On November 16, 2016, Argentina and Switzerland signed a joint declaration about the introduction of a reciprocal automatic exchange of financial information for tax purposes (AEOI). This document, signed by Alfonso Prat-Gay, the Argentinian Finance Minister and Jörg Gasser, the Swiss State Secretary for International Financial Matters, aims at collecting information in accordance with the global AEOI standard in 2018 and to exchange it from 2019 onwards. Both States also signed a memorandum of understanding about the interpretation of the agreement to avoid double taxation in relation to the income and property tax. So far, relations between both countries allowed the exchange of information only through formal requests from each State.
This meeting is the result of several meetings between Prat-Gay and the Swiss Finance Minister, Ueli Mauer, which took place this year as part of the G-20 in China and the Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington.
From a legal view, the declaration is based on the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement on the Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information (MCAA). The MCAA is based on the international standard for the information exchange developed by the OECD.
The main aspects of the declaration are the following:
- Argentina´s power to impose royalty withholding taxes to Swiss companies and the possibility of imposing shares and ownership interest with property taxes.
- Elimination of the most-favored-nation clause, which compromised the possible relation with third countries in future negotiations of tax treaties.
- Introduction of a general anti-abuse clause to prevent third countries’ residents from taking unfair advantages of the Convention.
- Authorization of the tax information exchange upon request of tax authorities and the introduction of a note compromising to implement the automatic exchange of information when defined as international standard.
In addition, both countries discussed the framework conditions for investment and structural reforms in Argentina, as well as market access for financial service providers. It should be noted that Argentina will chair the G-20 in 2018.