November 8 2018
On 7 November 2018, the Federal Council decided to remove the transitional provision concerning the term "participating state" in the Ordinance on the International Automatic Exchange of Information in Tax Matters with effect from 1 January 2019.
Background. According to the definition of the standard on the automatic exchange of information (AEOI), a participating state is a state with which an AEOI agreement exists. Financial institutions have enhanced due diligence requirements vis-à-vis non-participating states. When the OECD introduced the AEOI, it was decided that states could include a transitional provision in their national law according to which participating states are also deemed to be states that have undertaken to implement the AEOI. The reason for this is that the AEOI will not be introduced by all states at the same time. Instead, the AEOI agreement network will be gradually expanded. The transitional provision was intended to reduce the financial institutions' burden during the introductory phase of the AEOI. More than 100 states and territories, including Switzerland, have since introduced the AEOI and expanded their agreement network. Against this backdrop, the OECD called on the states in autumn 2017 to remove the transitional provision. Switzerland made use of this transitional provision, which will cease to apply with effect from 1 January 2019.
November 20 2018
On 15 November 2018, the Swiss Federal Tax Administration (FTA) announced that in the course of the corporate tax reform, it will no longer apply the federal practices concerning principal companies and Swiss finance branches to new companies from 2019.
The corporate tax reform (Tax Proposal 17) introduces legislative measures to bring Swiss corporate tax law in line with international requirements. Tax Proposal 17 provides, inter alia, for the abolition of arrangements for cantonal status companies. Correspondingly, the FTA will abolish the federal practices on tax allocation for principal companies and Swiss finance branches in parallel to the abolition of the rules concerning cantonal status companies. Unlike the rules concerning cantonal status companies, the abolition of federal practices does not require any legislative amendment. As a first step, the FTA will therefore ensure that federal practices are no longer applied to new companies from 2019. With the entry into force of the Tax Proposal 17 at the beginning of 2020, the federal practices for existing principal companies and Swiss finance branches will also be abolished.
November 21 2018
The Swiss Federal Tax Administration (FTA) announced that from 15 November 2018, mail-order businesses registering online for VAT purposes in Switzerland will have to indicate if they are active in the area of mail-order and give their express consent if they wish to be included on a corresponding list. It is however in their interest to do so in order to ensure that the import VAT is not wrongly invoiced to the client and to avoid potential complaints. On its website, the FTA provides a list of mail-order businesses that are registered for VAT purposes in Switzerland. The aim of such a list is to help the undertakings entrusted with the customs clearance formalities to know whom, between the recipient of the parcel and the mail-order businesses, they should charge the import VAT to. This list can be made available in XML format for the persons responsible for customs clearance formalities.
Under the CHF 100,000 threshold, mail-order businesses may choose to waive the exemption from tax liability and register voluntarily using the declaration of subordination. Under this procedure, a business has authorization from the FTA to import goods in its own name and, if the other conditions are met, can deduct the import tax as input tax in its VAT returns. In terms of VAT, the subsequent supply of goods made to the recipient is then considered made on Swiss territory (same as with the provision for mail-order sales). The main advantage of choosing to apply the declaration of subordination is that a mail-order business can plan ahead its transition towards a mandatory VAT liability as provided in the provision for mail-order sales and its VAT registration.
Background. Article 7(3)b of the Swiss VAT Act, a new provision for mail-order sales, will enter into force on 1 January 2019 (see Switzerland-1145, News 16 August 2018
). Accordingly, any person making supplies of low value goods/parcels and achieving in 2018 a minimum turnover of CHF 100,000 from these supplies must register for VAT purposes if it is forecasted that the same supplies of goods will also be provided in 2019. Low value goods/parcels are goods that are exempt from import tax due to the insignificant import tax amount (less than CHF 5.00). If in 2019, a person starts making supplies of goods that are imported from abroad and if those supplies are exempt from import tax due to the insignificant import tax amount, the place of supply for those supplies will be deemed to remain outside the Swiss territory as long as the CHF 100,000 threshold is not reached. From the beginning of the month following the month during which the threshold was reached, the place of supply for all supplies of goods from abroad will change to be on Swiss territory. If this occurs, the mail-order business will have to register for VAT purposes in Switzerland.