Federal Council launches consultation on implementation of Global Forum's recommendations

Bern, 17.01.2018 - On 17 January 2018, the Federal Council launched the consultation on the recommendations of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes (Global Forum). The bill proposes converting bearer shares into registered shares as well as a system of sanctions for breaches of duty.

On 26 July 2016, the Global Forum published the phase 2 peer review report on Switzerland. The report contains various recommendations. They concern the transparency of legal entities and the exchange of information. The draft consultation paper aims to take the necessary measures to implement the recommendations of the Global Forum.

The bill proposes converting bearer shares into registered shares as well as a system of sanctions to be applied should shareholders not comply with their duty to report beneficial owners or if companies breach their obligation to keep a register of shareholders and beneficial owners. The right of authorities and financial intermediaries to examine the registers, as long as this is necessary for them to perform their statutory tasks, should also be ensured. The bill also contains provisions on the confidentiality of administrative assistance requests and the capacity to be a party and a party’s capacity to take legal action, information on which can be requested during administrative assistance proceedings.

The consultation will last until 24 April 2018. The dispatch which will be based on the results of the consultation procedure will also regulate the handling of stolen data. The proposed text is due to be discussed by Parliament in winter 2018. The next peer review of Switzerland by the Global Forum will start in the second half of 2018.

Furthermore, the Federal Council has decided not to pursue the project of a Federal Act on the Unilateral Application of the OECD Standard on the Exchange of Information (EoISA) which was submitted for consultation on 22 October 2014. Standard-compliant double taxation agreements and tax information exchange agreements have since been concluded with a large number of other countries. In addition, the Administrative Assistance Convention, which has been applicable since 1 January 2018, has increased the number of partner countries with which Switzerland can exchange information upon request in a standard-compliant manner. This has rendered the unilateral route sought by the EoISA redundant. The report on the results of the EoISA consultation procedure will be published.

Address for enquiries

Anne Césard, Communications, State Secretariat for International Financial Matters SIF
Tel. +41 58 462 62 91, anne.cesard@sif.admin.ch


The Federal Council

Federal Department of Finance