Exchange of Information Upon Request
(1) The competent authority of the Requested Party shall provide upon request information for the purposes referred to in Article 1. Such information shall be exchanged without regard to whether the conduct being investigated would constitute a crime under the laws of the Requested Party if such conduct occurred in the Requested Party.
(2) If the information in the possession of the competent authority of the Requested Party is not sufficient to enable it to comply with the request for information, that Party shall use all relevant information gathering measures to provide the Applicant Party with the information requested, notwithstanding that the Requested Party may not need such information for its own tax purposes.
(3) If specifically requested by the competent authority of an Applicant Party, the competent authority of the Requested Party shall provide information under this Article, to the extent allowable under its domestic laws, in the form of depositions of witnesses and authenticated copies of original records.
(4) Each Contracting Party shall ensure that its competent authorities for the purposes specified in Article 1 of the Agreement, have the authority to obtain and provide upon request:
- (a) information held by banks, other financial institutions, and any person acting in an agency or fiduciary capacity including nominees and trustees;
- (b) information regarding the ownership of companies, partnerships, trusts, foundations, "Anstalten" and other persons, including, within the constraints of Article 2, ownership information on all such persons in an ownership chain; in the case of trusts, information on settlors, trustees and beneficiaries;
and in the case of foundations, information on founders, members of the foundation council and beneficiaries. Further, this Agreement does not create an obligation on the Contracting Parties to obtain or provide ownership information with respect to publicly traded companies or public collective investment funds or schemes unless such information can be obtained without giving rise to disproportionate difficulties.
(5) The competent authority of the Applicant Party shall provide the following information to the competent authority of the Requested Party when making a request for information under the Agreement to demonstrate the foreseeable relevance of the information to the request:
- (a) the identity of the person under examination or investigation;
- (b) a statement of the information sought including its nature and the form in which the Applicant Party wishes to receive the information from the Requested Party;
- (c) the tax purpose for which the information is sought;
- (d) grounds for believing that the information requested is held in the Requested Party or is in the possession or control of a person within the jurisdiction of the Requested Party;
- (e) to the extent known, the name and address of any person believed to be in possession of the requested information;
- (f) a statement that the request is in conformity with the law and administrative practices of the Applicant Party, that if the requested information was within the jurisdiction of the Applicant Party then the competent authority of the Applicant Party would be able to obtain the information under the laws of the Applicant Party or in the normal course of administrative practice and that it is in conformity with this Agreement;
- (g) a statement that the Applicant Party has pursued all means available in its own territory to obtain the information, except those that would give rise to disproportionate difficulties.
The foreseeable relevance of the requested information will be demonstrated if the request of the Applicant Party fulfils the above mentioned conditions.
(6) The competent authority of the Requested Party shall forward the requested information as promptly as possible to the Applicant Party. To ensure a prompt response, the competent authority of the Requested Party shall:
- (a) confirm receipt of a request in writing to the competent authority of the Applicant Party and shall notify the competent authority of the Applicant Party of deficiencies in the request, if any, within 60 days of the receipt of the request; and
- (b) if the competent authority of the Requested Party has been unable to obtain and provide the information within 90 days of receipt of the request, including if it encounters obstacles in furnishing the information or it refuses to furnish the information, it shall immediately inform the Applicant Party, explaining the reason for its inability, the nature of the obstacles or the reasons for its refusal.
In the event that the Requested Party has not provided the information within 6 months of the receipt of the request, it shall inform the Applicant Party of the progress made in obtaining the requested information and provide the Applicant Party with its best estimate within what period of time the request can be complied with. If the Requested Party is unable to comply with the request it will so inform the Applicant Party, while providing the reasons for its inability. The Applicant Party shall subsequently decide whether or not to rescind its request. If it decides not to rescind its request the Parties shall informally and directly, through Mutual Agreement or otherwise, discuss the possibilities to achieve the purpose of the request and consult with each other the manner in which to achieve that objective. The time restrictions mentioned in this Article do not in any way impact on the validity and legality of information exchanged under this Agreement.
(7) The competent authorities of the Contracting Parties may by mutual agreement settle the mode in which requests for information shall be submitted to the Requested Party.