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Switzerland: Exchange of Tax Information

(Sept. 3, 2010) On September 1, 2010, the Swiss Federal Council (Bundesrat, Federal Cabinet) adopted the Regulation on Administrative Assistance Accorded to Double Taxation Conventions (Amtshilfeverordnung [Administrative Assistance Regulation], advance copy, Federal Administration of the Swiss Federation website, (last visited Sept. 1, 2010)). This Administrative Assistance Regulation provides the principles and procedures applicable to requests for information from countries with which Switzerland has concluded a new double taxation treaty or revised an existing one, in order to incorporate the exchange of information standards of article 26 of the OECD Model Tax Convention on Income and on Capital (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Model Tax Convention on Income and on Capital: Electronic Version (as updated on July 17, 2008), SourceOECD online subscription database,

The new Regulation will apply only to tax treaties that became effective after the Regulation was issued, while assistance under older tax conventions will be granted in accordance with the existing procedural rules (Federal Department of Finance, Federal Council Adopts Administrative Assistance Ordinance (Sept. 1, 2010),
). The Regulation implements Switzerland's resolve, announced on March 13, 2009, to incorporate the standards of article 26 of the OECD Model Tax Convention in new tax treaties (Federal Department of Finance, Anhörungsverfahren zur Verordnung über die Amtshilfe nach Doppelbesteuerungsabkommen (Aug. 4, 2010),
[click on Ergebnisbericht …]).

The new Regulation aims at balancing the due process rights of taxpayers with the need for information of the requesting country. Incoming requests will be honored if they clearly identify the taxpayer and the holder of the information, and if the requesting country acts in good faith. Assistance will not be granted if the requesting country obtained information through acts that are punishable in Switzerland. If the Swiss tax authorities decide to grant administrative assistance, the parties to whom this decision relates may lodge an appeal to the Swiss Administrative Court.