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Over the last two years, the OECD Committee on Fiscal Affairs, to which Switzerland also belongs, prepared a new commentary on Article 26 of the OECD Model Convention on tax administrative assistance. Now international administrative assistance has to be granted also for groups of taxpayers and not only in individual cases. In the case of group requests, the persons concerned must be identified by means of specific search criteria. So-called fishing expeditions, i.e. requests without concrete indications, remain expressly prohibited.
Following yesterday's approval by the OECD Council in Paris, the member countries will have to implement the amendment in their national legislation.
This new standard will not yet be examined in the Global Forum peer review.
In Switzerland, the Council of States has already approved corresponding regulations in the ongoing deliberations on the Tax Administrative Assistance Act. The National Council will decide on the matter in autumn 2012. The Act will be subject to an optional referendum after being adopted by parliament.
Swiss implementation work for the second phase of the peer review still ongoing
Switzerland's implementation work for the second phase of the Global Forum peer review is continuing irrespective of the latest decision of the OECD Council. Switzerland passed the first phase in 2011. In order to be admitted to the second phase of the peer review, one of the following has to be fully met: acceptance of data transmission in exceptional cases without information on the person concerned, establishment of transparency regarding bearer shares or a sufficient number of DTAs with administrative assistance in accordance with the OECD standard. This is expected to be the case in 2013 at the earliest.