Administrative Assistance in Accordance with FATCA
FATCA group requests
On 20 September 2019 in Bern, Switzerland and the USA exchanged the ratification instruments of the protocol of amendment dated 23 September 2009 concerning the double taxation agreement (DTA) in the area of taxes on income. Therefore, the protocol entered into force on 20 September 2019 and FATCA group requests based on facts from 30 June 2014 can be made. According to the FATCA agreement, the US-American tax administration IRS can request information on all the accounts that were reported to it in aggregated form by the Swiss financial institutions.
Upon receipt of a request, the FTA will request the financial institution concerned to provide the FTA with the information described in the FATCA agreement within 10 days. The requirements of the delivery of the information to the FTA can be viewed in the documents below («Technical Specification and User Guide for Financial Institutions according to FATCA IGA 2» [hereafter: «User Guide»] under FATCA Information Delivery, FATCA Credential Form and SEI-XML). The user guide has been updated and addresses new requirements from the IRS concerning the content of the FATCA-XML file (CARRef-Element in accordance with the FATCA XML scheme V2.0, cf. chapter 4.5.3 of the user guide). The general rule is that financial institutions concerned have to take into account the requirements of the IRS for the FATCA-XML that are valid at the time the file is delivered to the FTA. A compilation of all the amendments to the user guide can be found in chapter 1.3.1 «Updates Version 1.2» of the user guide itself.
The FTA has compiled a list of frequently asked questions (FAQ) with regard to FATCA group requests. The FAQ can now be obtained by contacting the FTA at the following e-mail address: amtshilfe.usa(at)estv.admin.ch.
Information letter to the clients concerned
In accordance with the implementation of FATCA reporting Swiss financial institutions are required to disclose information about US accounts to the US-American tax administration IRS. US bank clients receive a letter from their financial institution with which the financial institution seeks consent to disclose their account details to the IRS. An information letter from the FTA is attached to this letter, which provides information about the procedure of a possible request for administrative assistance in accordance with the FATCA agreement.
In accordance with Article 12 paragraph 1 of the Federal Act of 27 September 2013 on the Implementation of the FATCA Agreement between Switzerland and the United States (FATCA Act; SR 672.933.6) the specified US persons and nonparticipating financial institutions concerned by requests for administrative assistance as well as any other contracting parties to the account relationships concerned are informed on an anonymous basis by a notification in the Federal Gazette and on the website of the FTA that (a) a group request has been received, (b) a final decree will be issued for each account relationship concerned by the group request, and (c) that the persons entitled to appeal may submit their opinion on the intended transmission of their data to the competent authority of the United States of America (Internal Revenue Service) within 20 days of this notification.
Pursuant to Article 5 paragraph 3 letter b of the Agreement of 14 February 2013 between Switzerland and the United States of America for Cooperation to Facilitate the Implementation of FATCA (FATCA Agreement, SR 0.672.933.63), the issued final decrees are notified to the persons entitled to appeal on an anonymous basis by a notification in the Federal Gazette and on the website of the FTA. An appeal against the final decree may be filed to the Federal Administrative Court within 30 days of its notification respectively of its publication in the Federal Gazette and on the website of the FTA. A copy of the appeal must be sent to the Federal Tax Administration.