Our latest research and insights: Accounting

Tax proposal 17: National Council committee approves reform proposal

Tax proposal 17: National Council committee approves reform proposal

The National Council’s Economic Affairs and Taxation Committee (EATC) has finished its debate about Tax Proposal 17. It has agreed, albeit with a slim majority, to submit the package for further debated to the National Council. Such discussion is scheduled on 12 September 2018.

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FINMA publishes new fact sheet on virtual currencies

FINMA publishes new fact sheet on virtual currencies

On September 3rd 2018, FINMA published a new fact sheet on dealing with virtual currencies, such as "Bitcoin". The fact sheet provides information on licensing requirements under financial market law and risks associated with the blockchain technology. This technology makes it possible to manage monetary units of virtual currencies in a computer network. This network enables decentralized currency trading on the Internet, in which neither the state nor other banks are intermediaries.

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PwC Legal Switzerland joins the Accord Project for smart legal contracts

PwC Legal Switzerland joins the Accord Project for smart legal contracts

PwC Legal Switzerland has joined the Accord Project to contribute towards the development of a global, open source implementation for smart legal contracts. The Accord Project counts over 50 global law firms, standards bodies and trade associations among its members and collaborators.

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Liechtenstein publishes draft of the new Blockchain Act

Liechtenstein publishes draft of the new Blockchain Act

On 28 August 2018, the Ministry for General Government Affairs and Finance of Liechtenstein published the consultation report on the new Blockchain Act. The new law aims to strengthen the legal certainty for users and service providers in order to further promote the positive development of the "token economy" in Liechtenstein and, at the same time, to protect the reputation of the country.

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FINMA opens consultation on AMLO-FINMA

FINMA opens consultation on AMLO-FINMA

In mid-June 2018, the Parliament decided to create a new licence category in the Banking Act to promote innovation in the financial markets sector. On August 28th 2018, the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority FINMA opened a consultation of the revised AMLO-FINMA until the 26th October 2018.

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RPA + data analytics = an unprecedented force for digital transformation

RPA + data analytics = an unprecedented force for digital transformation

Robotic process automation (RPA) technologies are a cost-effective and non-invasive way of automating repetitive business processes. Apart from achieving process automation, RPA also digitises manual processes in the organisation and captures valuable process data.

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 All you need to know about the FATCA Registration System update

All you need to know about the FATCA Registration System update

On 19 July 2018, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) announced that the FATCA Registration System will be upgraded in the coming weeks to include capabilities for the completion of the certification of pre-existing accounts and the periodic certification. Both certifications will be due by December 15, 2018 according to a new FAQ posted by the IRS this week.

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EU Benchmarks Regulation and Market Impact as of 1 January 2018

EU Benchmarks Regulation and Market Impact as of 1 January 2018

The new EU Benchmarks Regulation (BMR) was published in June 2016 and introduces new compliance requirements for benchmark administrators, contributors, a12345nd users, with regard to interest rate, foreign exchange, security, commodity, and other benchmarks used in financial transactions.

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FINMA publishes partially revised circular on "video and online identification”

FINMA publishes partially revised circular on "video and online identification”

From 13 February 2018 to 28 March 2018 the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority FINMA conducted a public hearing on the draft of the partially revised FINMA Circular 2016/7 "Video and online identification". FINMA published the partially revised circular on 17 July 2018. The aim of the partial revision is to adapt the Circular to the technological innovations and to the experience gained in applying the Circular since it entered into force in March 2016.

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OECD Financial Transactions Transfer Pricing Discussion Draft, Swiss Market Observations

OECD Financial Transactions Transfer Pricing Discussion Draft, Swiss Market Observations

Earlier this week the OECD released a non-consensus discussion draft (the Draft) on the transfer pricing aspects of loans, cash pooling, guarantees, hedging transactions and captive insurance structures. This blog provides our initial reactions to the first three of these areas.

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Enough is enough: why companies are streamlining their financial statements

Enough is enough: why companies are streamlining their financial statements

Streamlined financial reporting is the right idea at the right time. With concerns of non-compliance prompting companies to include more and more information, readers are finding it harder and harder to find what they need and get a clear picture of companies’ performance.

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EU: CJEU issues positive decision for foreign investment funds

EU: CJEU issues positive decision for foreign investment funds

On 21 June 2018, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) issued its judgment in Fidelity Funds (C-480/16). The underlying question of the case was whether it is in accordance with the free movement of capital that non-resident investment funds are subject to withholding tax on dividends received from their Danish portfolio investments while resident investment funds are exempted from withholding tax on such dividend payments.

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Liechtenstein signs Double Taxation Agreement with Jersey

Liechtenstein signs Double Taxation Agreement with Jersey

On 8 June 2018 the Government of the Principality of Liechtenstein issued a press release stating that Liechtenstein has signed a Double Taxation Agreement (DTA) with Jersey. The DTA between Liechtenstein and Jersey shall in particular grant treaty access to asset structures, investment funds, pension funds and charitable organisations.

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New updates on the safe-keeping duties for depositaries of Alternative Investment Funds

New updates on the safe-keeping duties for depositaries of Alternative Investment Funds

The European Commission has published a draft delegated regulation proposing to amend the Delegated Regulation (EU) No 231/2013 to the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD) as regards safe-keeping duties of depositaries for Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs). The newly proposed obligations would address depositaries and custodians further clarifying on their duties and ensuring harmonised protection of their clients' assets at EU level.

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What happens when the taxman gets superpowers?

What happens when the taxman gets superpowers?

Digitalisation meets tax authority: in a new white paper we explain why the corporate world should be preparing now for the imminent digitalisation of tax authorities. Companies will have to make extra efforts to get their tax capabilities quickly on the same data-driven level at which the authorities will be operating soon.

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FinSA and FinIA: Differences resolved between the National Council and the Council of States

FinSA and FinIA: Differences resolved between the National Council and the Council of States

On 12 June 2018, the National Council resolved the last differences on the Financial Services Act (FinSA) and the Financial Institutions Act (FinIA). Thus, the FinSA and the FinIA are ready for the final votes, which will take place on Friday, 15 June 2018.

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EMIR Transaktionsreporting und Solvency II in Liechtenstein Go Live – Kommen Sie auf den neusten Stand bzgl. der EWR Vertragsergänzung

EMIR Transaktionsreporting und Solvency II in Liechtenstein Go Live – Kommen Sie auf den neusten Stand bzgl. der EWR Vertragsergänzung

Am 31. Mai 2018 beschloss der gemeinsame EWR-Ausschuss die vorbehaltslose Implementation der Solvency II Level 2 und der EMIR Level 2 delegierten Rechtsakte. Folglich wurden per 01. Juni 2018 die EMIR und Solvency II Level 2 Rechtsakte in Liechtenstein, Norwegen und Island anwendbar.

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Get up to Speed on the EEA Agreement Amendment

Get up to Speed on the EEA Agreement Amendment

On 31 May 2018 the EEA Joint Committee reached a decision without reservation regarding the implementation of Solvency II Level 2 and EMIR Level 2 frameworks. Thus, as of 1 June 2018, the EMIR and Solvency II Level 2 delegated acts are applicable to Liechtenstein, Norway and Island.

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Comparison of Tax Proposal 17 measures between Federal Council dispatch and Council of States

Comparison of Tax Proposal 17 measures between Federal Council dispatch and Council of States

On 7 June 2018, the Council of States discussed details about the Tax Proposal 17 measures, confirming the proposed changes of the WAK-S. Recently, the WAK-S had unanimously agreed on an overall concept which differs in several points from the dispatch on the draft law bill published by the Federal Council on 21 March 2018.

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CJEU judgment: Transactions not concluded at arm's length may be in line with EU law

CJEU judgment: Transactions not concluded at arm's length may be in line with EU law

On 31 May 2018, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) issued its judgment in Hornbach-Baumarkt (C-382/16). The case refers to German transfer pricing rules applying to transactions with foreign related parties and which do not provide the possibility for taxpayers to prove the existence of commercial reasons in case they conclude transactions not at arm's length terms.

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Is the time right for a 1e plan for your Swiss higher earners?

Is the time right for a 1e plan for your Swiss higher earners?

While 2017 was a good year for pension funds, trends show that pension outcomes are falling: Investing the same amount of money today in a pension plan is likely to lead to a lower outcome at retirement than in the past. At the same time, employer risk is increasing as interest rates remain low. Some employers see 1e pension plans as part of the solution. What is the latest on this?

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How can Swiss companies turn into digital operations champions?

How can Swiss companies turn into digital operations champions?

Digital transformation is the most critical challenge for industrial companies worldwide. PwC’s new study “How to Be a Digital Operations Champion – Global Industry 4.0 Study 2018” shows that as far as Swiss companies are concerned, they have not quite exploited their full potential yet.

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Switzerland introduces the clearing obligation for certain derivatives for FC+ and NFC+

Switzerland introduces the clearing obligation for certain derivatives for FC+ and NFC+

The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority FINMA has recently announced that it will introduce the clearing obligation, meaning to clear certain derivatives over central counterparties, under the Swiss Financial Market Infrastructure Act (FMIA) that are traded by counterparties having the status of either an FC+, meaning large Financial Counterparty, or an NFC+, meaning a large Non-Financial Counterparty.

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Initial coin offerings (ICOs) in Liechtenstein

An initial coin offering (ICO) or a token sale is when a company sells a predefined number of digital tokens to the public in a limited period of time. The ICO market has grown very rapidly in recent months and has been a new avenue for blockchain-based start-ups and projects to get the funding needed to launch their projects.

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FinTech Action Plan – European Commission launches measures for a more competitive and innovative financial marketplace

For many financial services companies, financial technology (short “FinTech”) and technological innovation in general offer tremendous opportunities in terms of access to finance, operational efficiency, cost savings and competition. On March 8th 2018 the European Commission presented an action plan with a total of 23 measures to make better use of the opportunities offered by technological innovations in the financial services sector. The EU wants to become a global hub for FinTech in the future.

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Swiss company leadership & the gender divide (2008-2018)

Swiss company leadership & the gender divide (2008-2018)

Modern society is largely considered as "gender-equal". But women are still facing discrimination in areas such as education, salaries and political representation. This report aims to detail and quantify some remaining inequalities at the level of decision-making positions in Switzerland.

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Paying Taxes 2018

Paying Taxes 2018

Now in its 12th edition, Paying Taxes is a unique report from PwC and the World Bank Group which uses a medium-sized domestic case study company to measure and assess the ease of paying taxes across 190 economies. This year we explore how the digital revolution is transforming almost every aspect of paying taxes.

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EU Register of beneficial owners

Under the 4th anti-money laundering directive of the European Union, all European countries are obliged to introduce legislation that will create a register of the ultimate beneficial owners (UBOs) of structures. Who qualifies as a UBO? What information will be collected? Who will have access to the data?

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ExCo Insights 2017

ExCo Insights 2017

Do you have an opinion on executive pay? Everyone else does! The debate is emotionally charged, but how well informed is it? Every year, PwC endeavours to fuel a better-founded conversation by presenting one of the most detailed studies of board and executive remuneration in Switzerland. Next out is the eleventh edition of Executive Compensation & Corporate Governance Insights, covering the largest listed Swiss companies from 2007 to 2016.

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Intragroup staff leasing

Intragroup staff leasing

The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) issued a new directive on the permissibility of intragroup staff leasing. It clarified that intragroup staff leasing also generally requires the relevant licences – contrary to a previous directive dating back to 2003. To fully understand its impact, it is necessary to be familiar with the legal concept of staff leasing. Below, we will therefore provide you with more information on staff leasing in general before focusing on intragroup staff leasing, and on crossborder staff leasing in particular. To conclude, we will give our views on the consequences of the new SECO directive.

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Lessons from a hack

Lessons from a hack

What links spies, hackers, cookies and a grey Aston Martin DBS? The answer can be found in the indictment against four suspects that the U.S. Department of Justice published last week. The four individuals are accused of breaching into the networks of a large telecommunication company in 2014 and of stealing large amounts of client data. Despite the legal jargon (albeit with a few sparks of technical details), the reading of the document reveals some interesting aspects in regard to cyber security.

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New Swiss FinTech rules – FINMA to revise its supervisory practice

On 1 February 2017 the Federal Council initiated a consultation process in order to amend Swiss banking regulations. Its aim was to create appropriate regulations for FinTech companies operating outside the traditional financial sector, taking into account the specific risk potential of their respective business models. The proposed revision included amendments to both the Banking Act (“BA”) and the Banking Ordinance (“BO”). The consultation lasted until May 2017. On 5 July 2017 the Federal Council adopted the new Swiss regulatory framework in as far as it concerned the BO. The new regime came into force on 1 August 2017 to enable FinTech companies to benefit from these new rules with immediate effect.

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IOM’s Dialogue on Migration

IOM’s Dialogue on Migration

The private sector needs to engage with NGOs, governments and policy makers in respect of migration policies, which includes irregular migration and integration of migrants. This allows private sector representatives to discuss the impact of the global refugee crisis on business and mobility programmes.

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Conditions for Liechtenstein Foundations, Establishments and Trust Enterprises to apply double taxation agreement between Switzerland and Liechtenstein

Conditions for Liechtenstein Foundations, Establishments and Trust Enterprises to apply double taxation agreement between Switzerland and Liechtenstein

The double taxation agreement between Switzerland and Liechtenstein (DTA CH-LI ) is applicable since 1 January 2017. To benefit from the agreement, an entity or individual has to be resident in one or both of the contracting states. The term “resident” requires closer inspection when used in connection with a Foundation (Stiftung), Establishment (Anstalt) or Trust Enterprise (Trust reg.) according to Liechtenstein law.

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Liechtenstein has signed an additional DTA with Monaco

Liechtenstein has signed an additional DTA with Monaco

On 29 June 2017 the Government of the Principality of Liechtenstein issued a press release stating that Liechtenstein has signed an additional Double Taxation Agreement (DTA) with Monaco. The DTA between Liechtenstein and Monaco is intended to increase the legal certainty for investors and strengthen the close cooperation between the two countries.

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Successful robotics initiatives need the backing of agile staff who are open to change

Successful robotics initiatives need the backing of agile staff who are open to change

In the past, managing change has all too often been equated with (belated) project communications and training. More recently, however, experts have concurred that digital transformation, and ultimately its success, hinges on both the organisation and the people involved. Despite this, robotic process automation (RPA) and artificial intelligence (AI) initiatives in particular still tend to focus very much on the technology, paying little heed to how the organisation is going to keep pace. But if you want to harness the full potential of transformation in terms of saving costs and upgrading the work your people do, you have to make changes affecting your business model, organisation, culture and individual people early on.

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Cybersecurity: A peek into the nuts and bolts of a state cyber apparatus

Cybersecurity: A peek into the nuts and bolts of a state cyber apparatus

WikiLeaks, the platform that has in the past released thousands of classified US diplomatic cables and, more recently, emails from the Democratic National Committee, has now published leaked documents which it claims came from the CIA. The documents detail tools the intelligence agency uses for surveillance. This includes notably kits to penetrate computers (from Windows to OS X), mobile phones (iOS, Android) and many other devices.

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GDPR key challenges: mandatory data breach notification

The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) introduces a mandatory data breach notification regime. Companies should develop or update their internal data breach notification procedures by May 2018. These should comprise incident identification systems as well as incident response plans.

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FinTech and Financial Services team up

FinTech and Financial Services team up

PwC’s Global FinTech Report 2017 shows that FinTech and Financial Services are competing less and instead building more partnerships to turn threats into opportunities: 82% of Swiss respondents plan to increase partnerships over the next three to five years. The report concludes that the Swiss Financial Services industry can largely benefit from FinTech innovation in a number of areas and that 75% of Swiss respondents plan to adopt blockchain applications over the next three years.

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GDPR key challenges: Applicability to non-EU companies

In May 2016, the new EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) became effective. In May 2018, after a transposition period of two years, the GDPR will be mandatorily applicable throughout the European Union (EU). Although the GDPR is EU legislation, under certain circumstances it might be also applicable to Swiss and other non-European companies. This is the case if such company has an establishment in the EU. And the GDPR will also be applicable if, according to the newly introduced “Lex loci solutionis”, a non-European company without establishment in the EU is offering goods or services to the European Union’s market or if it is monitoring the behaviour of people living in the EU.

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