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Otmar Hasler: “Time to take stock”

Vaduz/Zurich, June 17, 2013

Otmar Hasler, former Prime Minister of Liechtenstein and Member of the Board of Kaiser Partner, has written an editorial piece on the OECD rules and their implementation for the latest edition of “Private – Das Geldmagazin”: “In Germany, whole evenings of television are currently filled with the debate about fighting tax evasion, as well as by the media-driven outrage directed towards wealthy people who have kept the tax they owe from the government and who now want to make everything better with a self-declaration.

Unrestricted worldwide exchange of all financial data is being touted as the most effective means of preventing tax evasion. As the debate rages, important matters are being confused, or at least kept deliberately vague. But most significantly of all, the financial industry has failed to really question its business policy in the wake of the recent crisis, and thus has missed the opportunity to reorient itself. First of all, the term “automatic exchange of information” needs to be more precisely defined. For Luxembourg, for example, it means that a country’s tax authorities can pass information about interest earned by EU citizens to the authorities in the customer’s home country.