Exchange of Information
(1) The competent authorities of the Contracting States shall exchange the information that is necessary for the execution of this Convention or for the administration and/or implementation of domestic law regarding taxes of every kind and designation that are collected for the accounts of a Contracting State, one of its provinces or one of its geographic sub-divisions, to the extent that the taxation under this law does not contradict the Convention. The exchange of information is not restricted by Article 1 and 2.
(2) All information that a Contracting State has received according to paragraph (1) is to be kept just as confidential as the information obtained on the basis of the domestic law of this State and may only be made accessible to the persons or authorities (including courts and administrative authorities) who are charged with the assessment or collection, the enforcement or legal prosecution, making the decision on legal remedies with respect to the taxes named in paragraph (1) or with the oversight thereof. These persons or authorities may only use the information for these purposes. They may disclose the information in a public court proceeding or in a court ruling.
(3) Paragraphs (1) and (2) are not to be interpreted as if they obligated a Contracting State,
- (a) to carry out administrative measures that depart from the laws or administrative practices of this or the other Contracting State for the distribution of information;
- (b) to issue information that cannot be obtained according to the laws or in the usual administrative practices of this or the other Contracting State;
- (c) to issue information that would disclose a commercial, industrial, trade or professional secret or a business process or whose disclosure would be contrary to the public order (ordre public).
(4) If a Contracting State requests information according to this Article, the other Contracting State will use the means at its disposal to obtain the requested information even if this other State does not need this information for its own fiscal purposes. The obligation entailed in the previous sentence is subject to the restrictions under paragraph (3), but these restrictions are under no condition to be interpreted as if a Contracting State could refuse to disclose information solely because it had no domestic fiscal interest in this information.
(5) Paragraph (3) is under no condition to be interpreted as if a Contracting State could refuse to disclose information merely because the information is held by a bank, another financial institution, an agent, representative or trustee or because it makes reference to personal property.