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Switzerland To Extend OECD Standard To All DTAs

by Ulrika Lomas, Lowtax.net, Brussels
24 February, 2014

The Swiss Government aims to introduce the OECD exchange of information standard into every double taxation agreement (DTA) that has yet to be adapted through legislation that the Federal Department of Finance has been asked to prepare.

Since 2009, Switzerland has revised or entered into 45 DTAs or tax information exchange agreements in accordance with the international standard. 36 of these are in force.

The standard is now to be applied to the remaining DTAs by means of a unilateral extension. However, this will be conditional on reciprocity, i.e. the partner states must also agree to exchange tax information with Switzerland upon request. Moreover, data protection and the principle of speciality must be preserved.

Such a procedure was also called for in a motion submitted by National Councillor Ruedi Noser (Radical Free Democratic Group FDP, Zurich) in December 2013. Other states such as Belgium and Singapore have brought their entire DTA network into line with the international standard in the same way.

With this measure, the signing of the multilateral OECD/Council of Europe Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters on October 15, 2013, and the ongoing efforts to revise existing double taxation agreements, the Federal Council is demonstrating its desire to swiftly implement the OECD standard regarding administrative assistance in tax matters.

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