Switzerland: Automatic Exchange Of Information

Last Updated: 14 July 2017
Article by Ruth Bloch-Riemer
Most Read Contributor in Switzerland, August 2019

On January 1 2017, the Swiss domestic legislation on the Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) entered into force and the Swiss Federal Tax Administration (SFTA) published guidelines specifying the crucial aspects of the legislation for practical use. Under the AEOI, Swiss financial institutions (FI) will collect and exchange relevant financial information on 'reported persons' with Switzerland's partner states. By the same token, Switzerland will receive data collected on Swiss resident reported persons from Switzerland's partner states. The exchanged information will be used for domestic taxation purposes in the state of residence of the reported persons.

Since the enactment of the AEOI in January 2017, Switzerland has gained its first important experiences in the application of the AEOI legislation, reflecting the AEOI's multi-layered effects on FIs, reported persons (individuals) and service providers such as, for example, trustees.

Status as a financial institution (FI)

Due to the entry into force of the AEOI legislation in Switzerland, Swiss FIs have to register with the Swiss Federal Tax Administration (SFTA) by the end of 2017. The definition of an FI includes not only depositary and custodian institutions, but also specified insurance providers and investment entities. Investment entities include entities that predominantly provide commercially for their customers services in the fields of trading in money market instruments, foreign exchange, interest or indices instruments, tradable shares or commodities, or provide individual or collective asset management or any other form of holding or management of financial assets of third parties.

Swiss entities may claim a declaratory decision from the SFTA regarding their qualification as an FI for AEOI purposes. It is recommended that every Swiss entity which is uncertain as to its AEOI status obtains confirmation on its status as soon as possible. Once an entity is certain of its status as an FI, it is recommended to set up the appropriate internal processes to perform the compliance components that AEOI entails.

Update regarding Switzerland's partner states

To date, Switzerland has 78 partner states (including all 28 EU member states). For 37 of them (EU member states and important financial hubs such as, Australia, Canada and Japan as well as Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man), Switzerland has started to collect data in 2017 and will start exchanging data in 2018. For the remaining 41 states (including, for example, important South American hubs, South Africa, Israel and also the BVI, Cayman Islands and Monaco), provided that the parliamentary discussions are successful, the data collection is scheduled to start in 2018 with exchange of data beginning in 2019.

Due to the implementation of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) legislation in the US, Switzerland and the US have not agreed on the AEOI. Additionally, the US is not considered as a participating state for the purposes of the AEOI, meaning that structures with US nexus are not covered.

As far as Switzerland's neighbouring country, Liechtenstein, is concerned, it is now listed among the countries with which the AEOI should enter into force on January 1 2018. With this step Switzerland made clear that it is not interested in entering into a tailor-made agreement, but wants to quickly implement the global AEOI standard also with Liechtenstein. Therefore, the implementation of the AEOI with Liechtenstein seems to be only a matter of time – a first exchange of data in 2019 is likely.

Persons affected by the AEOI and its impact on voluntary disclosure in Switzerland

Formally, 'reported persons' include persons resident in a partner state or a participating state, except for listed companies, governmental legal entities, international organisations, central banks and financial institutions. One of the AEOI-affected groups of people are individuals or legal entities that are domiciled in one of Switzerland's partner states and have undeclared, movable property in Switzerland. Persons with tax residency in Switzerland and cross-border investments in one of Switzerland's partner states (for example, a bank account with a German bank) will also face legal consequences due to the introduction of the AEOI, as data with regard to such investments will be collected as of January 1 2017 and will automatically be transmitted to the SFTA as of 2018.

With the implementation of the AEOI in Switzerland, transparancy will generally be achieved on all levels. To best encounter the consequences of the AEOI, a voluntary disclosure covering undeclared assets should be filed with the competent tax authorities. The timing of voluntary disclosure submissions is crucial, in particular with a view to receiving an exemption from punishment, which will only be granted in cases where the tax authority has no knowledge of the undeclared assets. The tax administrations' practices as regards when undeclared assets are considered as 'known' differ widely from canton to canton. In order not to jeopardise exemption from penal punishment, taxpayers should submit the voluntary disclosure with the competent tax authority as soon as possible.

The specialists at Bär & Karrer remain at the entire disposal of financial institutions, potential reported persons and service providers in the assessment of their obligations under the AEOI legislation and the implementation of the necessary steps.

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