As part of a new international initiative, the Swiss Federal Tax Administration has for the first time exchanged information on around 2 million financial accounts. The exchanged information aims to ease the cantonal tax authorities to verify whether taxpayers have correctly declared their financial accounts abroad in their tax returns.
The exchange took place within the framework of the global standard on the Automatic Exchange Information (AEOI), to which Switzerland is a signatory, and came into force in January 2017. Switzerland exchanges information with EU partners and nine other partner territories: Australia, Canada, South Korea, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Iceland, Japan, Jersey, and Norway. Cyprus and Romania as EU member states are currently excluded as partners in exchanging information since they do not yet meet the international requirements on confidentiality and data security.
As part of its first data exchange in the program, Switzerland handed over around 7,000 reporting financial institutions (banks, trusts, insurers, etc.) and sent information on around 2 million financial accounts to the partner states. The data shared includes identification details, account and financial information – including name, address, state of residence and tax identification number – as well as information concerning the reporting financial institution, account balance, and capital income. In return of the data shared, the Swiss authority gained access to data from "millions" of accounts, which were shared by its partners.
The AEOI will now take place on a yearly basis. In 2019, data from 2018 will be exchanged with around 80 partner states, provided these meet the requirements on confidentiality and data security.
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