(May 27, 2015)
On May 27, 2015 the European Commission issued a press release announcing that on the same day the EU andSwitzerland signed an agreement, under which both sides will automatically exchange information on the financial accounts of each other's residents from 2018. The agreement was signed by Commissioner Pierre Moscovici and Janis Reirs, Latvian Minister of Finance on behalf of the Latvian Presidency of the Council for the EU, and by the Swiss State Secretary for International Financial Matters, Jacques de Watteville.
Under the new EU-Swiss agreement, Member States will receive, on an annual basis, the names, addresses, tax identification numbers and dates of birth of their residents with accounts in Switzerland, as well as other financial and account balance information. This new transparency should not only improve Member States' ability to track down and tackle tax evaders, but it should also act as a deterrent against hiding income and assets abroad to evade taxes.
According to the press release issued, the new EU-Swiss agreement is fully in line with the strengthened transparency requirements that Member States agreed amongst themselves last year. The press release furthermore states that it is also consistent with the new OECD/G20 global standard for the automatic exchange of information.
The press release also states that the Commission is currently concluding negotiations for similar agreements with Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco and San Marino, which according to the press release are expected to be signed before the end of the year.
Update May 27, 2015 20.30:
The agreement between Switzerland and the EU should come into force on January 1, 2017 and the first sets of data should be exchanged from 2018, provided the approval process is completed on time in Switzerland and the EU. In formal terms, the agreement signed this morning is a protocol of amendment to replace the taxation of savings agreement between Switzerland and the EU that has been in force since 2005, but it includes the existing withholding tax exemption for cross-border payments of dividends, interest and royalties between related entities.
Click here to be forwarded to the text of the “AMENDING PROTOCOL TO THE AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE SWISS CONFEDERATION AND THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITY PROVIDING FOR MEASURES EQUIVALENT TO THOSE LAID DOWN IN COUNCIL DIRECTIVE 2003/48/EC ON TAXATION OF SAVINGS INCOME IN THE FORM OF INTEREST PAYMENTS” as made available on the website of the Swiss Federal Department of Finance.
Within the framework of the consultation initiated by the Swiss Federal Council on May 27, 2015, interested parties and the cantons have until September 17, 2015 to comment on the Agreement with the EU. Thereafter, the Swiss Federal Council will submit the agreement, together with a dispatch, to Parliament for approval. More information regarding the procedure is available on the website of the Swiss Federal Department of Finance.
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