Rush of Tax Treaties in December

December 17, 2009 International Tax CooperationTaxation in CanadaTaxation in ChinaTaxation in EUTaxation in FranceTaxation in GreeceTaxation in IrelandTaxation in NetherlandsTaxation in New ZealandTaxation in SingaporeTaxation in SwitzerlandTaxation in UK

UK/Malaysia Double Taxation Agreement protocol signingIncreasing fiscal transparency was an important issue in the economic and political spectrum of the 2009 year. With only a few weeks remaining in 2009, December happened to be one of the most active month of the passing year, with Governments around the globe completing efforts made in negotiations of Double Taxation Agreements (DTA) and Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEA).

In an unprecedented step, Switzerland wishes to cease ratification of its DTA with France in protest at the French authorities’ handling of account data stolen from HSBC in Geneva. On December 9th, Eric Woerth, French Budget Minister, confirmed that the French Government had paid €500 million to a former HSBC-Switzerland employee who provided them with details on 130,000 accounts. Hans-Rudolf Merz, Swiss Finance Minister, requested on December 16th for ratification of the tax accord to be ceased, pending an investigation into the data purchase.

The Taiwan Ministry of Finance released a statement on December 11th, saying that it hopes to sign a DTA with China during their next round of negotiations.

The second protocol amending the DTA between China and Singapore came into effect on December 11th. The provisions within the DTA amendment will come into effect on January 1st, 2010.

Malaysia and Ireland signed an amendment protocol of their DTA on December 16th. Turkey and the Netherlands initiated revision negotiations for their current DTA on December 15th. The UK and Montserrat signed a DTA on December 9th. New Zealand and Belgium signed a second protocol amending the tax agreement standing between the countries. On December 13th, Switzerland and Bangladesh ratified a DTA between two countries. Greece ratified DTAs with Canada, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Serbia, Morocco and Azerbaijan in December. On November 30th the tax accord between Japan and Kazakhstan was ratified.

Further, in December, 45 TIEAs were signed across the world, with a total of 178 agreements reached in 2009.

Photo by HM Treasury