National Council approves agreement against tax avoidance
Parliament supports the implementation of international standards against corporate tax avoidance. Following the Council of States, the National Council has also come out in favour of an agreement.
With 114 votes to 64, the Grand Chamber approved on Wednesday the multilateral agreement on the implementation of tax treaty related measures to prevent the reduction and transfer of profits. This is now ready for the final votes.
It is an agreement within the framework of the OECD's Beps project. It regulates the adaptation of double taxation agreements (DTAs) to the minimum standards: DTAs should not only prevent double taxation, but also abuse through double non-taxation.
Abuse and Dispute Settlement Clause
The Dba will have a preamble which explicitly states that it is not intended to provide an opportunity for double non-taxation or reduced taxation through tax evasion or avoidance.
A general abuse clause is also to be incorporated into DTAs. In addition, the DTAs covered by the Beps Agreement should contain a provision on dispute settlement - provided that the partner state also wishes to apply this part of the Agreement.
Black and grey lists
The SVP opposed the multilateral agreement - despite the reservations expressed by Switzerland. It warned against administrative burdens on businesses. Hans Egloff (SVP/ZH) thought that Switzerland actually already belonged on the OECD's model boys' list. Nevertheless, she is listed on a grey list. He sleeps well, though.
The day before, it had become known that Switzerland would remain on the EU's grey tax haven list for the time being. Finance Minister Ueli Maurer called this a success. The danger of Switzerland being blacklisted was relatively high, he said. If the AHV tax bill is rejected in May, this will happen. "This might not cause Mr Egloff any sleepless nights, but hundreds of companies who would face sanctions."
Tax avoidance as a business model
The majority in the National Council believes that the fight against tax evasion makes sense. Jacqueline Badran (SP/ZH) noted that aggressive and harmful tax avoidance has established itself as a business model. This should be paid for by SMEs and natural persons. The countries had been swindling each other's tax money for years and also
Tax substrate destroyed. This must stop. The agreement is not enough, but it is a step in the right direction.
For the time being, the double taxation agreements with Argentina, Chile, Iceland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Austria, Portugal, South Africa, the Czech Republic and Turkey are to be adapted. It is conceivable that other states will join them. The BEPS minimum standards may also be agreed through bilateral amendments to DTAs. Maurer emphasized that it is not a question of new standards, but of an efficient approach.