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Switzerland Eyes Unification Of Criminal Tax Law

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

25 September 2012

The Swiss Federal Council plans to unify the Confederation’s criminal tax law to strengthen legal certainty.

According to the Swiss Federal Department of Finance (FDF), the Federal Council aims to strengthen legal certainty in Switzerland by unifying existing procedures and by unifying the definition of criminal offences in the criminal tax law.

Defending its plans, the Federal Council underscores the need to ensure that irrespective of the particular type of tax concerned by the infraction, the same offence gives rise to the same legal consequences.

The Federal Council has also underlined the need for the cantonal tax administrations to have access to certain banking information to be able to carry out their procedures in cases of tax evasion.

In its release, the FDF explains that the criminal tax law forms part of the Confederation’s tax law, and contains provisions designed to guarantee tax equity by punishing tax offences. The FDF highlights the fact that the penal provisions and procedures laid down in the existing law currently vary, depending on the type of tax concerned.

The Federal Council has therefore instructed the FDF to work together with the cantons to draft a bill providing for the necessary amendments and improvements to be made, for consultation by Spring 2013.

In addition, the harmonization of limitation periods prescribed by the criminal law and administrative laws with regards withholding tax on stamp duty and value-added tax will also be considered. This is designed to simplify the prosecution of tax offences.

TAGS: compliance | Finance | tax | value added tax (VAT) | tax compliance | tax avoidance | law | banking | offshore | withholding tax | stamp duty | Switzerland | tax reform

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