Federal Council wants to facilitate group financing in Switzerland

Bern, 23.09.2016 - Today, the Federal Council initiated the consultation procedure on an amendment to the Withholding Tax Ordinance. The proposal should strengthen financing activities of groups in Switzerland.

At present, groups established in Switzerland often carry out targeted financing activities abroad. In this way, they avoid withholding tax, which would be due in certain situations were they to conduct the financing via group companies established in Switzerland. The Swiss economy thereby misses out on some of the added value in this sector.

For this added value to be retained in Switzerland, the Federal Council is proposing an amendment to the Withholding Tax Ordinance. This amendment concerns those groups in which a Swiss group company (guarantor) provides a guarantee for a bond of a foreign group company (issuer) belonging to the same group. With the proposed amendment, intra-group interest payments of the Swiss guarantor are no longer to be subject to withholding tax in all cases. Forwarding of funds from the foreign issuer to a group company established in Switzerland should still be possible up to the maximum amount of the equity capital of the issuer.

The reform of the Withholding Tax Act proposed by the Federal Council (switchover to the paying agent principle), as indicated on 18 December 2014 in the consultation, would sustainably resolve the current problems in principle. However, the reform has been suspended for the time being (awaiting the outcome of the vote on the popular initiative "Yes to protecting privacy"), and the subsequent timetable is unknown. Against this backdrop, the Federal Council is proposing this amendment of the Withholding Tax Ordinance to enhance the appeal of Switzerland as a business location.

Address for enquiries

Patrick Teuscher, Head of Communications, Federal Tax Administration FTA
Tel. 058 464 90 00, media@estv.admin.ch


The Federal Council

Federal Department of Finance