The Swiss parliament’s upper house gave its approval to proposed amendments to a new U.S.-Swiss double taxation treaty that would make it easier for U.S. authorities to seek information on secret bank accounts held by U.S. taxpayers with Swiss banks.
The Council of States, the Swiss equivalent of the U.S. Senate, approved the amendments by a large majority, with 27 representatives voting in favor and five against. The vote clears the way for a final decision on the amendments in the National Council, the parliament’s lower house. The 200 members of the National Council are due to vote on the matter Dec. 21.
The treaty is designed to replace a 1996 treaty. Both provide for judicial assistance in cases of tax fraud, but the new treaty defines the framework for this more precisely and admits tax evasion as well as fraud, in some cases, as grounds for a request for assistance. Under previous agreements, Switzerland limited cross-border cooperation to cases of suspected tax fraud.