EU plans tax move as Swiss-US talks begin

As Switzerland began talks with the United States on Tuesday over a revised bilateral tax treaty, the European Union called for a 2004 accord to be updated.

This content was published on April 28, 2009 minutes

Switzerland and the US began four days of negotiations to update a bilateral tax treaty to include recent changes to Swiss banking secrecy laws.

The treaty is one of many bilateral agreements Switzerland will have to renegotiate as a result of its decision in March to meet standards set by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) for international cooperation in tax matters.

EU Tax Commissioner Lazlo Kovacs announced in Brussels on Tuesday that he expected European Council ministers to give their full backing to his attempts to renegotiate Swiss-EU bilateral tax agreements in the coming months, as part of the EU attempts to introduce OECD standards.

It follows earlier comments by Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey that there was "currently no reason to renegotiate the tax accord".

Terms for cooperating with data sharing in suspected cases of tax fraud and evasion are one of the main topics on the agenda of the Swiss-US talks.

Bern does not support an automatic exchange of client information, preferring instead to work on a case-by-case basis, and only intends to assist in cases where fraud is firmly suspected.

Switzerland has double-taxation accords with about 70 countries. France and Japan have also expressed an interest in revising their accords with Bern.

swissinfo with agencies

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