The ordinance contains the Federal Council's implementing provisions for the Federal Act on the International Automatic Exchange of Information in Tax Matters (AEOI Act).
The ordinance mentions in particular other non-reporting financial institutions and exempt accounts, and regulates details with regard to the reporting and due diligence requirements for reporting Swiss financial institutions. Aside from the implementing provisions for the AEOI Act, the ordinance contains other provisions that are required to implement the automatic exchange of information. They also include implementing provisions on the tasks of the Federal Tax Administration (FTA), on the information system and in the Annex the applicable alternative provisions of the OECD commentary on the Common Standard on Reporting and Due Diligence for Financial Account Information.
On 15 July 2014, the OECD Council adopted the new global standard for the international automatic exchange of information in tax matters (AEOI standard). It provides that certain financial institutions, collective investment vehicles and insurance companies collect financial information on their clients, so long as they are resident abroad for tax purposes. This information covers all types of investment income and account balances. As a rule, this information is automatically transmitted once a year to the tax authority, which transmits the data for the client to the respective tax authority abroad. This transparency seeks to prevent tax bases from being hidden from the tax authorities abroad.
With regard to the introduction of the AEOI standard, the Federal Assembly adopted the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters (administrative assistance convention) and the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement (MCAA), together with the AEOI Act, on 18 December 2015. The legal foundations for the AEOI were thus established. The AEOI must be activated bilaterally so that it can be introduced with a partner state. To date, Switzerland has signed an agreement on the introduction of the AEOI with the EU, as well as joint declarations on the basis of the MCAA with a number of other countries and territories.
To date, almost 100 countries and territories have declared their intention to the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes (Global Forum) to implement the AEOI standard. The AEOI should be introduced in 2017 so that the first exchange of data with selected partner states can take place from 2018.