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Cabinet wants to simplify assistance over taxes

The government is seeking permission from parliament to further ease legal assistance in tax matters for nine countries, including France and Britain.

The finance ministry said the request to amend double taxation accords, already approved by parliament in June 2010, is in line with internationally applicable standards.

It would no longer be necessary to provide the name and address of a taxpayer in order to process administrative assistance requested from Switzerland.

However, so-called fishing expeditions are excluded and the account holder is identified.

“Administrative assistance will be provided only in individual cases and upon justified requests,” a ministerial statement said.

Switzerland risked being put on an international blacklist of uncooperative countries if it refused to apply the rules,  Finance Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf warned in February.

In 2009 the cabinet eased banking secrecy rules granting legal assistance not only in cases of tax fraud but also tax evasion.

A date for the debate in parliament still has to be set.

Recently amended double taxation accords with 14 other countries, including the United States and Germany, conform with the rules by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR