In Bern today, it was announced that Switzerland and Poland had concluded negotiations on the revision of their double taxation agreement and initialled the new document. According to the Swiss Federal Council, the sections of the DTA on international administrative assistance were negotiated in accordance with the parameters it had decided.

The March 13 decision that Switzerland would adopt the OECD standard on administrative assistance in tax matters, under Article 26 of the OECD Model Convention, permits an exchange of information on tax matters in individual cases where a specific and justified request has been made.

Poland is the ninth country with which Switzerland has initialled a DTA containing the extended administrative assistance clause after Denmark, Luxembourg, Norway, France, Mexico, the USA, Japan and the Netherlands. The Council notes that the initialled text is still confidential. The cantons and business associations will have the opportunity to submit their views, with theFederal Council thereafter deciding on the authorisation for signing. After all of this, the agreement will be published.

Under current practice, DTAs that provide for significant additional obligations are subject to an optional referendum. The Federal Council is of the view that the first double taxation agreement with the new administrative assistance provisions approved by Parliament should therefore be subject to an optional referendum. That decision, however, rests with Parliament.