Avoidance of international double taxation

Brief summary

Undesirable double taxation can arise when companies or individuals are domiciled in various countries or when they receive income from another country. Double taxation agreements (DTAs) reduce double taxation and thus also obstacles for cross-border business transactions. They additionally regulate administrative assistance in tax matters. With over 100 agreements, Switzerland has one of the densest DTA networks in the world.


Double taxation typically occurs when two states tax the same income or assets of a taxpayer. Most of the provisions of a DTA are dedicated to avoiding double taxation by giving the contracting states the right to tax the individual types of income and assets. However, they merely restrict the contracting states' taxation right. The basis for taxation lies in the contracting states' domestic law.

DTAs additionally have an important function for investments of all kinds abroad, as they avoid double taxation on profits and revenue from foreign investments. Moreover, a DTA generally contains certain bans on discrimination, a dispute resolution mechanism and a clause on the exchange of information upon request.

Further information on the topic can be found on the website of the State Secretariat for International Finance SIF:

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Last modification 11.11.2020

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