(Corrects ambassador nationality at third paragraph)
* Switzerland want good progress by end-2012-SIF * A deal could raise Rome proceeds of 120-150 bln euros By Elvira Pollina
MILAN, Oct 5 (Reuters) - Switzerland says it wants good progress by the end of the year on an agreement to tax assets held by Italians in Swiss bank accounts but talk of a deal being done before Italian elections in the spring is premature.
Switzerland has faced an international campaign against tax evasion in recent years as cash-strapped governments seek to boost revenues, a challenge to the banking secrecy cherished by Switzerland's $2 trillion offshore wealth management industry.
Swiss ambassador to Italy Bernardino Regazzoni had told Reuters on Friday that the countries were committed to reaching an agreement by the time Prime Minister Mario Monti's term ends.
However, when asked by Reuters about the ambassador's remarks, a spokesman for the Swiss authority in charge of tax dossiers was less certain.
"Swiss president Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf and Italian PM Mario Monti had met in July. It was agreed then that both sides would take stock at the end of the year," said Mario Tuor, head of communication at the Swiss State Secretariat for International Financial Affairs (SIF).
"By year-end we want to achieve substantial progress."
Italy held its first talks with Swiss officials in May. A deal could bag Rome revenues estimated in the area of 120-150 billion euros as it struggles to lower its debt mountain and fight the recession.
Tuor said the main issues being discussed were taxation of cross-border commuters, a double taxation agreement and black lists.
The countries were also discussing a withholding tax agreement along the lines of the German, UK and Austrian ones, and market access for Swiss banks, he said.
Switzerland reached tax deals with Britain and Germany that allow it to act as tax collector for a one-off levy on undeclared money while not divulging the names of account holders.
(Reporting by Elvira Pollina; writing by Stephen Jewkes)
Keywords: SWITZERLAND ITALY/TAX