Requests have more than doubled in past 9 months compared to 2011 as a whole
BERN, SWITZERLAND – The number of demands from foreign governments for help with “administrative assistance” in tax matters has increased hugely since 2011, the Swiss federal tax office says. The SEI (Service d’échange d’informations en matière fiscale) branch of the tax office will create eight full time posts, in addition to the six that exist now, to meet the growing workload and ensure Switzerland can meet its international treaty obligations.
Administrative assistance is the official phrase used by governments when they are looking for help unmasking tax cheats. Switzerland has negotiated several new tax assistance treaties since 2009 that are in line with OECD norms, 25 of which are now in effect.
Other governments have requested assistance in 704 cases to date in 2012: for all of 2011 the figure was 370. The most dramatic increase has come from the 25 countries with new tax agreements with Switzerland: 556 to date this year, compared to 99 for all of 2011 (these figures are include in the overall ones listed above).
The requests take a number of forms and are not necessarily requests for bank data: company accounts or statements from Switzerland that taxes have been paid here are typical.
The tax office in 2011 created the SEI to handle the expected increase in requests.