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Zurich Sees Surge In Tax Confessions

Friday, January 12, 2018

The Swiss canton of Zurich has reported a three-fold increase in the number of voluntary disclosures involving previously undisclosed assets.

According to Reuters, Zurich's finance department said that a record 6,150 voluntary disclosures were made in 2017, triple the number seen in 2016. To date, the cases have involved CHF1.3bn (USD1.3bn) in previously undisclosed assets. Reuters added that the Zurich authorities have so far only been able to process around half the cases.

The surge is likely due to the start of the automatic exchange of information in tax matters under the OECD's Common Reporting Standard (CRS), with countries beginning to make the first exchanges this year.

Several of Switzerland's agreements for the automatic exchange of information (AOEI) in tax matters became effective with numerous other territories from January 1, 2018.

Switzerland will begin to exchange such information this year, and receive information from other states, in respect of account information collected for and by some partners (the CRS "early adopters"): Australia, Canada, the European Union states, Guernsey, the Isle of Man, Iceland, Japan, Jersey, Norway, and South Korea.

An expanded list of the territories that Switzerland intends to automatically exchange information with from 2019 has been newly published on the State Secretariat for International Finance's website.

To comply with its commitment to automatically exchange information with these states from 2019, Swiss financial institutions will be obligated to comply with new information collection obligations from January 1, 2018, in respect of accounts involving taxpayers from the following states: Andorra, Argentina, Barbados, Belize, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Curacao, Faroe Islands, Greenland, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Israel, Liechtenstein, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Montserrat, New Zealand, Russia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Singapore, South Africa, and Uruguay.

New automatic exchange of information agreements entered into force for other states from January 1, 2018, also. These states and territories – Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, the United Arab Emirates, and the Turks and Caicos – are "permanent non-reciprocal jurisdictions;" they will supply account information to Switzerland and other partner states on a permanent basis but will not receive such data.