HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

How to do a compliance check: establishing the facts: asking for information: UK / Swiss tax cooperation agreement: analysis of the response

The OCU will send an acknowledgement to you confirming that the request has been received and that it will be reviewed.

The OCU will make a decision as to whether the request is accepted or rejected within 28 days of the request being made.

When a request is returned to you by the OCU they will tell you

  • why the request has not been taken forward, for example

    • there are no plausible grounds
  • what further action you need to take, for example

    • more information is required
    • the request is to be kept on file due to higher priority requests.

When a request is taken forward the OCU will

  • normally inform the UK based person of the approach to the Swiss tax authorities
  • let you know when this has been done
  • submit the request to CEI.

In most cases the OCU will receive a response from the Swiss Federal Tax Authority within 90 days. However, note that the UK person does have a right of appeal against the information exchange that may cause a delay.

A reply to your request may take up to 120 days and the OCU will contact you, whatever the outcome. Do not issue a reminder before then.

Following a reply from the CEI

The OCU will send the details of the response immediately to you as set out in Part One of the stencil.

If there is a positive response you will receive details of the number of accounts held by the person during the time period and the name of the provider institution.


In answer to a request for information you may get the response

  • Mr Grey

2 accounts or deposits: UBS AG

1 account or deposit: HSBC

If there is a negative response this may be because

  • there is no account
  • the account has been subjected to either a one-off payment or the withholding of tax.

A negative response will not specify the reason why it is negative.

In the case of the latter, you later establish that the proceeds of a sale were indeed deposited into a Swiss bank account. However, those proceeds were cleared for Income Tax and Capital Gains purposes by a one-off payment levied on the account on 31 May 2013 and you are provided with a certificate to demonstrate this, see INTM820600. In such circumstances further advice will be available from OCU to aid in the correct interpretation of such certificates.