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Switzerland | Tax Administrative Assistance Act

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The Federal Council took note of the result of the consultation procedure and adopted the dispatch on the new Federal Act on International Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters.

It governs the execution of administrative assistance in double taxation agreements and other agreements on the exchange of information, in particular the exchange of information agreed on in accordance with the OECD standard.

In spring 2009, the Federal Council took the decision to adopt in future the international standards set out in Article 26 of the OECD Model Convention with respect to administrative assistance in tax matters. According to this, international administrative assistance should be possible not only in the case of tax fraud but also in the case of tax evasion and for tax assessment. The implementation of this decision requires appropriate wording in the double taxation agreements (DTAs) with other countries. Up to now, over thirty DTAs have been adapted or renegotiated. Execution of administrative assistance must ensue under national law. To this end, the Tax Administrative Assistance Act is to be introduced.

The Act contains the principle that administrative assistance will only be provided upon request in individual cases. No administrative assistance will be provided by Switzerland if a request is based on information which was acquired by acts which are punishable under Swiss law. Information transmitted abroad is only allowed to be used to enforce Swiss tax law, in so far as it could have been obtained in accordance with Swiss law.

Unlike the ordinance, which covers only administrative assistance in accordance with double taxation agreements, the Act also governs administrative assistance based on other agreements which make provision for the exchange of information relating to tax matters, e.g. the agreement on the taxation of savings income with the EU. The appeal procedure is to be streamlined and the deadlines shortened.

Swiss Federal Department of Finance

 

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