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The Exchange of Tax Information Portal is an initiative of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes. The Global Forum conducts peer reviews of its member jurisdictions' ability to co-operate with other tax administrations in accordance with the internationally agreed standard. The standard provides for exchange of information on request where it is foreseeably relevant to the administration and enforcement of the domestic tax laws of the requesting jurisdiction. Effective exchange of information requires that jurisdictions ensure information is available, that it can be obtained by the tax authorities and that there are mechanisms in place allowing for the exchange of that information. The Global Forum's peer review process examines both the legal and regulatory aspects of exchange (Phase 1 reviews) and the exchange of information in practice (Phase 2). The EOI Portal will track the development of these peer reviews, including changes that jurisdictions make in response to the Global Forum's recommendations.

Peer Review: Peer Review - Switzerland

This report for Switzerland has been published on 1 Jun 2011. You can buy this report, or browse it online below.

Skip directly to the Executive Summary. You may also want to view the tables of determinations and ratings.


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Determinations and Recommendations

Jurisdictions should ensure that ownership and identity information for all relevant entities and arrangements is available to their competent authorities. (ToR A.1)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is not in place.   Bearer shares may be issued by SAs and SCAs, and mechanisms to ensure that the owners of such shares can be identified, are not systematically in place for all bearer shares.  Switzerland should take necessary measures to ensure that appropriate mechanisms are in place to identify the owners of bearer shares in all instances. 
Companies incorporated outside of Switzerland but having their effective management in Switzerland which gives rise to a permanent establishment are not required to provide information identifying their owners as a part of registration requirements. Therefore, the availability of information that identifies any owners of such companies will generally depend on the law of the jurisdiction in which the company is incorporated and so may not be available in all cases.   In such cases, Switzerland should ensure that ownership and identity information is available.  
Jurisdictions should ensure that reliable accounting records are kept for all relevant entities and arrangements. (ToR A.2)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is in place.      
Banking information should be available for all account-holders. (ToR A.3)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is in place.   Some bearer savings books remain in existence although they may no longer be issued and must be cancelled upon physical presentation of the bearer savings book at the bank.  Switzerland should ensure that there are measures to identify the owners of any remaining bearer savings books. 
Competent authorities should have the power to obtain and provide information that is the subject of a request under an exchange of information arrangement from any person within their territorial jurisdiction who is in possession or control of such information (irrespective of any legal obligation on such person to maintain the secrecy of the information). (ToR B.1)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is in place, but certain aspects of the legal implementation of the element need improvement.   Switzerland does not have powers to access bank information in respect of requests made under agreements that entered into force prior to 1 October 2010, except in the cases of tax fraud when it is provided for under the specific agreement.  Switzerland should ensure that it has access to bank information in respect of EOI requests made pursuant to all of its EOI agreements (regardless of their form). 
Switzerland's access powers for the agreements which it has, and will, update in line with its commitment to the standard, are only applicable to requests made under double tax conventions.   Switzerland should ensure that its competent authority has the power to obtain all relevant information pursuant to requests under all exchange of information agreements (regardless of their form). 
The rights and safeguards (e.g. notification, appeal rights) that apply to persons in the requested jurisdiction should be compatible with effective exchange of information. (ToR B.2)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is in place, but certain aspects of the legal implementation of the element need improvement.   Under Swiss law, a person concerned by the request must be notified of the request and has the right to inspect the EOI file. The exceptions to this notification rule only permit notification to be delayed until after the information is accessed. The person concerned must still be notified before the information can be exchanged with the EOI partner.  Switzerland should ensure that there are appropriate exceptions to the right of notification and right to inspect the EOI file which are consistent with the standard. 
Exchange of information mechanisms should provide for effective exchange of information. (ToR C.1)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is not in place.   Some of the New Agreements establish identification requirements for the person concerned and the holder of information that are inconsistent with the standard for effective exchange. In addition, with respect to all of the New Agreements, Switzerland's interpretation of the identification requirements is inconsistent with the standard  Switzerland should ensure that the identification requirements in some of the New Agreements, as well as its interpretation of the identification requirements in all of these agreements, are in line with the standard for effective exchange, and all of those agreements should be brought into force quickly.  
EOI agreements that were negotiated prior to 13 March 2009 are not consistent with the standard.   Switzerland should ensure that each of its EOI agreements that were negotiated prior to 13 March 2009 allows for the exchange of information in line with the standard. 
The jurisdictions' network of information exchange mechanisms should cover all relevant partners. (ToR C.2)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is in place, but certain aspects of the legal implementation of the element need improvement.   Switzerland has acted promptly on its commitment to bring its network of EOI agreements, covering all relevant partners, to the standard. Notwithstanding this, none of these EOI agreements are currently fully in line with the standard.   Switzerland should continue to rapidly update and develop its network to ensure it has agreements (regardless of their form) for exchange of information to the standard with all relevant partners.  
The jurisdictions' mechanisms for exchange of information should have adequate provisions to ensure the confidentiality of information received. (ToR C.3)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is in place.      
The exchange of information mechanisms should respect the rights and safeguards of taxpayers and third parties. (ToR C.4)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is in place.      
The jurisdiction should provide information under its network of agreements in a timely manner. (ToR C.5)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The assessment team is not in a position to evaluate whether this element is in place, as it involves issues of practice that are dealt with in the Phase 2 review.