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Switzerland Eases Rules on Account Data Transfer for U.S. Clients of Swiss Banks

The government of Switzerland has agreed to ease existing rules on the transfer of information on secret Swiss bank accounts of U.S. clients in a further effort to diffuse tensions with the United States over funds hidden away in Swiss banks.

The Swiss government announced Nov. 16 that the Federal Council, the government’s executive arm, adopted amendments to a June 1998 ordinance on the implementation of an existing 1996 U.S.-Swiss double taxation agreement.

The amendments will allow U.S. requests for information on U.S. clients suspected of tax fraud to be made under the existing 1996 treaty based on “certain patterns of behavior” rather than requiring the identification of the U.S. taxpayer.

The decision follows the Nov. 8 admission by Swiss tax authorities that they had received a U.S. request for administrative assistance in suspected cases of tax fraud, based on the 1996 double tax agreement. A spokesman for Credit Suisse, Switzerland’s second largest bank, confirmed the same day that the bank was ordered by Swiss tax authorities to hand over information with regard to accounts of domiciliary companies belonging to certain U.S. persons as beneficial owners.

Read more at: Tax Times blog

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