The Swiss Senate has approved the first set of double taxation agreements that were revised to meet international transparency standards.
After two hours of debate senators passed five bilateral accords which abolish the Swiss distinction between tax fraud and tax evasion.
While the agreements with France, Britain, Denmark and Mexico passed unanimously, the accord with the United States was met with one negative vote and one abstention.
After being placed on a grey list of uncooperative tax havens last year, Switzerland agreed to do away with the distinction between fraud and evasion, which determined whether administrative aid could be given to other countries cracking down tax cheats. The country needed to revise 12 of its double taxation accords to be removed from the list.
The Senate also tacitly adopted two motions: that the government should consult the foreign policy commission before renegotiating double tax accords, and that future accords will not provide administrative assistance in cases of client data stolen.
The double taxation accords must still be accepted by the House of Representatives and citizens may have the final say in a nationwide vote.
swissinfo.ch and agencies