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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: Switzerland Supplementary Phase 1 Review

This report for Switzerland has been published on 16 Mar 2015. 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. 
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations
     
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.      
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations
     
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. 
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations
     
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 some of its agreements.  Switzerland should ensure that it has access to bank information in respect of EOI requests made pursuant to all of its EOI agreements. 
The explanatory report could be interpreted as too broad as regards the exception to EOI contained in article 7(c) of the LAAF. It should be noted, however, that the explanatory report predates the enactment of article 7(c ) of the LAAF and is a tool of interpretation amongst others. The Swiss authorities also indicate this does not result in a systematic refusal to provide information, but that the application of this article is done on a case by case basis.  The Swiss authorities should ensure that article 7(c) of the LAAF is applied in line with the standard. 
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations
     
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.      
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations
     
Exchange of information mechanisms should provide for effective exchange of information. (ToR C.1)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is in place, but certain aspects of the legal implementation of the element need improvement.   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. 
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations
     
The jurisdictions' network of information exchange mechanisms should cover all relevant partners. (ToR C.2)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is in place.     Switzerland should continue to develop its EOI network to the standard with all relevant partners. 
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations
     
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.      
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations
     
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.      
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations
     
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.      
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations