No new month - sometimes it even feels like no new week - without a member of the Princely Family giving in interview; they must be about the most talkative reigning family out there. This time, it was Hereditary Prince Alois' time to talk about tax matters in an interview with Vaterland.
Your Serene Highness, the automatic information exchange has always been some kind of a taboo topic for the Liechtenstein financial marketplace. On the basis of the government declaration of November 14, the country now offers to play an active role in the development of international standards in the field of automatic information exchange. Does the Princely House support this new strategy that is a major historical turning point?I do support the government declaration. Due to increasing collaboration between the G-20, the EU and the OECD, we have to assume that the automatic information exchange will soon become an international standard that Liechtenstein will need to comply to. Even if we wanted to, we would not be able to stop this process. For this reason, it is important to be proactive, to establish clarity for our clients and, above all, to bring in our own ideas in the best interests of our investors.How optimistic are you about the OECD and the Global Forum taking a small state like Liechtenstein seriously enough to have them assist in the development of international standards for the automatic information exchange? To what extent will Liechtenstein be able bring forward own ideas?For the automatic information exchange to also work in and be accepted by small states, larger states will need to take smaller states into account as well. Due to multiple and innovative tax treaties Liechtenstein has passed over the past few years with various states such as Great Britain and Austria, the country is very well respected by the OECD. Liechtenstein is also a member of the European Economic Area (EEA) and thus complies to the EU-standards for financial marketplaces including the directive on the taxation of savings income. We have decades-long experience in the structuring of assets and liabilities. As such, we are an ideal partner who should be included in the process.How do you think will Liechtenstein's readiness to have bilateral agreements and work on international standards affect the country's relationship with Switzerland? Isn't there a danger that Liechtenstein's model student like demeanour or the almost preemptive obedience will put even more pressure on Switzerland by the International Community and thus strain the two country's relations?No. First of all, Switzerland has announced that they will sign the administrative cooperation agreement even before we did. Secondly, Swiss representatives have already told in interviews that they are concerned with the automatic information exchange and will not cloister the country away when it becomes an international standard. Lastly we have close contacts with Switzerland in all questions regarding fiscal cooperation.
For more on the topic and an old comment by Prince Max on the matter, have a look at this article by Der Standard.