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Swiss Parliament Approves Amended U.S.-Switzerland Tax Treaty

A Swiss parliamentary committee Nov. 10 gave its go-ahead to proposed amendments to a new U.S.-Swiss double taxation treaty that would make it easier for U.S. authorities to seek information on secret bank accounts held by U.S. taxpayers with Swiss banks.

The amendment allows for the handover of files on suspected tax offenders to the U.S. in cases where the U.S. authorities don’t know the identities of American holders of Swiss bank accounts and are basing requests for information merely on certain patterns of behavior.

According to the amendment, Switzerland will only grant administrative assistance in cases where the U.S. tax authorities produce clear evidence of a suspected offense, Eugen David, the president of the committee, told reporters in the capital, Bern. In addition, they must detail the pattern of behavior and explain why they need the information.

There must be evidence of wrongdoing by the Swiss bank where the U.S. client had the account and the mere fact that a U.S. citizen had an account with a Swiss bank isn’t sufficient, David said.

The Council of States decided on Sept. 21 to send the amended treaties back to the foreign affairs committee. The upper house “wants to wait until the Federal Council makes clear progress towards a comprehensive solution to the tax dispute with the United States.”

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Read more at: Tax Times blog

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