David Jetuah, Accountancy Age, Tuesday 26 October 2010 at 10:04:00

George Osborne and Swiss finance minister Hans-Rudolf Merz brokering apossible deal to lift the lid on Swiss accounts with undeclared UK taxliabilities


Swiss finance minister Hans-Rudolf Merz and George Osborne are meeting tosign a declaration to begin talks on unresolved tax issues between the twonations.

The agreement is expected to include the issue of any untaxed money Britishcitizens hold in banks in Switzerland.

However, tax advisers say that there has been no discussion of the matter ofSwiss residents who have hidden money through vehicles governed by the law ofthe UK and its crown dependencies.

Andreas Kolb, partner in the Switzerland office at international law firmEversheds, said: "It is somewhat surprising that the United Kingdom is the firstcountry with which Switzerland has signed a basic agreement on dealing withuntaxed money, especially given that the UK?s Channel Islands are known theworld over for the legal possibilities they offer in terms of concealing moneyvia trusts.

"These constructions are often much more confidential than the famed Swissbank secrecy."