuperate it.
For Deutsche Welle, the tax treaty now “has almost no chance of passing the upper house of parliament in Berlin next week. A final round of talks has failed.” Germans who are opposed to the treaty, it said Thursday, cite recent investigations “by a regional court in Mannheim had found that staff from the Swiss lender UBS had actively helped Germans transfer their untaxed money to Switzerland”, with the state’s finance minister saying ‘It has to be clear to Swiss banks that they can’t make any more money out of tax evasion in Germany.’”
But in Zurich Thursday evening Federal Councilor Didier Burkhalter told the Swiss-German Chamber of Commerce that he still believes there is hope for the treaty next week, and that it offers the best balance of solution to problems for both countries, better than an automatic transfer of information, for example.