Switzerland was rated in the second round as largely compliant by the Global Forum

In the report published on 6 April 2020, the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes (Global Forum) awarded Switzerland also in the second round of the Peer Review on the Exchange of Information on request for tax purposes with the rating «largely compliant». The Global Forum noted significant improvements in practice, in particular with regards to bearer shares and the efficiency of information exchange. However, it made recommendations on some points.

The Global Forum uses so called peer reviews to assess the application of the international standard on the exchange of information upon request (administrative assistance) in various states. In the first round of peer review in 2016, Switzerland was already rated as largely compliant. The Federal Act Implementing the Recommendations of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes, which entered into force on 1 November 2019, takes into account a number of recommendations from the first round of peer review (for example, that bearer shares can now be issued only by listed companies or as intermediated securities).

In 2016, the Global Forum began the second round of peer review for its members and has published 69 reports to date: Of these, 14 states have been rated as «compliant», 46 states as «largely compliant», 8 states as «partially compliant» and one state has been rated as «non-compliant».

Switzerland with its around 100'000 requests from foreign tax authorities between 2015 and 2018 is an important international partner in in terms of exchange of information upon request. In order to be able to handle the growing number of requests, Switzerland has increased its staff resources and optimized its procedures.

For Switzerland, the second round of peer review began at the end of 2018, with stricter evaluation criteria, such as the quality of administrative assistance requests, group requests and the identification of beneficial owners. The Global Forum sees a need for improvement mainly in the availability of information on beneficial owners, confidentiality requirements and the rights of individuals and legal entities affected by a request for administrative assistance (notification and right of appeal).

April 2020 | Authors: Dr. Samuel Bussmann, Cagla Arslan

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