Hungary to tax offshore wealth

Government will ask Switzerland for full disclosure

Hungary’s government plans to identify and tax all wealth held by Hungarians in foreign – mostly Swiss – banks, the Hungarian prime minister’s chief of staff Janos Lazar said on Wednesday.

Hungary now wants to tax all holdings in foreign deposits at an average 35 percent rate, Lazar told reporters.

He said the central European country will ask Switzerland first to disclose all data pertaining to bank accounts of Hungarian citizens in Swiss banks.

Hungary’s government, which has struggled to improve tax collection as it works to keep its budget deficit under the European Union limit of 3 percent of gross domestic product, has been hostile to offshore holdings since it took power in 2010.

Citing international comparisons and intelligence sources, Lazar said the total holding of Hungarians in foreign, mostly Swiss banks is at least 1 trillion forints (USD4.53 billion) and perhaps as much as 2 trillion.

It was also mentioned, that Hungary will start similar talks with other European countries like Austria and Cyprus.