Switzerland's engagement in international bodies that deal with tax matters

Stand January 2019

Brief summary

Switzerland works intensively on tax matters together with other countries. This cooperation is based on international standards, which are prepared and further developed with Switzerland's active participation. Monitoring of the implementation of international standards, particularly those concerning the exchange of information in tax matters and corporate taxation, should be carried out according to fair and transparent criteria. The same conditions must apply to all participants when implementing the standards.


Switzerland's participation in international bodies

The number and diversity of international tax issues is steadily increasing. Switzerland is highly interested in cooperating with other states on tax matters. Consequently, it contributes to the work of various international bodies.

OECD

Switzerland is a founding member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which was founded in 1961. It has since fostered close cooperation with its member states. As a member of the OECD, it is also represented in the Committee on Fiscal Affairs (CFA). The CFA is the leading body of the OECD for the development of international standards in tax matters. For example, the CFA adopted the OECD Model Convention, which serves as a basis for more than 3,000 bilateral double taxation agreements. Within the scope of the OECD and G20 major project to combat base erosion and profit sharing (BEPS project), the Inclusive Framework on BEPS, which was established in 2016 and covers over 120 states and territories, monitors the implementation of the results of the BEPS project, in particular the resulting minimum standards.

Employees of the State Secretariat for International Financial Matters (SIF) and the Federal Tax Administration (FTA) also represent Switzerland in various working parties of the Committee on Fiscal Affairs. Moreover, Switzerland is involved in the Forum on Harmful Tax Practices and the Forum on Tax Administration.

Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes

Switzerland has been a member of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes since September 2009, and is represented in its steering group as well as in the peer review group. The Global Forum is responsible for assessing the internationally applicable standard for transparency and the exchange of information in the field of taxation.

Intra-European Organisation of Tax Administrations

Furthermore, Switzerland has been a full member of the Intra-European Organisation of Tax Administrations (IOTA) since 2006. The IOTA's purpose is to achieve strengthened cooperation between European countries' tax authorities and prepare best practices.

United Nations Economic and Social Council

Within the framework of the United Nations, Switzerland is also engaged in dialogue with other states on international tax matters. This takes place via the Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters, an ad hoc committee of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). It deals with international tax law issues and seeks to achieve a balance of interests among industrialised countries, emerging market countries and developing countries.

International Fiscal Association

Switzerland's engagement in the International Fiscal Association (IFA) is also significant. The IFA serves as a discussion forum for tax experts on issues in the field of international taxation.

International VAT Association

In the area of VAT, Switzerland participates in events organised by the International VAT Association (IVA). These serve as a discussion forum for tax experts on international questions concerning sales tax.

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