Switzerland ratifies the Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters

On 26 September 2016 Switzerland deposited the instrument of ratification of the multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters (amended by the Protocol of 2010) under which the country has taken commitments for exchange of tax information, assistance in recovery of tax claims, performing simultaneous tax examinations and service of documents. Thereby Switzerland confirmed its commitment towards greater tax transparency. The Convention will enter into force for Switzerland on 1 January 2017.

The information exchange under the Convention may be performed upon a specific request, automatically (based on separate rules) or spontaneously (without request).

Any information relevant for administration or enforcement of domestic tax laws of the participating states falls within the scope of exchange.

A requested state may not decline to supply information solely because the information is held by a bank, other financial institution, nominee or person acting in an agency or a fiduciary capacity. This means that the banking secrecy cannot be a sole (good enough) reason to rule out the possibility of international information exchange.

Earlier Switzerland had committed to implement the automatic exchange of financial account information based on the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement (MCAA) in accordance with the Common Reporting Standard (CRS) developed by the OECD pursuant to article 6 of the abovementioned Convention. Switzerland plans its first automatic exchange in September 2018.

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