Tax, Voluntary Disclosure, Legal, Switzerland, FTA, Compliance
If tax authorities know about tax evasion at the time of the voluntary disclosure, the risk of cantonal authorities imposing both supplementary tax and a fine is great. The Swiss Federal Tax Administration (FTA) now presumes that a non-punishable voluntary disclosure will no longer be possible after September 2018, i.e. when the automatic exchange of information (AEoI) has been introduced. FTA published their view "Auswirkungen des AIA auf Selbstanzeigen" on Friday. It is also available in French and Italian.
According to FTA “knowledge of the authority” is a condition after the AEoI has been put into force on 30 September 2018: as of this date, data of all tax subjects are automatically provided to the respective tax authorities in the respective countries, i.e. the authorities will have all the relevant data. This implies that as of this date voluntary disclosure is no longer done of a person’s own accord and thus (non-punishable) voluntary disclosure is no longer possible. This opinion is not quite undisputed: Voluntary disclosure is anchored in criminal law with strict requirements for the principle of legality. A court might have to decide whether a phrase like “as is known” may be interpreted in such an extensive way so that they work against the tax payers.