Since 2005, Switzerland has already transferred more than €3 billion to the Member States under the savings tax agreement. In 2017, this agreement was replaced by the agreement on the automatic exchange of information in tax matters, concluded in 2015. The latter concerns not only interest, but also dividends and other capital income and concerns not only persons with bank accounts, but also persons who control foundations and trusts. The OECD`s new global standard is being implemented. The AIA Agreement is reciprocal, i.e. EU Member States have the same obligations towards Switzerland as Switzerland does towards EU Member States. In September 2018, Switzerland automatically exchanged account data with EU Member States for the first time. The agreement is an important step in ongoing efforts to combat tax fraud and tax evasion. It values a 2004 agreement that ensured that Switzerland applies measures equivalent to those of a European directive on the taxation of savings income. On 27 May 2015, the European Union and Switzerland signed an agreement on the automatic exchange of financial account information, which aims to improve international tax compliance. The first group of countries (early adopters) will start exchanging data from 2017. Switzerland, which will start in 2018, is part of the second group. As regards the implementation of the AIA, there are in principle two models: either national bilateral agreements are concluded to define their implementation, or the Multilateral Agreement on Supervisory Authorities (MCAA) is applied.
This is based on the Convention on Mutual Assistance in Tax Matters, signed by the Council of Europe and the OECD. The MCAA must ensure that its signatories implement the AIA bilaterally (cf. There are provisions to limit the possibility for taxpayers not to be reported to the tax authorities by relocating assets or investing in products that do not fall within the scope of the Agreement. The information to be exchanged relates not only to income, such as interest and dividends, but also to account balances and proceeds from the sale of financial assets. The agreement ensures that Switzerland applies enhanced measures equivalent to the EU directive updated in March 2014. It also corresponds to the automatic exchange of financial account information, promoted by a 2014 OECD global standard. Swiss nationals living in the United States are not subject to the AIA, but to the FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act) agreement between Switzerland and the United States. This agreement provides that Swiss financial institutions must communicate account information directly to the US tax authorities with the agreement of the client concerned.
Last year, the Swiss State Secretariat for International Financial Matters (SIF) negotiated with the United States a new FATCA agreement on the exchange of mutual data. “Today`s agreement shows that EU Member States and Switzerland are not only politically committed to fair competition in tax matters. We also share the goal of improving international tax compliance based on reciprocal automatic exchange of information on the accounts of financial institutions,” said Mr. Reirs. In May 2015, Switzerland and the EU signed an agreement establishing the AIA. This applies to all 28 EU Member States and replaces the agreement with the EU on the taxation of savings, applied since 2005. This corresponds to model 1 (see graph). Parliament approved this agreement. As with the aforementioned AIA agreements, Switzerland and the EU intend to start collecting bank data from 2017 and exchange information from 2018.
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