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Switzerland, France Resume DTA Negotiations

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

It has recently emerged that Switzerland and France have formally agreed on the interpretation of the renegotiated bilateral double taxation agreement (DTA). The two countries have also noted that the data stolen from HSBC in Geneva will not be used for requests for administrative assistance from France.

Due to this agreement, which is binding on both countries, the Swiss Federal Department of Finance (FDF) no longer considers that there is any impediment to the revised DTA being approved rapidly by parliament.

On January 27, 2010, on the fringes of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Swiss Federal Councillor Hans-Rudolf Merz and French Budget Minister Eric Woerth settled differences of opinion between the two countries concerning tax issues. These concerned, on the one hand, the use of the bank data stolen in Geneva and, on the other, the interpretation of the new DTA signed between Switzerland and France on August 27, 2009.

According to the Swiss Federal Administration, the exchange of letters between the Swiss and French tax authorities sets out the following points:

“In cases where a country requesting an exchange of banking information knows the name of the bank holding the account of the taxpayer concerned, it shall communicate this information to the country to which the request is made. If, exceptionally, the requesting authority presumes that the taxpayer holds a bank account in the country to which the request is made, but does not, however, have information allowing it to identify without doubt the bank concerned, it shall supply all information in its possession to enable the bank to be identified. The country to which the request is made will respond to such a request provided that it is in line with the principle of proportionality and does not constitute a fishing expedition.”

Regarding the issue of stolen bank data, the Swiss Federal Administration states: “France reiterated to Switzerland that none of the data stolen from HSBC in Geneva would be used in requests for administrative assistance. In the case of requests from third countries, the French authorities will notify the Swiss authorities and transmit the requested information to the third countries. France has fulfilled a further condition by delivering a copy of the data stolen from HSBC in Geneva to the Swiss authorities.”

The clarification of the unresolved tax issues will allow the ratification process to be resumed and help ease tensions in Franco-Swiss bilateral tax policy relations, the Federal Administration notes. The FDF has already suggested that the Council of States committee resume the approval process at its next meeting on February 17. Switzerland thereby clearly indicates its readiness to implement this new policy, it concludes.

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The Report

Offshore Trusts Guide: Introduction

The History of Offshore Trusts
Development of Professional Competence in the Jurisdictions
What Future for the Trust?
The New Age of Transparency
The Swiss Association of Trust Companies
The Society of Trusts and Estates Practitioners

Offshore Trusts Guide: Jurisdictions

Bahamas

Bahamas: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Bahamas: 2006 Private Trust Companies Legislation

Barbados

Barbados: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Barbados: Supervisory and Licensing Regime and Fees

Bermuda

Bermuda: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Bermuda: Supervisory and Licensing Regime and Fees

British Virgin Islands

British Virgin Islands: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
British Virgin Islands: Special Trusts Act 2003
British Virgin Islands: The Trustee Act 2003
British Virgin Islands: :Supervisory and Licensing Regime and Fees
British Virgin Islands: New Laws on Private Trust Companies
British Virgin Islands: New Private Trust Company Regulations

Cayman Islands

Cayman Islands: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Cayman Islands: Supervisory and Licensing Regime and Fees

Cook Islands

Cook Islands: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Cook Islands: Supervisory and Licensing Regime and Fees

Cyprus

Cyprus: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Cyprus: Supervision, Licensing and Tax

Gibraltar

Gibraltar: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Gibraltar: Legislation, Regulation and Supervision

Guernsey

Guernsey: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Guernsey: Trusts Law 2007

Isle of Man

Isle of Man: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Isle of Man: Supervisory and Licensing Regime
Isle of Man: Uses Clients and Tax Treatment

Jersey

Jersey: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Jersey: Supervisory and Licensing Regime
Jersey: Trusts Amendment Act 2006
Jersey: Foundations

Liechtenstein

Liechtenstein: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Liechtenstein: Regulation Supervision and Transparency
Liechtenstein: Characteristics of Liechtenstein Trusts
Liechtenstein: Foundations

Madeira

Madeira: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees

Malta

Malta: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Malta: The Trust and Trustees Act 2004

Mauritius

Mauritius: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Mauritius: Characteristics of the 2001 Trusts Act
Mauritius: Additional Provisions of the 2001 Trusts Act
Mauritius: Tax Treatment

Monaco

Monaco: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees

Nevis

Nevis: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees

Panama

Panama: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Panama: Requirements for Acting as Trust Company in Panama

Seychelles

Seychelles: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees

Turks & Caicos

Turks & Caicos: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Turks & Caicos: The Voidable Dispositions Ordinance

Vanuatu

Vanuatu Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees




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