Germany taxes Swiss bank accounts

Banknotes of the Swiss franc

Germany and Switzerland signed an amendment to their deal on taxing secret offshore accounts on Thursday, toughening terms for tax dodgers after the main German opposition party blocked the original accord, saying it was too lenient.

The amendment makes it more likely the deal will get the backing from opposition-ruled states and be approved by the German parliament, ending years of tortuous negotiations and netting the country billions of euros.

The German finance ministry said Germany and Switzerland had agreed to raise the retroactive levy on German funds stashed away in Swiss bank accounts to a rate between 21 and 41 percent, from a previously agreed range of 19 to 34 percent.

They also agreed a one-off tax of 50 percent for those who inherit Swiss bank accounts and do not want to declare them, the finance ministry said.

Under the revised deal, German officials will be allowed to put in up to 1300 requests with their Swiss counterparts to investigate cases of fiscal evasion, versus a previously agreed 999.

Germans will have to alert the Swiss authorities when they move their money out of Swiss bank accounts from Jan. 1 2013, versus a previously agreed May 31, in order to prevent an exodus into other offshore accounts.

via Germany, Switzerland revise deal terms – International | IOL Business | IOL.co.za.

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Austria

YOTOT(MC): Austria Center Vienna (panorama)

Austria i/ˈɒstriə/ or /ˈɔːstriə/; German: Österreich [ˈøːstɐˌʁaɪç], officially the Republic of Austria German: Republik Österreich, is a landlocked country of roughly 8.47 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Hungary and Slovakia to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west. The territory of Austria covers 83,855 square kilometres 32,377 sq mi and has a temperate and alpine climate. Austrias terrain is highly mountainous due to the presence of the Alps; only 32% of the country is below 500 metres 1,640 ft, and its highest point is 3,798 metres 12,461 ft. The majority of the population speak local Austro-Bavarian dialects of German as their native language, and German in its standard form is the countrys official language. Other local official languages are Burgenland Croatian, Hungarian and Slovene. The origins of modern-day Austria date back to the time of the Habsburg dynasty when the vast majority of the country was a part of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. During the 17th and 18th centuries, Austria became one of the great powers of Europe and, in response to the coronation of Napoleon I as the Emperor of the French, the Austrian Empire was officially proclaimed in 1804. In 1867, the Austrian Empire was reformed into Austria-Hungary.After the collapse of the Habsburg Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918 at the end of World War I, Austria adopted and used the name the Republic of German Austria “Deutschösterreich”, later “Österreich” in an attempt for union with Germany, but was forbidden due to the Treaty of Saint Germain. The First Austrian Republic was established in 1919. In the 1938 Anschluss, Austria was occupied and annexed by Nazi Germany. This lasted until the end of World War II in 1945, after which Nazi Germany was occupied by the Allies and Austrias former democratic constitution was restored. In 1955, the Austrian State Treaty re-established Austria as a sovereign state, ending the occupation. In the same year, the Austrian Parliament created the Declaration of Neutrality which declared that the Second Austrian Republic would become permanently neutral.Today, Austria is a parliamentary representative democracy comprising nine federal states. The capital and largest city, with a population exceeding 1.7 million, is Vienna. Austria is one of the richest countries in the world, with a nominal per capita GDP of $48,350 2011 est.. The country has developed a high standard of living and in 2011 was ranked 19th in the world for its Human Development Index. Austria has been a member of the United Nations since 1955, joined the European Union in 1995, and is a founder of the OECD. Austria also signed the Schengen Agreement in 1995, and adopted the European currency, the Euro, in 1999.

via Austria – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Austrians may use South African companies to trade in Africa and worldwide – to read more, follow the links above.

Economy of Czechoslovakia

James Albert Bonsack's cigarette rolling machi...

After WWII, the economy was centrally planned, with command links controlled by the communist party, similarly to the Soviet Union. The large metallurgical industry was dependent on imports of iron and non-ferrous ores.

Industry: Extractive industry and manufacturing dominated the sector, including machinery, chemicals, food processing, metallurgy, and textiles. The sector was wasteful in its use of energy, materials, and labor and was slow to upgrade technology, but the country was a major supplier of high-quality machinery, instruments, electronics, aircraft, airplane engines and arms to other communist countries.

Agriculture: Agriculture was a minor sector, but collectivized farms of large acreage and relatively efficient mode of production enabled the country to be relatively self-sufficient in food supply. The country depended on imports of grains (mainly for livestock feed) in years of adverse weather. Meat production was constrained by shortage of feed, but the country still recorded high per capita consumption of meat.

Foreign trade: Exports were estimated at US$17.8 billion in 1985. Exports were machinery (55%), fuel and materials (14%), and manufactured consumer goods (16%). Imports stood at estimated US$17.9 billion in 1985, including fuel and materials (41%), machinery (33%), and agricultural and forestry products (12%). In 1986, about 80% of foreign trade was with other communist countries.

via Czechoslovakia – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

PwC sloppiness 55 billion euros error

Eurozone

(Reuters) – The German government tried to deflect responsibility on Monday for a 55-billion euro accounting blunder that has exposed it to charges of ridicule for being inept and hypocritical after its steady criticism of Greek bookkeeping practices.

Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has summoned executives from the nationalized mortgage bank Hypo Real Estate (HRE) to explain how they made a simple accounting error that ended up raising Germany‘s total debt load by 55 billion euros.

Schaeuble, in the awkward situation of being humiliated by the windfall that will cut Germany’s debt levels, will also demand answers at a Wednesday meeting from the PwC accountancy firm that signed off on the report.

Schaeuble’s spokesman Martin Kotthaus tried to deflect any blame, saying the ministry received a certified statement from auditors that the balance sheets had been checked and approved. He said it was too early to tell exactly who messed up.

“It’s annoying, to put it diplomatically, when corrections of this dimension are necessary,” said Kotthaus, who was grilled at a news conference. “We had a certified audit of the annual accounts for 2010 and it said everything was in order.”

Kotthaus said the bank itself was responsible for its annual report.

The German media nevertheless mocked Schaeuble, saying the 55-billion euro accounting error put Berlin in the same category as the Greek government for failing to report accurate figures. Inaccurate reporting of Greek deficits contributed to the euro zone sovereign debt crisis that has hit Europe hard.

“Incredible but true,” wrote the Rheinische Post newspaper. “The nationalized bank HRE made a staggering 55-billion euro miscalculation. It’s scandalous that bank managers, certified public accountants and government supervisors made an error of this dimension. This kind of sloppiness reminds us of Greece.

via Germany mocked for 55-billion euro bank accounts error | Reuters

55.5 billion euro accounting error

Log-lin graph showing an exponential pattern i...

The discovery and deletion of a 55.5 billion euro ($A74 billion) accounting error at a troubled bank under government protection should ease Germany‘s debt levels, the Finance Ministry reports.

German media were agog at the discovery, caused by a double booking of debt held by FMS Wertmanagement, the so-called “bad bank” created from the insolvent parts of HRE bank, which was nationalised in 2009.

Freeing up the cash means that German debt, as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP), should slide from 83.7 per cent to 81.1 per cent, said the ministry on Saturday.

The ministry said the problem was caused, essentially, when staff subtracted funds when they should have added them.

via 55.5 billion euro accounting error