Dr. Ariel Sergio Goekmen-Davidoff provides an update on the usefulness of Swiss Foundations.
Most readers will know about the Liechtenstein foundation; however, its financial service offerings are often confused with those of Swiss foundations, even by international experts. This article will not discuss the Liechtenstein foundation in great detail but rather will provide clarity on the scope and utility of Swiss foundations.
Swiss foundations can indeed be used for several purposes: charitable, employee benefit, even to hold companies. However, the great majority of foundations, about 13,000, are active in the field of charity. It is widely believed by the Swiss foundation community that the OECD’s intention to include beneficiaries of Swiss charitable foundations in the automatic exchange of information was the result of its recognising no difference between the Liechtenstein and Swiss models.
The Swiss model cannot be abused to evade taxes, as Swiss foundations are supervised by a particular authority and scrutinised by the tax authorities at the same time. The founder or the beneficiaries cannot control a Swiss foundation. The foundation council can only move within the restrictions of the law, and the funds settled into a Swiss foundation are irrevocable.