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Switzerland Rejects Dutch Taxpayer Info Request

by Ulrika Lomas, Tax-News.com, Brussels

28 March 2016


The Swiss Federal Administrative Court has ruled that no administrative assistance can be provided by Switzerland in response to a group request submitted by the tax authority in the Netherlands (in decision A-8400/2015).

In upholding the appeal by a Dutch client of Swiss bank UBS, the court blocked the request for administrative assistance under the 2010 Swiss-Netherlands (DTT-NL) double tax treaty because certain details were ommited by the Dutch tax authority.

The Dutch tax authorities (Belastingdienst) submitted a request for administrative assistance on the basis of the DTT-NL in respect of UBS banking details on July 23, 2015. However, the request failed to disclose any client names and instead indicated the criteria for identifying the UBS clients covered by the request.

In a statement accompanying the ruling, the Swiss court pointed out that the protocol to the DTT-NL "clearly states" that the treaty prohibits group requests that do not disclose any names. As a consequence, the corresponding provisions of the Swiss Tax Administrative Assistance Act of September 28, 2012, and the Swiss Tax Administrative Assistance Ordinance of August 20, 2014, do not apply in the case in question, the court confirmed.

"This protocol is an integral part of the DTT-NL and it is therefore binding under international law," the statement said. "Furthermore, neither the mutual agreement on the DTT-NL (concluded by the competent Swiss and Dutch authorities) nor the Commentary on the OECD Model Tax Convention can change anything in this regard."

"The appeal by a Dutch client of UBS is thus affirmed and therefore the details of his banking relationship may not be disclosed to the Dutch authorities," the court concluded.

TAGS: court | tax | double tax agreement (DTA) | Netherlands | law | banking | tax authority | Switzerland | Tax

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