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The Ordinance on the Provision of Administrative Assistance in Accordance with DTAs governs the requirements for providing and implementing administrative assistance. If a country submits a request for administrative assistance on the basis of a DTA concluded with Switzerland, then the Federal Tax Administration will conduct a preliminary examination. The prerequisite for the request is that it is in line with the principle of good faith. Requests for administrative assistance will be rejected if they are based on information which was obtained or forwarded due to actions which are punishable under Swiss law.
Other core requirements which are mentioned in the Ordinance on the Provision of Administrative Assistance in Accordance with DTAs are detailed information to clearly identify the person concerned and the holder of the information. The parameters decided upon by the Federal Council in March 2009 are thus implemented, whereby Switzerland will not provide administrative assistance in the case of fishing expeditions. The procedural rights of those concerned will in any case remain fully safeguarded. Those concerned may file an appeal with the Federal Administrative Court against the FTA conclusive decrees, upon which the provision of administrative assistance is based and which determine the extent of the information to be provided.
The Administrative Assistance Ordinance will apply to all administrative assistance requests within the scope of new or revised DTAs which enter into force after the enactment of the ordinance. In the case of existing DTAs which have not been revised after the enactment of the ordinance, existing procedural regulations will be applicable.
In the hearing procedure, business associations, authorities, organisations, parties and other interested parties largely voiced their approval. The Administrative Assistance Ordinance will enter into force on 1 October 2010. It is to be replaced as swiftly as possible by an Administrative Assistance Act, which is currently being drawn up.
On 13 March 2009, the Federal Council took the decision to adopt the standard set out in Art. 26 of the OECD Model Convention with respect to international administrative assistance in tax matters. Switzerland has since negotiated new DTAs or correspondingly revised DTAs with over two dozen states. This new policy on administrative assistance will be further implemented by the Administrative Assistance Ordinance and will be expressed in concrete terms for administrative practice.