With regard to the spontaneous exchange of information in general, the revised ordinance makes provision for organisational measures that will enable close cooperation between the Confederation and the cantons, as well as uniform application throughout Switzerland. It also contains provisions on the procedure, deadline requirements and on the information that is to be disclosed to foreign tax authorities.
For the specific case of the exchange of information on advance tax rulings, the ordinance defines the categories of rulings that are concerned. These provisions are compatible with the OECD and G20 project to combat base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS project). The results of this project were published in October 2015. The spontaneous exchange of information on advance tax rulings is an international standard that all G20 and OECD member states are politically committed to.
The new provisions of the ordinance are based on the OECD/Council of Europe Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters (the Convention) and the revised Tax Administrative Assistance Act (TAAA), which governs the implementation of the Convention. The Convention and the revised TAAA were adopted by Parliament on 18 December 2015, and their entry into force is scheduled for 1 January 2017.
The spontaneous exchange of information will be limited to the states that have signed the Convention. Based on the current timetable, the revised ordinance will come into force on 1 January 2017. According to that planning, Switzerland would, in accordance with the existing legal basis, start spontaneously exchanging information from 1 January 2018 onwards and for tax periods starting from then. In order to limit the administrative burden as much as possible, advance tax rulings issued before 1 January 2010 are excluded from the spontaneous exchange of information, in keeping with the OECD recommendations.