Late last week the Swiss government signed joint declarations with a view to introducing automatic exchange of tax information (AEOI) with Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and Uruguay. Switzerland and these four jurisdictions will start collecting data in 2018 and proceed with the exchange from 2019 onwards.

And with regard to the US, it is now confirmed that they will be treated as non-participating jurisdiction.

AEOI has now been agreed with 14 jurisdictions (including the above). The others are Australia, Canada, the European Union, Guernsey, Iceland, Isle of Man, Japan, Jersey, Norway and South Korea, in respect of which data will be collected from 2017 and exchanged in 2018.

With the US there is no reciprocity. The US will be treated as "non-participating jurisdiction" by Switzerland. Yesterday, the Federal Tax Administration published a new draft of the AEOI Guidelines which no longer lists the US as participating jurisdiction (as the August 2016 draft still did).

By way of reminder, AEOI is based on the so-called Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement on the Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information (MCAA). The MCAA again is based on the international standard for the exchange of information developed by the OECD.

Information subject to automatic exchange will essentially include

  1. details of account holder or beneficial owner;
  2. account number;
  3. account balance;
  4. dividend and interest income;
  5. capital gains; and
  6. certain insurance related payments

Also, one needs to bear in mind the distinction between AEOI and information exchange upon request. The exchange upon request is based on double tax treaties (DTT) or tax information exchange agreements (TIEA). So far, Switzerland signed 54 DTT with an information exchange clause and 10 TIEA (including the one with Brazil).

Rubik Agreements to be terminated

Finally, it is intended that the Withholding Tax Agreements with the UK and with Austria (so-called "Rubik Agreements") will be terminated as at 1 January 2017. The Rubik Agreements had been introduced in 2013. They were essentially aimed at regularising bank assets held in Switzerland and safeguarding bank confidentiality in exchange for taxation at source.