Liechtenstein wants tax deal with Austria by Feb-paper

VIENNA Mon Dec 10, 2012 9:49am EST

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VIENNA Dec 10 (Reuters) - Liechtenstein wants to agree a deal with Austria by February that would let the Austrian government tax assets held in Liechtenstein-based trusts, its prime minister told a newspaper.

The tiny Alpine principality, which is working to reverse its image as a haven for tax dodgers, is following in the steps of Switzerland, which agreed similar deals with Austria, Germany and Britain this year.

Liechtenstein Prime Minister Klaus Tschuetscher told Austria's WirtschaftsBlatt: "There are currently still some questions from the Austrian side on the subject of trusts, but I see no insurmountable hurdles."

He said he wanted to get a deal done before elections for a new government in Liechtenstein which are due to take place on the first weekend in February.

"If we had an agreement by then, that would be very welcome," he said in an interview published on Monday.

Austria, which wants to balance its budget by 2016, has said it expects a windfall of 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) from the Swiss deal.

A spokeswoman for the Austrian Finance Ministry said on Monday the ministry could give no estimates for Liechtenstein. "There are negotiations and they are going very well," she said.

Liechtenstein struck a landmark deal with the United Kingdom in 2009 called the 'Liechtenstein Disclosure Facility', which offers a type of amnesty to U.K. taxpayers seeking to regularise their affairs.

($1 = 0.7735 euros) (Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by Toby Chopra)

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