The Federal Tax Administration carries out audits of taxpayers with respect to VAT, withholding tax, stamp duty on issues and negotiations, over periods of 5 years, corresponding to the statute of limitations for these taxes.
The cantonal administrations carry out controls that are retroactive for 10 years in the area of direct taxes (profit, capital, income and wealth).
In case of irregularities, these controls can be more frequent. The audit is announced in writing. The documents necessary for the audit are requested by the tax authorities and the date of the audit is proposed to the taxpayer. Within this framework, taxpayers must give the tax authorities access to their accounts, to the supporting documents relating to them and provide any information requested by the tax authorities during the audit.
The spontaneous declaration of these taxes is the responsibility of the taxpayers. The legal deadlines must be respected without reminders being sent to the persons concerned. Taxpayers are often unaware of their tax obligations.
In the case of an error in the VAT statement, such as the failure to submit a stamp duty declaration, or in the case of hidden dividends subject to withholding tax that have not been reported to the tax authorities, the taxpayer is entirely responsible for the lack of diligence. It should be noted that the administration is not satisfied with a simple analysis of the accounts and documents submitted, but reviews in detail all transactions with third parties, as well as with companies of the same group in Switzerland or abroad which could be subject to taxes. The Federal Administration will also not hesitate to recover uncollected amounts, charge interest on arrears and impose possible fines.
For direct taxes, the limitation period is 10 years. It is rare that the administration carries out physical controls on the spot, as for indirect taxes. Instead, it proceeds by requesting written documents. In cases of suspicion of serious tax evasion, the federal administration has a "tax police" which will proceed to escrow and analysis of all useful documents.
For both direct and indirect taxes, the first exchanges with the administration are absolutely crucial. Indeed, the risks raised at this stage of the procedure will be decisive in the negotiations and management of future debates.
Our experts have a long experience in VAT, stamp duty and withholding tax, as well as in income and wealth tax. They will be able to guide you on how to respond and defend yourself against the tax authorities' questions. We propose regular "check-ups" before any announcement of the control by the tax authorities. These checks take the form of short VAT audits, during which we focus on the corrections to be made in order to avoid unpleasant surprises in the event of an audit by the Administration.
Even in case of an announced audit by the administration, it is not too late to take charge of your tax affairs. Tax representation by our experts is a solution. The correct presentation of your operations to the authorities as well as the assistance in the answers to be given to the tax authorities guarantee that the authorities only obtain essential information for the audit and thus protect you from misinterpretations. We offer you our expertise to assist you during audit days which can be organized in your premises or in ours, according to your preference. We also provide you with a complete defense before the tax authorities, until the results of the tax audit are obtained, and even during the procedure. Our preference is for a pragmatic solution that avoids costly and uncertain procedures. Knowing that 70% of the cases are decided in favor of the administration, a pragmatic solution is not always possible. In this case, we will assist you throughout the complaint or appeal procedure.