Switzerland’s Federal Department of Finance today initiated a consultation on commencing automatic exchange of information (AEOI) in tax matters with 22 countries. In its explanatory statement, the government also announced that it will propose AEOI agreements with Hong Kong and Singapore, though these initiatives are not part of this consultation.
The AEOI agreements with the 22 countries would enter into force on 1 January 2018 so that data can be exchanged beginning 2019.
Cantons, territorial associations, and industry associations can submit comments and suggestions until 15 March 2017.
This series of countries includes:
- G20 member states of Argentina, Brazil, India, Mexico, South Africa;
- OECD member states of Chile, Israel, New Zealand;
- European states that have a relationship with EU, namely, Andorra, Faroe Islands, Greenland, Monaco, San Marino; and
- Countries or territories with important sectorial or regional financial centres, namely Barbados, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Mauritius, Seychelles, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and Uruguay.
The AEOI agreements will be grounded on the international standard for the exchange of information developed by the OECD, included in the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement on the Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information.
The 22 countries’ adherence to the principle of speciality and the safeguarding of confidentiality of data delivered were important criteria in the selection of these countries as AEOI partners, the Swiss government said.
With the introduction of AEOI with these countries, Switzerland emphasizes its international commitment to implementing the AEOI standard by extending its network of AEOI partner states.
The agreements will contribute to strengthening the competitiveness, the credibility, and integrity of Switzerland’s financial centre, the government said.
The Swiss government has already announced that it will introduce the AEOI in 2017 with all of the EU states, Gibraltar, and Australia. The same applies to Iceland, Norway, Japan, Canada, South Korea, and the British crown dependencies of Jersey, Guernsey, and the Isle of Man. The entry into force of the AEOI with these countries and territories is conditional on approval by parliament in the 2016 winter session.