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Protocol to the Tax Treaty between Albania and Switzerland Signed

On 4 September 2015, officials from Albania and Switzerland signed a protocol to the 1999 income and capital tax treaty between the two countries. The protocol is the first to amend the treaty and includes the following main changes:

  • Amends Article 2 (Taxes Covered) in regard to Albanian taxes;
  • Amends the definition of Switzerland and its competent authority in Article 3 (General Definitions) and definition of resident in Article 4 (Resident);
  • Adds a withholding tax exemption for interest paid to a pension scheme or government in Article 11 (Interest);
  • Adds an arbitration clause to Article 25 (Mutual Agreement Procedure);
  • Adds Article 26 (Exchange of Information) and amends the numbering of the following Articles accordingly;
  • Adds a new paragraph 4 to the protocol originally signed with the treaty that includes limitation on benefits provisions whereby the provisions of Articles 10 (Dividends), 11 (Interest), 12 (Royalties) and 21 (Other Income) will not apply to an item of income paid under a transaction, a part of a transaction, or series of transactions, or derived by an entity, if the main purpose of its conclusion or its establishment was to obtain the benefits of those Articles;
  • Adds a new paragraph 7 to the protocol originally signed with the treaty that includes an MFN clause regarding the withholding tax rate on royalties that applies if Albania signs an agreement with an EU/EEA Member State providing for a lower rate than provided in the Albania-Swiss treaty (5%)

The protocol will enter into force once the ratification instruments are exchanged, and will generally apply from 1 January of the year following its entry into force. For the purpose of the new arbitration clause in Article 25, the 3-year period after which a pending case may be submitted to arbitration will begin for pending cases on the date the protocol enters into force.

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