Switzerland Strengthens Mutual Tax Assistance Body

Switzerland Strengthens Mutual Tax Assistance Body

The Swiss authority responsible for information exchange in tax matters, established within the country’s tax administration is to be strengthened by means of the deployment of additional personnel.

This step is aimed to ensure that Switzerland continues to fulfill its international obligations in the area of mutual assistance in case of increase in requests for assistance. The Federal Department of Finance will create eight new positions from 2013.

In 2009, the Federal Council adopted the OECD’s international standard on mutual assistance in order to anchor the provision in double taxation agreements.

According to the Federal Department of Finance, many countries have already applied those provisions, which has led to a significant increase in requests for mutual assistance this year. Since last year the number of requests increased more than twice (the total number is 704 as of October 2012). However, Switzerland submitted just one request for information to foreign tax authorities last year and has submitted just two requests this year.

The Swiss service for information exchange was set up last year in order to assists the country’s authorities in the treatment of requests for legal assistance in tax matters and to submit Swiss requests for mutual assistance to foreign tax authorities. This service deals not only with requests for tax information in accordance with the OECD standard, but also with the exchange of information under the terms of the national legislation, to ensure application of double tax treaty provisions and to enforce domestic law in cases of tax fraud.

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