Federal Council adopts dispatch on automatic exchange of information in tax matters with Australia

Bern, 18.11.2015 - Today, the Federal Council adopted the dispatch on the introduction of the automatic exchange of information (AEOI) in tax matters with Australia and submitted it to Parliament for approval. The federal decree on the introduction of the AEOI with Australia was the subject of a consultation procedure from 29 April to 19 August 2015. The majority of the participants welcome the proposal.

The agreement between Switzerland and Australia should come into force on 1 January 2017, and the first sets of data should be exchanged from 2018, provided the approval process is completed on time in Switzerland and in Australia. Switzerland and Australia had signed a corresponding joint declaration on 3 March 2015.

From a legal viewpoint, the two countries will exchange information automatically based on the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement (MCAA). This proposal is currently being discussed by Parliament.

Both parties consider the confidentiality rules applicable in the other jurisdiction with regard to tax to be satisfactory. Australia has sufficient legislation particularly in relation to data protection which ensures data protection concerning the processing of the data of the persons concerned and gives them key rights. Moreover, Australia has established a regulatory procedure for its taxpayers which allows them to regularise their tax situation on favourable terms. Finally, Australia has also declared its willingness to hold talks on possible improvements concerning market access for Swiss financial service providers.

The proposal will now be submitted to Parliament for approval.

On 8 October 2014, the Federal Council decided to adopt the negotiation mandates for the introduction of the new global standard for the AEOI with partner states after the competent parliamentary committees and the cantons had been consulted on them. Negotiations with the partner states were started thereafter. Finally, the Federal Council signed the MCAA on 19 November 2014. The signing of the MCAA was without prejudice to the question regarding the countries with which the automatic exchange of information is to be implemented, given that the bilateral activation of the AEOI with certain states will be submitted to the Federal Assembly separately for approval, as occurred in this case with Australia.


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