Switzerland: Switzerland Consults On Revised Tax Act
16 August 2013
Posted by: Author: Ulrika Lomas
Author: Ulrika Lomas
Switzerland's Federal Council has initiated shortened consultation proceedings on the partial revision of the Tax Administrative Assistance Act.
According to the Swiss Federal Department of Finance (FDF), the revision provides for deferred notification of persons who are the subject of an administrative assistance request in certain cases. With this amendment, Switzerland will comply with the international standard for the exchange of information, the FDF maintains, noting that furthermore, the revision will clarify the procedure for group requests and adjust the treatment of requests based on stolen data.
The FDF states that: "The Tax Administrative Assistance Act has to be amended with regard to the prior notification of persons who are the subject of a request in order to be in line with the international standard and thereby the recommendations of the Global Forum. The revision makes provision for affected taxpayers to be notified only after information has been disclosed to the requesting state's authorities in urgent cases, eg when prior notification would compromise the investigation."
The Department continues: "Group requests are permitted under the currently applicable Tax Administrative Assistance Act. To ensure more efficient treatment, the revision makes provision for a special procedure for notifying persons affected by a group request. Moreover, it makes clear that the content of group requests is based on the OECD standard."
The FDF ends: "Finally, the revision also takes account of the problem of administrative assistance requests based on stolen data. Up until now, Switzerland has been unable to respond to numerous requests due to a restrictive practice in this area. In order to resolve the impasse, it is to be possible for future requests to be processed, provided that the requesting state acquired the data passively, eg via another state, and not actively. Requests that are contrary to the principle of good faith will not be considered."
The consultation procedure on the revision of the Tax Administrative Assistance Act will run until September 18, 2013. A shortened procedure is necessary as the communiqué of the G20 Finance Ministers, following the meeting of July 19 and 20, urged all jurisdictions to address the Global Forum's recommendations without further delay.
As final grading after completion of phases one and two of the peer review will commence in October 2013, Switzerland has a significant interest in being able to announce the revision of the Tax Administrative Assistance Act internationally as soon as possible and then put it into force.