After three years of intense negotiations, on 15th January 2015 representatives of the Italian and Swiss Governments signed an agreement which spells the end of banking secrecy.

The Agreement will remove Switzerland from Italy's blacklist and therefore help to boost Switzerland's economy.

The signing of the Agreement coincides with the introduction of a new voluntary disclosure programme in Italy along the lines of existing programmes in the US and the UK. The Agreement will enable Italian taxpayers to apply for the new voluntary disclosure programme under the same terms as taxpayers who hold undeclared assets in whitelist jurisdictions.

The document aims at simplifying and strengthening the exchange of information between the two countries, covering all types of taxes. The request can relate to individual taxpayers as well as groups of people/companies etc. if their behaviour is deemed as irregular and, therefore, elusive.

Ratification of the Agreement is expected to take place in mid-February, and in any case before the 2nd March deadline required by the provision on the repatriation of funds. The agreement is, therefore, a crucial step in the fight against international tax evasion.

Monaco and Liechtenstein would seem, according to the latest rumours, also close to the signing of similar agreements. On the contrary, agreements with countries such as Singapore and Jersey do not appear to be near to finalisation.

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