March 21, 2016 / 8:05 PM / 4 years ago

Swiss-Dutch taxation pact not applicable in UBS case, says Swiss court

A branch of Swiss bank UBS is seen in the mountain resort of St. Moritz, Switzerland March 15, 2016. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

ZURICH (Reuters) - Switzerland is barred from helping the Netherlands in a tax case that centres on a Dutch client of UBS (UBSG.S) after a Swiss court ruled that requested details were too broad to be covered by the information-sharing agreement between the countries.

The Swiss Federal Administrative Court sided with a Dutch citizen fighting a November order by the Swiss Federal Tax Administration to provide the Netherlands with assistance as it sought the identities of Dutch UBS account holders, among other details.

A taxation pact between the countries does not extend to “group requests that do not include names of individuals”, the Swiss court wrote in a statement after publishing the ruling on Monday.

The ruling stated: “The order by the Swiss Federal Tax Administration is lifted. There won’t be any official help given.”

Last year the Netherlands, where tax authorities have been stung by criticism over their track record on tax avoidance, acknowledged that it was making requests for banking information from Switzerland without concrete information on whether account holders had paid their taxes or not.

The Netherlands had issued a broad request to Swiss tax authorities about individuals who had accounts at UBS between Feb. 1, 2013, and Dec. 31, 2014, seeking information including names, addresses, birth dates and account balances.

The Swiss Federal Tax Administration had sided with the Netherlands and issued an order in November to provide official assistance, prompting the Dutch customer of UBS to lodge an appeal.

In siding with the UBS account holder, the Swiss court ordered the tax authority to pay 6,000 Swiss francs (4,305 pounds) in compensation and returned 4,000 francs the appellant had submitted in advance for court costs.

Monday’s ruling can still be appealed in Switzerland’s highest federal court.

Reporting by John Miller; Editing by David Goodman

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