Switzerland to step up tax cooperation

The Swiss government is to relax the conditions for the exchange of information on foreign taxpayers, the Swiss finance minister has announced.

This content was published on February 15, 2011 - 14:59 and agencies

Under renewed pressure from the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), Switzerland will no longer necessarily demand the name and address of the person and bank concerned.

The Swiss practice is currently being examined by international experts under a peer review, the first stage of which will end in June.

Finance Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf explained at a media conference in Bern on Tuesday that the first signals showed that the criteria applied by Switzerland to date were too restrictive.  

Demanding a name and address could constitute an obstacle to an efficient exchange of information and land Switzerland on an OECD blacklist, something the country wished to avoid, Widmer-Schlumpf said. 

Although Switzerland is prepared to relax the rules and supply information based on an IBAN (international bank code) alone, it remains firmly opposed to “fishing expeditions” from other states and the automatic exchange of information on tax matters. The measures proposed by the minister are subject to parliamentary approval.

By the end of this month, Switzerland should have concluded 12 double taxation agreements conforming to OECD standards.

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