France and Switzerland edge closer to inheritance tax deal

French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici has announced that the new inheritance tax agreement concluded with Switzerland is due to be signed in May.

A new agreement would replace the existing treaty between the two countries, dating from 1953, which was denounced by France last year.

Moscovici explained that he has now tasked the French tax authorities with removing any remaining reservations, and has therefore invited Swiss Finance Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf to Paris next month for a signing ceremony.

The new convention stipulates that the succession and inheritance tax law to be applied is that of the beneficiary’s country of residence and not the deceased's, as is currently the case. The revised accord is to apply from January 1, 2014, following approval by the parliaments of both countries.

The original text had to be revised as the French Government insisted that the provisions no longer corresponded to the country’s agreement policy.

France called for the treaty to be renegotiated in June last year. An initial revision, proposed by France, provoked fierce criticism from Switzerland. The Swiss argued that the text brought advantage only to France and none to Switzerland. A new text was therefore negotiated to resolve the points of contention.