On 2 February 2017, the Federal Department of Finance (FDF) opened consultations on the introduction of automatic information exchange in tax matters (AIA) with additional countries (see contribution of 7 February 2017). The Principality of Liechtenstein in particular has a common economic and currency area based on numerous agreements with Switzerland. The political and economic relations with the Principality of Liechtenstein make the introduction of the AIA appear necessary (planned entry into force in 2018, planned data exchange in 2019).
For admission to the network of partner states of Switzerland, the Principality of Liechtenstein must comply with the speciality principle and guarantee the confidentiality of the data supplied. The legal, administrative and technical framework for confidentiality and data security in Liechtenstein has already been assessed as satisfactory by the expert panel of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes (Global Forum), as various double taxation agreements concluded by the Principality of Liechtenstein already contain a confidentiality clause (see overview of all double taxation agreements and tax information exchange agreements of the Principality of Liechtenstein), which corresponds to the OECD model agreement. In addition, there is comprehensive data protection legislation in national law (cf. in full the explanatory report on the introduction of the AIA on financial accounts with additional states and territories of the AIA agreement from 2018/2019)
Increasing transparency and the resulting flow of information inevitably leads to the question of when voluntary declarations can or must be submitted, since one of the conditions for voluntary declarations is "voluntary", i.e. the tax authorities must not already be aware of the tax evasion. As far as the AIA is concerned, the window of opportunity for self-denunciation is thus closed because of the following problem: the requirement of self-denunciation, spontaneous or voluntary, to make a self-denunciation without penalty is likely to be denied if the tax authorities were about to discover the tax evasion without the taxpayer being able to stop it. The self-disclosure is then hardly likely to have been made (voluntarily) of one's own accord.
In summary, with regard to the Principality of Liechtenstein, it can therefore be stated that a voluntary declaration of assets submitted after 1 January 2018 does not necessarily fulfil the criterion of voluntariness (provided that the FTA has already received declarations of assets). If these are not yet available to the FTA, a self-disclosure should in principle be possible until 2019 (date of the planned data exchange).