ZURICH (Reuters) - Switzerland is making good progress on an agreement to tax assets held by Italians in Swiss banks accounts, but it might be difficult for any deal to come into force before 2015, a spokesman for the Swiss State Secretariat for International Financial Affairs (SIF) said.
The suggestion that an agreement will not be in place before 2015 pours water on former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's pledge to immediately reimburse a much-hated property tax by partly using income from the accord.
Italian newspaper La Repubblica quoted a letter from Swiss Finance Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf in its Saturday edition saying she does not expect a Swiss-Italian tax agreement to start before 2015.
SIF spokesman Mario Tuor confirmed that Widmer-Schlumpf had commented on the negotiations between Italy and Switzerland in a written response to a question from a Swiss member of parliament.
He said Widmer-Schlumpf had told the parliamentarian that talks were progressing well but that they were waiting until after the Italian election and "it might be difficult" for any agreement to start before 2015.
Switzerland has already struck deals to tax assets of Britain and Austrian nationals and hopes other countries like Italy will follow suit.
Reporting by Caroline Copley; Editing by Nick Macfie