Application of OECD standard to all double taxation agreements

Bern, 19.02.2014 - The Federal Council wants to apply the exchange of information in accordance with the OECD standard also to double taxation agreements that have not yet been adapted to the standard. It has instructed the Federal Department of Finance (FDF) to prepare a corresponding draft.

Today, the Federal Council instructed the FDF to prepare a draft for unilateral application of the OECD standard on the exchange of information upon request to all double taxation agreements (DTAs) that are not yet in line with the current international standard. Switzerland's entire DTA network could thus be swiftly adapted to the international standard. Since 2009, Switzerland has revised or entered into 45 DTAs or tax information exchange agreements in accordance with the international standard with other states; 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 be able 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 15 October 2013 and the ongoing efforts to revise existing double taxation agreements, the Federal Council is underscoring its desire to swiftly implement the OECD standard regarding administrative assistance in tax matters.

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Mario Tuor, Communications, State Secretariat for International Financial Matters SIF
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The Federal Council

Federal Department of Finance