US, Switzerland ink pact on tax info exchange

taxx       2003-01-24 
The United States has reached an agreement with secretive Switzerland to help crack down on tax evaders, the Treasury Department said on Friday.
"This Mutual Agreement is a significant step in our efforts to ensure that no safe haven exists anywhere in the world for the funds associated with illicit activities, including tax evasion," said Acting Treasury Secretary Ken Dam in a statement.
The pact, an addition to a 1996 tax treaty, calls on each country to "support the tax administration and enforcement efforts of each Contracting State to the greatest extent possible."
Switzerland's long tradition of providing banking secrecy has come under increasing fire of late.
Switzerland continues to be embroiled in a tug-of-war with the European Union over taxation of savings. The EU wants Switzerland to adopt a withholding tax on EU citizens' savings held there. Switzerland has recently sent signals it could agree to a tax, but wants guarantees it would be able to maintain its tradition of banking secrecy.
Under the agreement announced on Friday, the United States and Switzerland will exchange information on civil and criminal tax matters, including possible cases of tax fraud.