Bern, 20.11.2019 – During its meeting on 20 November 2019, the Federal Council adopted the dispatch on amending the Federal Act on the International Automatic Exchange of Information in Tax Matters (AEOIA). The aim of the proposal is to implement the recommendations of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes (Global Forum).
Switzerland has been implementing the AEOI standard since 1 January 2017. The Global Forum examines domestic implementation by means of peer reviews. These are generally planned from 2020 for the AEOI. In order to ensure the correct implementation of the AEOI standard from the outset and to create a level playing field worldwide, the Global Forum has been examining its key elements since 2017. One of these elements involves checking the full adoption of the AEOI standard in domestic law.
The Global Forum reviewed the Swiss AEOI legal basis (AEOI Act and Ordinance) and issued recommendations. At the end of February 2019, the Federal Council submitted for consultation a proposal that takes those recommendations into consideration. The consultation procedure lasted until mid-June 2019.
Most of the consultation procedure participants approved the proposed amendments to the law. Among other things, the Federal Council proposed removing the exception for condominium owners associations. Furthermore, it intends to adapt the applicable due diligence obligations, show amounts in US dollars and introduce a document retention obligation for reporting Swiss financial institutions.
At ordinance level, the consultation participants expressly rejected the proposed removal of the exceptions for associations and foundations, as well as for their accounts. Since the handling of non-profit institutions under the AEOI is to be discussed again at international level, the Federal Council considers it premature to implement the Global Forum’s recommendations. It is thus refraining from removing the exceptions, thereby taking the concerns of the majority of respondents into account.
Parliament will probably examine the proposal for the first time in the 2020 spring session. It is not expected to come into force until the start of 2021 at the earliest.