The formation of provisions in accordance with commercial law requires that future results
- are based on a past event, and
- lead to a probable outflow of funds, lower inflows or impairment.
The primary question that arises here is whether one can speak of a "past event" with regard to the Coronavirus.
In its update of March 20, 2020, specialist association for auditing, taxes and fiduciary (EXPERTsuisse) is of the opinion that the Coronavirus is an event that only occurred after December 31, 2019. Consequently, it would not be necessary to include it in the 2019 financial statements, but the possible effects should be disclosed in the notes to the financial statements. This view is based on the observation that the Coronavirus did not start to have an impact outside China until 2020 and that the situation in Switzerland has only worsened since the Federal Council's decision of 28 February 2020 to classify the circumstances as a “special situation”. Nevertheless, given the extraordinary situation with presumably strong financial consequences for individual companies, it is entirely conceivable that, within the scope of the possibilities offered by the Swiss Code of Obligations, it might be possible to examine, for example, the making of additional value adjustments or the creation of provisions as instruments to ensure the long-term prosperity of the company (within the meaning of Art. 960a para. 4 CO and Art. 960e para. 3 no. 4 CO).
This opinion is contradicted by the packages of measures of the cantons of Zug, Valais and Aargau, which recognize the tax deductibility of additional provisions. This at least implicitly expresses the fact that the question of the date of entry into force is not uncontroversial.