The Federal Act on the Implementation of Recommendations of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes (Global Forum) will enter into force on 1 November 2019. In its press release of 27 September 2019, the Federal Council promised to provide guidance on the implementation of the act. This is now available.
Around 57,000 companies are affected by the changes brought about by the act. The guidance, which will be updated as necessary, will help those affected to implement the act.
The main features of the act are as follows:
- Effective from 1 November 2019, bearer shares will be permitted only if the company has equity securities listed on a stock exchange or has structured its bearer shares as intermediated securities.
- Impermissible bearer shares will be converted into registered shares by law on 1 May 2021.
- Shareholders who have not complied with their reporting duty and whose shares have been converted may apply to the courts for entry in the company's share register within five years of the act coming into force. Shares held by non-registered shareholders will become void on 1 November 2024.
- Fines will be imposed on shareholders and partners who do not report the beneficial owners and on boards of directors that do not maintain the share register, register of capital contributions or the list of beneficial owners of shares.
- Legal entities headquartered abroad with effective administration in Switzerland are obliged to keep a register of their owners at the effective place of administration.
Brigitte Hofstetter, Exchange of Information & Individual Taxation Section, State Secretariat for International Finance SIF, +41 58 464 09 51, firstname.lastname@example.org
Last modification 31.10.2019