Exchange of Information
(1) The competent authorities of the Contracting States shall exchange such information which is likely to be relevant for the purpose of applying the provisions of this Convention or for the administration or application of domestic law relating to taxes of every kind and description levied on behalf of a Contracting State, one of its Lander or of one of its political subdivisions or of their local authorities to the extent that the taxation provided for therein is not contrary to the Convention. The exchange of information is not restricted by Articles 1 and 2.
(2) Information received under paragraph (1) by a Contracting State shall be kept confidential in the same manner as information obtained under the domestic law of that State and shall be disclosed only to persons or authorities (including tribunals and administrative bodies) concerned with the assessment or collection of such taxes, the enforcement or prosecution in respect of these taxes, the decisions on appeals relating to the taxes referred to in paragraph (1), or the review of the foregoing. These persons or authorities shall use this information only for these purposes. They may reveal this information at public court hearings or in court judgments.
(3) The provisions of paragraphs (1) and (2) shall under no circumstances be interpreted as imposing on a Contracting State the obligation:
- (a) to take administrative measures at variance with the laws and administrative practice of that or of the other Contracting State in order to communicate information;
- (b) to supply information which cannot be obtained under the laws or in the normal course of administration of that or of the other Contracting State;
- (c) to provide information that would disclose any trade, business, industrial, commercial or professional secret or trade process or information the disclosure of which would be contrary to public policy. Information supplied by a Contracting State to the other Contracting State shall also not be used in the other Contracting State if the use of such data is contrary to the public policy of the State which communicated them. For the Federal Republic of Germany, preventing the death penalty from being imposed and enforced is part of public policy. If information is reported during public court hearings or judgments, Contracting States shall ensure that this information is not used in court hearings where the death penalty may be imposed and executed.
(4) If information is requested by a Contracting State in accordance with this Article, the other Contracting State shall use the powers available to it to obtain the requested information even if it does not need it for its own tax purposes. The obligation contained in the preceding sentence is subject to the limitations provided for in paragraph (3), but in no case may such limitations be interpreted as allowing a Contracting State to refuse to disclose information solely because it does not have any interest for it in the national framework.
(5) In no case may the provisions of paragraph (3) be interpreted as allowing a Contracting State to refuse to disclose information solely because it is held by a bank, other financial institution, an agent or a person acting as an agent or trustee or because this information relates to the ownership rights of a person.