Switzerland has inked double taxation agreements with 12 countries, the latest being Qatar, paving the way for the nation to be removed from the OECD’s list of non-cooperative tax havens.
In April, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development had named many nations, including Switzerland, as those which are not fully-compliant with the global tax norms.
As per OECD norms, a country would be taken off the grey list, after it has signed at least a dozen double taxation agreements.
The Swiss government said, “It [Switzerland] has signed 12 agreements containing a clause on extended administrative assistance in tax matters. Further agreements will follow. Consequently, Switzerland will be removed from the ‘grey list’ of the OECD Secretariat.”
Switzerland has signed such treaties with Denmark, Luxembourg, France, Norway, Austria, the U.K., Mexico, Finland, the Faroe Islands, the U.S. and Spain.
The grey list was published following the pledge by G-20 leaders to crackdown on tax havens, during their summit in London last April.
OECD, a grouping of rich nations, takes into account many factors to determine a jurisdiction as a tax haven, including whether the country imposes “no or only nominal taxes”. Other criteria include lack of transparency and whether laws prevent exchange of information related to tax with other governments.
Meanwhile, the Swiss government in the statement asserted that banking secrecy continues to be in place.
“The privacy of domestic and foreign bank clients [banking secrecy’ in terms of unjustified intrusion by the state remains intact.
“The possibilities available to Swiss tax authorities to access bank data under national law are not affected by this decision [adoption of OECD tax standards]. However, banking secrecy offers no protection in the case of tax offences,” the statement noted.