Federal Council calls for enhanced due diligence requirements to prevent acceptance of untaxed assets

Bern, 05.06.2015 - In the future, banks and other financial intermediaries will have to comply with enhanced due diligence requirements when accepting assets in order to prevent the inflow of untaxed assets. Today, the Federal Council referred a corresponding dispatch on amending the Anti-Money Laundering Act to Parliament.

As part of the measures to achieve a tax-compliant financial centre, the new due diligence requirements should prevent the inflow of untaxed assets to Switzerland. They should be effective in relation to clients from countries where the future agreements on the Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information (MCAA) do not apply. This means that they will not be applicable to clients whose country of origin has an MCAA with Switzerland. This also includes US clients, as FATCA effectively has an MCAA. The due diligence requirements are not applicable to clients who are resident in Switzerland for tax purposes.

In the case of all other clients, financial intermediaries should use a risk-based assessment when accepting assets to determine whether or not the assets have been duly taxed. The details of the risk-based assessment will be established by the supervisory authorities and the recognised self-regulatory organisation. Where a financial intermediary has to assume based on an assessment of this nature that a client is offering untaxed assets, the business relationship must be rejected in the case of new clients. In the case of existing clients, an offer of untaxed assets raises the suspicion that the assets the client already has with the financial intermediary are also untaxed. In a case such as this, the financial intermediary also has to clarify the tax compliance of these assets, again using a risk-based assessment. If the clarification leads to the assumption that these are actually untaxed assets, then the client must provide the financial intermediary with proof of tax compliance within a reasonable period or regularise the situation. If the client does not do so within the allotted period of time, the financial intermediary must terminate the business relationship. The business relationship will not be terminated in cases where it is not possible for the client to provide proof of tax compliance or to regularise the tax situation without running the risk of unreasonable adverse effects.

Address for enquiries

Roland Meier, Media Spokesperson FDF
Tel. 058 462 60 86, roland.meier@gs-efd.admin.ch


The Federal Council

Secretariat-General FDF

State Secretariat for International Financial Matters

Federal Department of Finance