Swiss banking secrecy laws have been further eased, with parliament passing a law on tax cooperation and backing – in principle – a special deal with the United States.
March 1, 2012
In a lengthy and at times passionate debate which included discussion of some two dozen proposed amendments, the House of Representatives voted 113 to 58 on Wednesday to pass the government’s proposed law on administrative assistance in taxation matters.
The new law replaces a previous regulation for assistance on tax matters and is based on standards set out by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Previously, Switzerland had differentiated between tax evasion and fraud, allowing only for providing assistance in cases of fraud. In a blow to banking secrecy in 2009 it agreed to lift this legal distinction.
The accord would allow for administrative assistance to be provided to the US in matters involving grouped requests for information, based on a suspicious “pattern of behaviour” by people or financial institutions. US tax authorities would not have to provide names or addresses of its suspects in order to receive assistance.
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