20 November 2019

Switzerland: Federal Council refrains from making charitable foundations subject to the AEOI

Federal Council plans announced at the end of February 2019 to make charitable foundations subject to the Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) have been withdrawn for the time being. As the Federal Council announced today, it will refrain from the abolition of exemptions for charitable foundations recommended by the OECD (see press release here). SwissFoundations – as the representative of the Swiss foundations concerned – has addressed this issue at various levels and is therefore very pleased with the decision.

Revision of the Common Reporting Standard

The OECD also recently announced a review of the Common Reporting Standard (CRS) which is set to begin in early 2020. The issue of making tax-exempt, charitable organisations – which are deemed financial institutions under the current interpretation of the CRS (managed-by and income test) – subject to AEOI is also likely to be reassessed as part of this review, especially since the CRS currently recognises exemptions for charitable organisations. The discussions held between Pascal Saint-Amans, Director, Centre for Tax Policy and Administration at the OECD and his team and a SwissFoundations delegation – together with representatives of DAFNE and the European Foundation Centre – on 26 September 2019 in Paris, pointed in the same direction.

Next steps together with the European Foundation Sector

As the success with the reformulation of Recommendation #8 of the Financial Action Task Force shows, European bodies must now also join forces in the field of AIA to campaign for reasonable regulation of European non-profit status. Together with our European colleagues – SwissFoundations as a founder member of DAFNE is also represented on its Legal Affairs Committee, made up of experts on foundation law from over 25 European countries – SwissFoundations will also endeavour to raise awareness in other European countries over the coming weeks.

“We wish to take the opportunity to thank all members of the SwissFoundations Task Force – Max von Abendroth, Hanna Surmatz, Prof. Dr Andrea Opel and Dr Georgia Fotiou – for their tremendous commitment. This successful outcome would not have been possible without their support. We promise to continue our efforts” state Dr. Lukas von Orelli (President of SwissFoundations) and Beate Eckhardt (CEO of SwissFoundations).

Please find today’s press release form SwissFoundations here.

For more information please visit the website of Philanthropy Advocacy, joint DAFNE and EFC project.