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Switzerland: Fees for Exchange of Tax Information Proposed

(Oct. 21, 2010) On October 18, 2010, the Finance Committee of the National Council (Nationalrat), the representative chamber of the Swiss bicameral Parliament, submitted a motion to the Federal Council (Bundesrat), the executive branch of the Swiss government, requesting that a law be drafted that would allow the Swiss government to recover extraordinary expenses from a Swiss party if these had resulted from the processing of an exchange of tax information request of a foreign country (Die Bundesversammlung – Das Schweizer Parlament, Medienmitteilung FK-N, Finanzmarktthemen im Zentrum der Sitzung (Oct. 19, 2010), http://www.parlament.ch/d/mm/2010/Seiten/mm-fk-n-2010-10-19.aspx). The proposal is designed to create a statutory basis for charging fees to Swiss individuals or entities in situations similar to the ongoing Swiss processing of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) request for information on numerous accounts allegedly held by U.S. taxpayers in the Swiss Bank UBS AG (see Edith Palmer, Switzerland – Information on Tax Evasion, GLOBAL LEGAL MONITOR (Dec. 4, 2009), //www.loc.gov/lawweb/servlet/lloc_news?disp3_l205401713_text).

In the UBS case, the Federal Council submitted a draft resolution to Parliament to charge UBS with the costs incurred by the Swiss government in both the already completed and the still ongoing examinations of U.S. requests (Bundesbeschluss (Apr. 28, 2010), http://www.admin.ch/ch/d/ff/2010/3219.pdf). It is expected that the Parliament will approve this resolution (Die Bundesversammlung – Das Schweizer Parlament, Medienmitteilung FK-N, Finanzmarktthemen im Zentrum der Sitzung (Oct. 19, 2010), http://www.parlament.ch/d/mm/2010/Seiten/mm-fk-n-201
0-10-19.aspx
). The cost for the UBS-related requests submitted by the IRS on July 16, 2008, was 1.5 million Swiss Francs (about US$1.55 million). These requests have already been processed by the Swiss authorities. The cost for the second set of requests, submitted by the IRS on August 31, 2009, is estimated at 37 million Swiss Francs (about US$38.3 million). This request is still pending with the Swiss authorities (Botschaft (Apr. 28, 2010), http://www.admin.ch/ch/d/ff/2010/3211.pdf).