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«Switzerland can transmit to the French tax authorities 40,000 UBS account numbers»
"The information that will be communicated by the AFC will relate to the identity, the date of birth and the address of the account holder and / or with economic rights, as well as the balance of the counts on January 1st from the years 2010 to 2015 "(photo: UBS, in St. Gallen, Switzerland). DPA / Photononstop

tribune. On 26 July, the Federal Supreme Court, the supreme court of the Swiss Confederation, authorized the transmission to the French tax authorities of data relating to some 40,000 banknotes. account opened with the Swiss bank UBS, bank accounts likely to have French taxpayers as holders or beneficial owners.

In May 2016, the Directorate General of Public Finance (DGFIP) sent a letter to its counterpart, the Swiss Federal Tax Administration (AFC), requesting administrative assistance in the field of public finance. Tax issue regarding these 40,000 account numbers.

A fishing with information?

The specificity of this request resulted both from its unusual "collective" character and from the fact that the DGFIP did not know the identity of the taxpayers targeted (only the number of had been transmitted to him by the German tax authorities).

The UBS bank has always opposed this request for transmission on the grounds that it was in its view an information fishery ("Fishing expedition"), prohibited under the Franco-Swiss tax treaty. Moreover, the French tax authorities did not commit themselves to respect the principle of specialty, according to which the information transmitted could never be used in the context of the procedure. Open criminal against the bank in France.

But the AFC was of a contrary opinion and made, on February 9, 2018, decisions granting the administrative assistance to France in eight files (out of the 40 000 accounts mentioned above). © s).

The Swiss Federal Court then delivered its verdict: this request from France, despite its collective and massive character, does not constitute a fishing for information; there is no reason either to consider that France will not respect the principle of specialty; the AFC can therefore transmit to the DGFIP the required information.

Individual decision or written consent

The information that will be communicated by the AFC will cover the identity, the date of birth and the address of the account holder and / or beneficial owner, as well as the balance of the account at 1st January of the years 2010 to 2015.

The specificity of this request was the result of both its unusual "collective" character and the fact that the DGFIP did not know the identity of the targeted taxpayers.

But in order to transmit this data, the AFC must necessarily make an individual decision beforehand (which it has not yet done for the vast majority of these 40,000 accounts). or obtain the consent of the account holder.

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