Switzerland: Automatic Exchange Of Information (AEOI): Publication Of Final AEOI-Guideline

Last Updated: 25 January 2017
Article by Daniel Bader, Ruth Bloch-Riemer and Daniel U. Lehmann

Most Read Contributor in Switzerland, August 2019

Yesterday, the Swiss Federal Tax Administration (SFTA) published the final version of the AEOI-Guideline in German as well as in French and Italian. Since our last Briefing published in November 2016, Switzerland signed joint declarations on the introduction of the AEOI with 16 new partner states.

Final version of the AEOI-Guideline

The final version of the AEOI-Guideline in German, French and Italian is available at: https://www.estv. admin.ch/estv/de/home/internationales-steuerrecht/fachinformationen/aia/publikationen/wegleitung.html

Compared with the second draft of the AEOI-Guideline in German which was published in November 2016, only a few minor amendments were made. The SFTA may amend the AEOI-Guideline further at any time, if required. Therefore, Swiss Financial Institutions should follow the developments very closely and check on a regular basis if amendments were made.

Since the entry into force of the AEOI-Act on 1 January 2017, Swiss entities may claim a declaratory decision from the SFTA regarding their qualification as Financial Institution for AEOI-purposes. It is recommendable to every Swiss entity which has not yet certainty with regard to its AEOI-status to claim such a decision as soon as possible.

Update regarding Switzerland's Partner States

Since the end of November 2016, Switzerland has signed joint declarations on the introduction of the AEOI with 16 new partner states (highlighted in bold in the table on page 3). As of today, Switzerland has 58 partner states (including all 28 EU member states). With 37 of them, Switzerland will start exchanging data in 2018, whereas with the remaining 21 states the data exchange will start in 2019. For further infor- mation, please refer to the table outlined on page 3.

As far as Switzerland's neighboring country Liechten- stein is concerned, there is currently no AEOI- agreement in place, although Liechtenstein will exchange data with the EU member states already in 2017. According to the latest news, Liechtenstein wants to enter into a tailor-made agreement with Switzerland instead of the normal AEOI-agreement, whereas Switzerland prefers to sign the normal AEOI-agreement with Liechtenstein. It remains to be seen what kind of AEOI-agreement, if any, both countries will enter into.

Voluntary Disclosure in Switzerland

As outlined in our Briefing in November 2016, persons with tax residency in Switzerland and undeclared movable property in one of Switzerland's Partner States (or future Partner States) have the possibility to file a voluntary disclosure with the competent Swiss cantonal tax authority. As a general rule, the exemption from the penal punishment available for first-time disclosing taxpayers will only be granted in cases where the tax authority has no knowledge of the undeclared assets. As the AEOI will start in 2017 in Switzerland and the SFTA will for the first time receive data in autumn 2018, the crucial legal ques- tions is, in which cases the cantonal tax authorities consider the undeclared assets as 'known'.

The practices of the tax administrations with regard to this question differ widely from canton to canton. According to recent verbal announcements by the Zurich tax authorities, the Zurich Cantonal Tax Administration will treat the tax evasion as known only when the data from foreign tax authorities is received via the SFTA by the Zurich Cantonal Tax Administration itself which will not be the case before summer 2018. Thus, provided the other conditions are met, the possibility to benefit from a nonpunishable voluntary disclosure will – at least for taxpayers in the Canton of Zurich – remain open until summer 2018.

It is possible that other cantons consider the unde- clared assets as 'known' already as of 1 January 2017 due to the coming into effect of the legal basis of the AEOI in Switzerland or at the time when the SFTA receives the data (in summer 2018). In this case, a voluntary disclosure might no longer be nonpunish- able with the consequence that a fine has to be paid in addition to the tax due for the past 10 years (including interest). However, if a taxpayer shows willingness to collaborate with the authorities, it may be expected that the fine could be at the lower end of the scale (ranging from 1/3 to three times of the amount of the evaded tax).

This shows that it depends significantly on the practice of the cantonal tax authority in charge, whether a voluntary disclosure will still count as a nonpunishable or not. Therefore it needs to be assessed on a case- by-case basis which actions to take in view of a regularization of undeclared assets. In order not to jeopardize the exemption from penal punishment, we recommend to submit the voluntary disclosure with the competent tax authority as soon as possible.

Our Support

We would be delighted to assist you should you have any questions with regard to the implementation of AEOI in Switzerland in general, the final AEOI- Guideline or also in the case when you are consider- ing a voluntary disclosure. Furthermore, we would be pleased to provide support to Financial Institutions concering their compliance with duties arising from the Swiss AEOI legislation or representing them in proceedings with the SFTA.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions