Automatic exchange of information in tax matters between Switzerland and Canada
On 4 February 2016, the honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Canadian minister of national revenue, and Swiss ambassador Beat Nobs signed a joint declaration on introducing the reciprocal and automatic exchange of information in tax matters. In application of the international Standard for Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information in Tax Matters of the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Switzerland and Canada aim to collect, as from 2017, and exchange, as from 2018, banking information as soon as the necessary legal bases are in place in the two countries.
The new international standard on the automatic exchange of information (AEOI) will help combat international tax evasion. To date, more than 100 states, including Switzerland, and all the major financial centres have declared their readiness to implement the standard.
Switzerland supports the new international standard, having taken an active part in developing it. As this standard applies to all financial centres, it allows fair competition and constitutes an important instrument for combating international tax evasion. Implementation of the new global standard has no impact on banking secrecy at the national level.
To date, Switzerland has signed an agreement with the European Union (28 countries and Gibraltar) to introduce AEOI as well as joint declarations with Australia, Jersey, Guernsey, the Isle of Man, Iceland, Norway, Japan, Canada and South Korea, which enable AEOI to be introduced on the basis of a multilateral international agreement developed by the OECD.
Subject to approval by the Federal Assembly, AEOI will apply to all taxpayers with tax residence in Canada (including Swiss citizens) and to taxpayers whose tax residence is in Switzerland (including Canadian citizens).
Swiss financial institutions (banks, some collective investment instruments, and insurance companies) will gather, as from 2017 and for the following years, information about the accounts of all taxpayers resident in Canada and will transmit it to the Federal Tax Administration (FTA). Once a year, the FTA will automatically transmit the information it collects to the Canadian tax authorities. Canadian financial institutions will proceed accordingly with the accounts of taxpayers resident in Switzerland.
More information on this subject will be provided once the new standard is approved by the parliaments and the procedures have been published.
 The information includes details relating to the account holder (name, address, residence, tax identification number, date of birth), account number, account balance, the amount of interest, dividends and other revenue generated by the assets held in the account and the proceeds from the sale of financial assets.