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Switzerland: Fees for Exchange of Tax Information Proposed

(Oct. 21, 2010) On October 18, 2010, the Finance Committee of the National Council (Nationalrat), the representative chamber of the Swiss bicameral Parliament, submitted a motion to the Federal Council (Bundesrat), the executive branch of the Swiss government, requesting that a law be drafted that would allow the Swiss government to recover extraordinary expenses from […]

Switzerland: Decriminalization of Narcotics Consumption Proposed

(Oct. 20, 2010) On October, 15, 2010, the Committee for Social Security and Health of the National Council (Nationalrat), the representative chamber of the bicameral Swiss Parliament, resolved to initiate the legislative process for amending the Narcotics Act (Betäbungsmittelgesetz, Oct. 3, 1951, Systematische Sammlung des Bundesrechts No. 812.121, http://www.admin.ch/ch/d/sr/c812_121.html). The purpose of this proposed reform […]

Switzerland; Taiwan: Against ISO over Request for Country Name Change Declined

(Sept. 13, 2010) The Swiss Federal Tribunal (Switzerland's Supreme Court), in Lausanne, issued a ruling on September 9, 2010, declining to handle on appeal a civil suit lodged by Taiwan against the Geneva-based International Standards Organization (ISO). The Tribunal, affirming a lower court decision, deemed the case to be outside the scope of its jurisdiction […]

Switzerland: Exchange of Tax Information

(Sept. 3, 2010) On September 1, 2010, the Swiss Federal Council (Bundesrat, Federal Cabinet) adopted the Regulation on Administrative Assistance Accorded to Double Taxation Conventions (Amtshilfeverordnung [Administrative Assistance Regulation], advance copy, Federal Administration of the Swiss Federation website, http://www.news.admin.ch/NSBSubscriber/message/attachments/20252.pdf (last visited Sept. 1, 2010)). This Administrative Assistance Regulation provides the principles and procedures applicable to […]

Switzerland: Federal Procedural Laws Enacted

(Aug. 25, 2010) On January 1, 2011, several federal procedural laws will become effective in Switzerland. These will replace the corresponding laws of the 26 cantons as well as several federal enactments. These new federal laws are: the Swiss Code of Criminal Procedure (Schweizerische Strafprozessordnung), October 5, 2007 (AMTLICHE SAMMLUNG DES BUNDESRECHTS [AS] 1881 (2010) […]

Switzerland: Parliament Passes Agreement with United States on UBS

(June 23, 2010) On June 15, 2010, the National Council, Switzerland's lower house of parliament, reversed its initial, June 8 rejection of the deal and approved an agreement with the United States to settle tax evasion lawsuits lodged by U.S. authorities against the Swiss banking giant UBS AG. The vote was 81-61, made possible after […]

Switzerland: Initiative on Biometric ID Cards for Foreigners

(Mar. 10, 2010) On March 3, 2010, Switzerland's National Council (the larger chamber of the two-chamber parliament) adopted a decision to include biometric data on the identification cards of foreigners. Such data (fingerprints, facial photograph, digital signature, stored in a microchip) on Swiss nationals has been included in the new Swiss passport, issued since March […]

Switzerland: Court Decision Denies Release of UBS Bank Records to the IRS

(Jan. 29, 2010) On January 21, 2010, the Swiss Administrative Court rescinded a decision of the Swiss Federal Tax Administration that would have released Swiss banking records to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) (Bundesverwaltungsgericht, docket number A-7789/2009, Jan. 21, 2010, available at http://www.csbancari.ch/osservatorio/documenti/A77892009.pdf), even though Switzerland had promised to process this IRS request for […]

Switzerland: New Law Encourages Multilingual Culture

(Jan. 19, 2010) On January 1, 2010, a new Swiss law went into effect that aims at preserving the multilingual culture of Switzerland. (Bundesgesetz über die Landessprachen und die Verständigung zwischen den Sprachgemeinschaften (Federal Act on the National Languages), Oct. 5, 2001, Amtliche Sammlung des Bundesrechts 2007, 6605 available at http://www.admin.ch/ch/d/as/2009/6605.pdf.) The new Act implements […]

Switzerland: Federal Administrative Court Chastises Financial Markets Authority for Releasing UBS Records to IRS

(Jan. 8, 2010) On January 5, 2010, the Federal Administrative Court issued a judgment in which it held that the Swiss Financial Markets Supervisory Authority (Eidgenössische Finanzmarktaufsicht, FINMA)had acted unlawfully on February 18, 2009, when it ordered UBS AG, a Swiss Bank [UBS], to release its banking records concerning close to 300 U.S. customers to […]