Liechtenstein Adopts Tax Assistance Law


It has recently emerged that the Liechtenstein government has adopted eleven tax information exchange agreements conforming to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) standard, along with the corresponding draft laws designed to support their implementation. The government has adopted bilateral agreements with countries including Germany, Great Britain, France, the Netherlands, and Ireland.

In a statement, Liechtenstein’s Prime Minister Klaus Tschütscher announced that the government’s latest decision has served to create, at national level, the necessary legal basis with which to implement the international OECD standards. Swift implementation of these agreements will create a sustainable environment for the country’s financial centre and provide legal certainty for both customers and agreement partners, he added.

According to the government, within the framework of the signed agreements, the adopted, OECD compliant Tax Assistance Act provides for information exchange on the basis of specific requests, in individual cases. The government points out, however, that cooperation in tax matters will only take place provided that precise information regarding the identify of the taxpayer is submitted, together with the facts of the case, thus ruling out an automatic exchange of information (so-called “fishing expeditions”) and assistance based on information which has been illegally obtained.

In order to implement the agreement with Great Britain concluded on August 11, 2009, a special law has been adopted. The agreement with the United Kingdom provides for the creation of a special disclosure facility – the Liechtenstein Disclosure Facility, via the British tax authority, HM Revenue and Customs. Liechtenstein has ensured, through its Assistance and Compliance Program, that taxpayers in the UK, with accounts held in the Liechtenstein financial centre, fulfil their tax obligations at home. The adopted law sets the rules for implementing the compliance program.

Liechtenstein’s parliament is due to negotiate and adopt the draft law before the summer break in 2010.