On January 17, 2018 the Swiss Federal Council launched a consultation on the implementation of the recommendations of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes (The Forum). The consultation will last until April 24, 2018.
Furthermore, the Swiss Federal Council has decided not to pursue the project of a Federal Act on the Unilateral Application of the OECD Standard on the Exchange of Information which was submitted for consultation on October 22, 2014.
On July 26, 2016, the Global Forum published the phase 2 peer review report on Switzerland. The report contains various recommendations. They concern the transparency of legal entities and the exchange of information. The draft consultation paper aims to take the necessary measures to implement the recommendations of the Global Forum.
The bill proposes converting bearer shares into registered shares as well as a system of sanctions to be applied should shareholders not comply with their duty to report beneficial owners or if companies breach their obligation to keep a register of shareholders and beneficial owners. The right of authorities and financial intermediaries to examine the registers, as long as this is necessary for them to perform their statutory tasks, should also be ensured. The bill also contains provisions on the confidentiality of administrative assistance requests and the capacity to be a party and a party’s capacity to take legal action, information on which can be requested during administrative assistance proceedings.
The dispatch which will be based on the results of the consultation procedure will also regulate the handling of stolen data. According to the Swiss Government the proposed text is due to be discussed by Parliament in winter 2018. The next peer review of Switzerland by the Global Forum will start in the second half of 2018.
Furthermore, the Federal Council has decided not to pursue the project of a Federal Act on the Unilateral Application of the OECD Standard on the Exchange of Information which was submitted for consultation on October 22, 2014. Standard-compliant double taxation agreements and tax information exchange agreements have since been concluded with a large number of other countries. In addition, the Administrative Assistance Convention, which has been applicable since January 1, 2018, has increased the number of partner countries with which Switzerland can exchange information upon request in a standard-compliant manner. According to the Swiss Federal Council this has rendered the unilateral route sought by the the OECD Standard on the Exchange of Information redundant. The Swiss Government furthermore announced that the report on the results of the OECD Standard on the Exchange of Information consultation procedure will be published.
In relation to this consultation the following documents were published on the website of the Swiss Federal Department of Finance (click on the language to be directly forwarded to the document of your choice as published on the website of the Swiss Ministry of Finance, which will open in a new window):
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