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Switzerland takes important step to boost international cooperation against tax evasion

20 November 2014   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Author: OECD
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Author: OECD

Switzerland has today become the 52nd jurisdiction to sign the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement, which will allow it to go forward with plans to activate automatic exchange of financial account information in tax matters with other countries beginning in 2018.

The landmark decision comes just weeks after Switzerland told the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes that it would implement in a timely manner the Standard for Automatic Exchange of Financial Information in Tax Matters developed by the OECD and G20 countries. The Swiss decision is subject to Parliamentary approval, as well as the possibility that voters may be asked to approve the necessary laws and agreements.

The Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement is a framework agreement based on the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters. It was signed by 51 jurisdictions during the annual meeting of the Global Forum on 29 October 2014 in Berlin.

Bilateral information exchanges will come into effect between signatories after subsequent notifications are filed, as required under the Agreement. A group of early adopters have pledged to work towards launching their first information exchanges by September 2017. Others, including Switzerland, are expected to follow in 2018.

The Standard for Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information in Tax Matters was endorsed by G20 Leaders at the Leaders’ Summit on 15-16 November 2014 in Brisbane, Australia. It provides for exchange of all financial information on an annual basis, automatically. Most jurisdictions have committed to implementing this Standard on a reciprocal basis with all interested jurisdictions.

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Section 240A of the Tax Administration Act, 2011 (as amended) requires that all tax practitioners register with a recognized controlling body before 1 July 2013. It is a criminal offense to not register with both a recognized controlling body and SARS.


The Act requires that a minimum academic and practical requirments be set to register with a controlling body. Click here for the minimum requirements of SAIT.

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