On 1 January 2017, the automatic exchange of financial account information based on the OECD Common Reporting Standard (“CRS”) entered into force in Switzerland. With the publication of the final CRS Ordinance (“AIA-Verordnung”) that complements the CRS Law (“AIA- Gesetz”) as well as an increasing number of proposed and ratified CRS exchange agreements, the Swiss Federal Council established the legislative framework for Swiss Financial Institutions, which must implement CRS.
In an article for the Expert Focus magazine (issue 2017|1-2), Deloitte specialists from the Financial Services Industry Tax team provide an overview of the Swiss CRS legislation with a special emphasis on the final CRS Ordinance that was released on 23 November 2016.
The Ordinance is a key component of the Swiss CRS legislation. It provides specifications where jurisdictions have some leeway when translating the CRS into local law. In this Expert Focus article, the authors assess where the final Ordinance deviates from the proposed version that was subject to public consultation. For example, the final CRS Ordinance no longer names the U.S. as a Participating Jurisdiction – an adjustment that the authors already addressed in a previous article on the draft Ordinance.
Furthermore, the list of Non-Reporting Financial Institutions has been expanded with the addition of new categories for certain Swiss associations (“Vereine”) and charitable foundations (“Stiftungen”). Similarly, additional Excluded Account types were defined that exempt those accounts from due diligence procedures and reporting obligations under CRS. The addition of e‑money accounts to the list of Excluded Accounts, for example, results in a significant relief for certain companies in the fintech industry, such as mobile payment providers.
In addition to the legislative basis formed by the CRS Law and the Ordinance, the Federal Tax Administration (“FTA”) published extensive CRS Guidance Notes (“AIA-Wegleitung”) with detailed instructions and practical examples to provide additional support for Swiss Financial Institutions when implementing CRS. Where appropriate, the authors added specifications from the draft Guidance Notes that were available at the time the article went to press. The final CRS Guidance Notes were published by the FTA on 18 January 2017 and will be addressed in more details by our specialists in a forthcoming Expert Focus article.
The article (in German) is available on the Expert Focus homepage (after free registration) or otherwise please feel to contact us for a pdf version to be sent to you by e-mail. In case of any questions, please feel free to contact our Deloitte specialists.