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  1. Wealth
May 3, 2011

FT: UK-Swiss hidden money deal trailed

By Spear's

Britons with billions of pounds hidden in Switzerland will pay tax at 50 per cent under a groundbreaking deal that will legitimise their undeclared assets, according to a source familiar with negotiations between the Swiss and British governments

Britons with billions of pounds hidden in Switzerland will pay tax at 50 per cent under a groundbreaking deal that will legitimise their undeclared assets, according to a source familiar with negotiations between the Swiss and British governments.

The agreement, which is expected to be announced this month, marks a shift in emphasis in the international crackdown on tax havens. Over the past two years, the focus has been on lifting bank secrecy and exposing evaders.

Under the deal, £3bn is expected to be raised over the course of this parliament and investors will also pay a one-off retrospective levy in recognition of past unpaid tax.

The move by the Swiss authorities to “regularise” hidden accounts by taxing them on behalf of the UK government is a sign of the intense pressure they have faced from cash-strapped foreign governments angered by the role of Swiss banks in facilitating evasion.

Britain’s willingness to legitimise secret accounts on a “no names” basis is likely to be controversial because it will treat users of secretive havens more leniently than other taxpayers and because it tacitly accepts limits in the drive towards more transparency. But it will be welcomed in some quarters as a pragmatic move to collect revenues from investors who were unlikely ever to be exposed.

To read the full story, visit ft.com

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