Germany eyes tax evasion crackdown with Swiss deal

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Germany eyes tax evasion crackdown with Swiss deal

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The days of wealthy Germans stashing their cash in Swiss bank accounts could be over if a deal agreed between the two countries on Thursday is approved by Germany’s parliament.

An agreement was signed in Switzerland’s capital, Bern. If legislators back the deal, it would slap a retroactive tax between 21 to 41 percent on German funds hidden in Swiss banks.

Sigmar Gabriel, the leader of Germany’s left-wing opposition, the Social Democrats, said the deal was “not tough enough.”

“It’s a slap in the face to every honest taxpayer,” he said. “The money will not flow into the state coffers. It will disappear abroad. That’s what Switzerland wanted to arrange, but we will not go along with it.”

From January, Germans with money in Switzerland will pay the same 26.3 percent rate as they do at home.

Swiss banking laws have long provided complete secrecy for foreigners, who could hide money from their own tax authorities.