Luxembourg Says Savings-Tax Deal Still Possible by End of March

Luxembourg’s Finance Minister Pierre Gramegna said that while a deal on extending a European Union savings tax can’t be reached today, a deadline for coming to an agreement by the end of the month is still possible.

“Luxembourg has changed its policy and is in favor of exchange of information,” Gramegna told fellow EU finance ministers in Brussels today. “This is such an important decision that it has to be taken and announced by our prime minister,” he said, asking for the topic to be discussed at the EU summit March 20-21.

The proposed agreement aims to set standards for how countries can collect information on income their residents earn from savings held in other nations. It will require all EU nations to exchange information after a transition period.

EU Tax Commissioner Algirdas Semeta today presented an update on negotiations with Switzerland and four other non-EU countries bordering on the 28-nation bloc, saying an agreement with them could be reached by year end. Austria and Luxembourg had wanted those talks to conclude before signing off on the updated savings-tax pact.

“We cannot wait until this agreement with third countries is concluded,” Austrian Finance Minister Michael Spindelegger said today. Still, he called for assurances that the countries - - Switzerland, Liechtenstein, San Marino, Andorra and Monaco -- would adopt automatic data exchange as soon as it becomes the global standard.

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