Switzerland News: Referendum on FATCA
On October 3rd, 2013 it was reported that a committee has been formed to push a referendum against the FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act) agreement which Switzerland has recently signed with the US. The committee has 100 days to gather 50,000 signatures for the referendum to go ahead. Mr. Yves Nidegger, a federal Swiss politician, is likely to be the individual chosen to be the president of the referendum committee against FATCA.
Mr. Nidegger voiced his political party opposition to FATCA during sessions held by the Swiss federal council. During the assembly, held on September 9, 2013, Mr. Nidegger proposed to the council to wait before ratifying the Swiss law regarding FATCA until legal clarity regarding the validity of the United States FATCA law is obtained.
In addition, before the implementation of any Swiss laws related to FATCA, Mr. Nidegger clearly stated that any agreement with the United States should include complete reciprocity between Switzerland and the United States. Although the Swiss federal council did not retain this proposition during the September 9th session, the possible referendum may force the federal council to reconsider the current version of the Swiss law implementing FATCA. This is especially true since other countries are requesting that reciprocity form part of the negotiations and it’s clear that an automatic exchange may not be approved by Congress as evidenced by this letter from Congressman Bill Posey to the Secretary of the Treasury on July 1, 2013.