Economic Areas

European Economic Area

General conditions for payment services (GCPS)

The new general conditions for payment services of the European Union have been in force since 1 November 2009. Among other things, these conditions ensure that cross-border payments are executed as simply, efficiently and securely as payments within an EU member state or within the European Economic Area.

The GCPS enhance client benefits in regard to payment services. They were implemented in Liechtenstein under the payment services law. The provisions have a particular impact on the contractual relationship between the client and the bank in relation to the following points: stipulation of important aspects in connection with the issuing of payment orders, establishment of clear rules for the execution of payment orders, and specification of maximum execution periods for payment transactions.

Within the scope of the payment services conditions, an extrajudicial board of arbitration was set up to settle disputes between clients and banks or securities companies, asset management companies or other such institutions.

UCITS IV directive

The EEA member states must implement the UCITS IV directive (Undertakings for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities) by March 2011. This directive provides for simplifications in fund distribution in other member states as well as in respect of fund mergers and the pooling of fund assets. In addition, an EU passport is to be introduced for management companies.

Uniform economic area with Switzerland

Value added tax law

In 1994, Liechtenstein signed an agreement with Switzerland regarding value added tax. On the basis of this agreement, Liechtenstein changed various provisions of the value added tax law from 1 January 2010. Around fifty individual measures should contribute to relieving the administrative burden for companies. From 1 January 2011, the value added tax rate is to be increased; however, in international comparison the tax rate is still low.