Switzerland consults on introducing automatic exchange of tax information

In a move that confirms the gradual end to its long practice of banking secrecy, the Swiss government stated last week that it would increase the number of countries it cooperates with in order to achieve complete fiscal transparency.

The government released a statement that it wanted to extend the Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) on bank accounts to 21 more countries. Consultations on the move will be held through mid-March and it is expected the accords will enter into force by 1st January 2018, with information exchange to begin the year after.

Stating that the proposal was met with widespread approval, the Swiss government said in a release: “The introduction of the AEOI with these countries confirms Switzerland’s international commitment to the AEOI standard. This will contribute to strengthening the competitiveness, the credibility and integrity of Switzerland’s financial centre.”

Switzerland has been working to phase out its banking secrecy laws, which have made the country a magnet for wealthy foreigners looking to hide undeclared assets. Under the new system, all banks must submit client information to national tax authorities every year. This information includes account holdings, dividend interest earnings and revenues from the sale of shares and certain types of insurance contracts.

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