Austria Reaches Tax Deal With Liechtenstein Modeled on Swiss

Austria agreed a deal to tax Austrian deposits and trusts in Liechtenstein as it seeks to tap the wealthy for revenue, Finance Minister Maria Fekter said.

The deal, to be signed Jan. 29 in Liechtenstein, will result in a one-time tax revenue of “some hundreds of millions of euros,” Fekter told journalists in Vienna today, without giving details. Austria estimates that there are between 1,000 and 3,000 Liechtenstein trusts that will be subject to tax.

“Liechtenstein-based trusts will not be more attractive than Austrian-based trusts,” Fekter said. Trusts that don’t reveal their account holders’ identities will be subject to penalty rates, she said. “It’s a big step in the direction of tax justice.”

Austria signed a similar deal with Switzerland last year whereby undeclared funds faced a one-time tax of 15 percent to 38 percent, with capital gains taxes of 25 percent going forward. The taxes will be raised in Switzerland and passed on to Austria without identifying individuals. Austria has said it expects as much as 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) from the one-time levy and annual income of 50 million euros.

Austria and Liechtenstein will reveal details of the tax rates to be imposed on fund holders when the deal is signed, Fekter said.

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