Bloomberg News

Swiss Accept Tax Group Requests According to OECD Standards

July 18, 2012

Switzerland is implementing legislation that will allow so-called group requests in cases of suspected tax offenses, a government spokesman said.

“The parliament’s upper house already approved the draft, and the lower house is expected to decide during the next session in September,” Mario Tuor, a spokesman for the State Secretariat for International Financial Matters in the Swiss capital Bern, said today in a phone interview.

The Swiss government today said it endorsed a decision by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development to include group requests in its so-called Model Convention on tax administrative assistance. The backing is part of the country’s efforts to rid itself of an image as a safe haven for untaxed assets.

Switzerland, where about 27 percent of all offshore wealth is managed, has signed accords with Germany and the U.K. involving a one-time payment on previously undeclared funds and a withholding tax on future capital gains and investment income.

The Swiss government so far has struck about 25 double- taxation agreements with other countries allowing administrative assistance in individual cases of suspected tax fraud or tax evasion. The new law will extend these accords to so-called group requests whereby the people must be identified through specific search criteria, Tuor said.

The only tax agreement already including group requests is the one between Switzerland and the U.S. which still needs approval by the Senate in Washington D.C.

To contact the reporter on this story: Klaus Wille in Zurich at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Craig Stirling at

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