Swiss Inching Towards U.S. Tax Deal Agreement

A Swiss parliamentary commission is edging toward accepting a government proposal that would allow the transfer of bank clients' data to the United States to settle a tax evasion dispute, Swiss news agency SDA reported.

Last month, Swiss parliamentarians delayed a vote on the measures required to meet U.S. demands, and legislators asked the upper house's foreign affairs committee to find out how many Swiss banks could be targeted and what the legal consequences could be.

Switzerland is currently seeking to add to its existing double taxation agreement with the United States the possibility that the United States can get access to client data based on the behavioral patterns of clients.

SDA reported that the commission said it was not opposed to the notion but asked the government to be more precise about when exactly Switzerland should deliver data to the United States, and said passive activity, for example a client opening a bank account, should not be a good enough reason to pass on details.

Swiss banks Credit Suisse, Julius Baer and Basler Kantonalbank, accused of helping Americans to dodge taxes, were summoned to the parliamentary commission hearing this week at which they were asked to explain their actions.