All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2022 ITR is part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC group.

Switzerland: Swiss non-financial entities and new bank forms – everyone must tick a box



Sarah Drye

Brandi Caruso

The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), effective since July 1 2014, is a US tax law aimed at addressing perceived tax abuse by US persons through the use of offshore accounts. Its broad impact extends to most Swiss entities, including those outside the financial services industry, regardless of any connection with the US. Every Swiss entity will have a FATCA status and will likely receive one or more requests for new FATCA relevant documentation in the next 12-18 months and some preparation is needed. Swiss financial institutions are complying with FATCA to ensure effective business operations (that is, to avoid the 30% FATCA withholding). To comply, they must review and properly document all account holders, including Swiss companies.

Generally, an account holder is required to provide a certification by ticking the relevant box on the form provided by the bank. The US Form W-8BEN-E includes more than 30 boxes to choose from, which requires a Swiss entity to analyse and determine its FATCA classification under the applicable intergovernmental agreement (IGA) or the FATCA Regulations.

Swiss companies are receiving FATCA certification requests as part of routine record maintenance and time sensitive transactions. For example, in situations when:

  • an entity holds (or intends to open) an account with a Swiss bank or insurance company;

  • an entity intends to borrow funds (or guarantee the funds) from a Swiss bank; and

  • a Swiss entity receives payments of relevant US source income such as interest, dividends, capital gains, rents or royalties (including payments received from related parties).

A company's failure to certify its FATCA classification may lead to the closure of its accounts with financial institutions, limited (or denied) access to funding, and/or 30% FATCA withholding on certain payments.

We recommend that Swiss companies determine their FATCA classification and related compliance obligations to ensure they can comply with bank requests and avoid the potential negative implications of non-compliance on efficient business operations.

Sarah Drye (

+41 (0)58 279 8091

Brandi Caruso (

+41 (0)58 279 6397

David McNeil (

+41 (0)58 279 8193



more across site & bottom lb ros

More from across our site

The UN may be set to assume a global role in tax policy that would rival the OECD, while automakers lobby the US to change its tax rules on Chinese materials.
Companies including Valentino and EveryMatrix say the early adoption of EU public CbCR rules could boost transparency of local and foreign MNEs, despite the short notice.
ITR invites tax firms, in-house teams, and tax professionals to make submissions for the 2023 ITR Tax Awards in Asia-Pacific, Europe Middle East & Africa, and the Americas.
Tax authorities and customs are failing multinationals by creating uncertainty with contradictory assessment and guidance, say in-house tax directors.
The CJEU said the General Court erred in law when it ruled that both companies benefitted from Italian state aid.
An OECD report reveals multinationals have continued to shift profits to low-tax jurisdictions, reinforcing the case for strong multilateral action in response.
The UK government announced plans to increase taxes on oil and gas profits, while the Irish government considers its next move on tax reform.
War and COVID have highlighted companies’ unpreparedness to deal with sudden geo-political changes, say TP specialists.
A source who has seen the draft law said it brings clarity on intangibles and other areas of TP including tax planning.
Tax consultants say companies must not ignore financial transactions in their TP policies as authorities, particularly in the UK, become more demanding.