(Bloomberg News) Switzerland's bid to meet global standards for helping foreign governments identify suspected tax evaders will be assessed in the second half of next year, according to a new report.
Switzerland agreed in March 2009 to comply with Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development standards to avoid being blacklisted as a tax haven. The Paris-based organization earlier this year found the Swiss interpretation of so-called administrative assistance to be too restrictive.
"Switzerland's initial interpretation concerning identification requirements for an exchange of information request is not in line with that standard," the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes said in a report today. Swiss efforts to rectify those failings will be judged in a peer review next year, the report said.
Switzerland's Finance Ministry said in February that it will consider helping with tax-evasion probes on the basis of less detailed evidence rather than requiring a suspected tax evader's name, address and banking details. The Swiss government, in an annex to today's report, said laws have been submitted to Parliament to ensure the standards are met.
Switzerland's commitment to comply with OECD standards came after attacks on secrecy and an agreement by the nation's biggest bank, UBS AG, to pay $780 million to avoid prosecution for helping wealthy Americans evade taxes.
Switzerland also currently falls short of global standards in providing ownership information for bearer shares and bearer savings books, today's report said. The Swiss practice of notifying individuals of an investigation by foreign tax authorities before any information is handed over may also harm the probe, the forum said.