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SBA statement on the Federal Supreme Court decision on transfers of data to France

SBA statement on the Federal Supreme Court decision on transfers of data to France

The Federal Supreme Court in Lausanne, sitting in open session, has today announced its decision in the court case between the Federal Tax Administration and UBS on administrative assistance to France. The SBA is sceptical with regard to the decision.

The fundamental rules of legal certainty for all parties are crucial to the viability and attractiveness of our financial centre. Following an initial examination, the Swiss Bankers Association therefore views the decision with scepticism. Under certain circumstances, it may mean that administrative assistance in tax matters is no longer limited to purely administrative assistance.

The hurdles for pure evidence-gathering activities could be lowered, thus increasing the risk of fishing expeditions. The use of data for purposes other than tax could also be permitted, which could fatally weaken the principle of speciality. Compliance with that principle is key and is an internationally recognised standard. We note that the Federal Supreme Court has demanded that France comply with the principle of speciality. We trust that the federal authorities will accord the highest priority to compliance with that principle by France.

However, we will have to wait until the written decision has been published for a conclusive assessment.