Austria Bank Secrecy - Austria Bank Account

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Austria Bank Secrecy

Austria Banking

Austria – Bank havens Privacy  
The Austrian Republic is is a “banking haven.”


That’s because this nation has one of the strongest financial privacy laws in the world. That guarantee has constitutional protection that can be changed only by a national referendum of all voters.

Austria has long been a stronghold of banking privacy strategically located on what used to be considered as the border with Eastern Europe during the Cold War. From the end of World War II in 1945 to the collapse of Russian Communism in 1992, with the Soviet Union and the United States locked in armed confrontation, this convenient banking haven served as a willing financial and political go-between for both West and East.

When Austrian national banking laws were officially codified in 1979, the well-established tradition of bank secrecy was already two centuries old.
During this time, Austrian bank secrecy and privacy produced two major types of anonymous accounts. These accounts usually required no account holder identification, no mailing address, and no personal references. Just deposit funds and use the account as you pleased, all, of course, anonymously. Both the Sparbuch bank account and the Wertpapierbuch securities accounts have been abolished, due to the European Union’s fixation with destroying financial privacy wherever possible.
Notwithstanding the demands of the EU, current Austrian bank secrecy laws forbid banks to “disclose secrets which have been entrusted to them solely due to business relationships with customers.” The prohibition is waived only in criminal court proceedings involving fiscal crimes, with the exception of petty offenses. The prohibition does not apply “if the customer expressly and in writing consents to the disclosure of the secret.”

Austrian tax authorities found another way to profit from their attractive banking haven status: the government levies a 25% tax on the total bank interest earned. You can avoid the 25% tax on bond interest because no tax is withheld if you are a “declared nonresident.” Interest paid on investments held in Austrian banks, such as certificates of deposit, is also exempt from the withholding tax.

Banking Secrecy in Austria

Privacy is a primal urge of man and should continue to apply to the financial affairs of citizens with a clean record. The purpose of Austrian banking secrecy is to protect the privacy of those citizens.

Austria will continue not to participate in the automatic exchange of information between financial authorities within the EU.

Pursuant to Section 38 of the Austrian Banking Act, Austrian banks are required by law to protect the banking secrecy.

A bank may not disclose to third parties any information made available only due to its business relations with its client; any violation is subject to a penalty and the bank is liable to pay damages.

he Austrian banking secrecy is incorporated in the Austrian Constitution. Hence, its political weight by far exceeds that of other federal laws.

The banking secrecy regularly applies vis-à-vis the authorities as well. Exemptions from banking secrecy are expressly defined and essentially refer to the banks' obligation to provide information in certain criminal proceedings, provided that there is reasonable suspicion, and in probate proceedings.

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