The Federal Council rejects the direct counter-proposal to the popular initiative "Yes to the protection of privacy". This is the result of the Federal Council's statement to the Economic Commission of the Council of States (WAK-S), which the Federal Council adopted at its meeting on 5 April 2017.

According to a press release issued by the Federal Council on 5 April 2017 and the corresponding statement for the attention of the WAK-S, the Federal Council continues to see no need for action in the protection of financial privacy in tax law. The protection of financial privacy in tax law is sufficiently guaranteed by tax secrecy. The counter-proposal would not bring about any improvements for honest tax payers, nor would the popular initiative.

In the view of the Federal Council, the counter-proposal would not bring any material innovations, but would have a negative signal effect by anchoring domestic tax banking secrecy in the constitution and the associated trivialisation of tax evasion. Persons who are dishonest in their tax behaviour would see their behaviour strengthened, and tax morale would fall. As a result, the Confederation, cantons and municipalities would lose revenue.

In addition, the adoption of the popular initiative or the counter-draft would unnecessarily restrict the scope for action, especially in the event of a future reform of withholding tax and criminal tax law. In particular, the abolition of the withholding tax on custody account income from bonds and investment funds, which has been called for by business circles to strengthen the Swiss capital market, is unlikely to be realised. Such a partial abolition of the withholding tax without accompanying measures would be incompatible with tax justice and the fiscal interests of the Confederation, cantons and municipalities.

In its session on 15 December 2016, the National Council voted in favour of the popular initiative and the counter-proposal by 80 to 60 votes with 55 abstentions. On 10 January 2017, the WAK-S suspended the parliamentary discussion and requested the Federal Council to submit a statement on the counter-proposal (see WAK-S press release of 11 January 2017). The Federal Council's statement for the attention of the WAK-S has now been submitted, which is why the matter can be further dealt with by the WAK-S.