Liechtenstein and Andorra have agreed to relax their bank secrecy rules in response to global pressure against tax havens.
The two countries are both on a blacklist of uncooperative offshore financial centres drawn up by the OECD, which also includes Monaco.
Liechtenstein is under particular pressure from Germany and the US, who say the tax haven is aiding their citizens to evade taxes under the current bank secrecy laws. The principality agreed today to comply with international OECD standards for tax transparency, in the hope that this will avert some of the pressure facing them. The principality expects that they will not be the only one to cooperate:
“I’m quite sure Switzerland will take similar steps in the near future,” Crown Prince Alois von und zu Liechtenstein said.
They must be riding on this assumption because if Switerland stands firm they will leave Liechtenstein out in the cold.
Luckily for the Prince Andorra also ‘came out’ today, promising to pass a law by November that will improve its transparency and get it removed from the OECD blacklist.
A G20 meeting scheduled for April is likely to result in a new blacklist which may or may not include Switzerland. Until now it has resisted international pressure to be more transparent, while smaller tax havens have not been lucky. Switzerland, Austria and Luxembourg are said to be collaborating in finding ways to keep their bank secrecy intact.
The Swiss finance Minister has said that she will comment on Liechtenstein’s recent declaration ‘shortly’.