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Brussels, 7 December 2004

Savings taxation: Commission welcomes signature of agreements with Liechtenstein, San Marino and Monaco

The European Commission has welcomed the signature of agreements concerning the taxation of savings with Liechtenstein, Monaco and San Marino today. These three agreements are a component of a new framework for co-operation in the field of direct taxation that includes not only the Directive on the taxation of savings adopted within the EU (see IP/03/787) but also agreements in the same field with several third countries and with the dependent and associated territories of Member States. All of these legal instruments are due to be applied simultaneously from 1 July 2005.

"I am delighted to welcome these agreements which show the willingness of each of our three European partners to work actively with us to tackle distortions in the capital market" said László Kovács, EU Commissioner for Taxation and Customs. "While individuals' rights under the EC Treaty to place their capital wherever they choose must be protected, this cannot be allowed to lead to tax evasion and consequent erosion of Member States' tax revenues".

The savings agreements

The three agreements are based on the same four elements as for the savings agreement between the EU and Switzerland which was signed on 26 October 2004. These are as follows:

  • Withholding Tax: Paying agents in the three countries will be required to withhold tax on interest payments to EU individuals at the same rates as Belgium, Luxembourg and Austria under the Savings Directive - 15% during the first three years, 20% for the subsequent three years and 35% thereafter. The three countries will share the revenue of the tax withheld, transferring 75 per cent of the revenue to the tax authorities of the individual's Member State of residence.
  • Voluntary disclosure of information: The retention tax will not be applied if the EU resident taxpayer authorises the paying agent to disclose information on the interest payment to his tax authorities.
  • Review clause stating that the Contracting Parties shall consult with each other at least every three years or at the request of either Contracting Party with a view to examining and if necessary improving the technical functioning of the Agreement, taking into account international developments.
  • Exchange of information upon request: For income covered by the draft Agreement, the three countries will grant exchange of information on request for cases of fraud or comparable misbehaviour.

A similar agreement with Andorra was signed on 15 November.

Each of the three Agreements is accompanied by an appropriate Memorandum of Understanding concerning future co-operation between each of the three countries and the Community and/or EU Member States.

The Agreements will enter into force once they are ratified by the respective parties and are intended to have effect from 1 July 2005.

For further information see:

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