US and Switzerland negotiate tax secrecy

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The US announces plans to amend their income tax treaty with Switzerland.

WASHINGTON - The United States and Switzerland will begin negotiations to adjust their income tax treaty for greater openness and accountability, the US Treasury Department said Monday.

The announcement came following Group of 20 promises earlier in April to restrict tax havens and fight tax evasion and as bilateral relations were strained by a tax fraud case against Swiss banking giant UBS.

The negotiations to change the 1996 treaty are expected to begin 28 April in Berne, Switzerland, the Treasury Department said in a statement.

"The two countries intend to revise the tax treaty so the two countries can exchange information for tax purposes to the full extent permitted by Article 26 of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)" model income tax convention, the department said.

"As called for in the G20 meeting in London, we believe that all countries must adhere to international standards for exchange (of) tax information," Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said.

"We welcome moves by Switzerland to implement international standards by agreeing to revise the US-Switzerland tax treaty for the exchange of information for tax purposes with the US."

Switzerland formally decided on 13 March to ease banking secrecy and fully adopt OECD tax standards. The government recently approved talks with the US and Japan to reinforce tax cooperation.

A spokeswoman for the Swiss Finance Ministry on Tuesday confirmed the intention to renegotiate the dual taxation agreement with the United States.

AFP / Expatica


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