Legislative change of Tax Administration Assistance Act with regard to stolen data

Tax Administration Assistance, Administrative Assistance, stolen Data

On 2 September 2015, the Federal Council has initiated consultation proceedings on the revision of the Tax Administrative Assistance Act. Under its current legislation, Switzerland rejects administrative assistance requests based on information obtained based on offences punishable under Swiss law, e.g. theft of bank data.

These Swiss practices have been criticized by numerous partner countries as well as The Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes (Global Forum), in particular in the course of the wide distribution of the HSBC data. In their opinion, the exchange of information is to be allowed, if initially illegally obtained information has been lawfully received based on an international agreement.

According to the proposed legislation, Switzerland intends to respond to requests that are based on illegal data that have been obtained by the requesting state through ordinary administrative assistance channels or from public sources. This should improve the position of Switzerland for phase two of the Global Forum peer review on administrative assistance in tax matters.

However, Switzerland will continue to reject administrative assistance requests based on stolen data actively acquired by the requesting state outside of administrative assistance proceedings. In addition, the foreign taxpayers concerned will retain their legal right to lodge an appeal against the exchange of bank client data within the framework of administrative assistance.

The consultation will last until 2 December 2015. The bill is due to be discussed in Parliament in summer 2016.

* Samuel Bussmann | Kerstin Beck-Ulmer



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