On 12 February 2017, the Swiss electorate voted on the Corporate Rax Reform Act III.
Switzerland is an attractive location for businesses. Lower taxation on holding, domiciliary and mixed companies is one of the reasons for this. These ‘status companies’ provide around 150,000 jobs and are a large contributor to federal, cantonal and communal revenues. However, this system of reduced taxation no longer satisfies international standards and must be abolished. To ensure that the taxes paid by these companies do not increase too much, new tax relief measures are to be introduced. This may prevent an exodus of companies and, consequently, the loss of jobs and tax revenues.
The Third series of corporate tax reforms III (CTR III) is designed to increase international acceptance of the Swiss corporate tax system and guarantee competitive tax rates. In addition, companies should continue to contribute to government revenues.
Key components of the reform
The reform abolishes the reduced taxation of status companies. Tax relief is provided for R&D, primarily in order to promote innovation. The Confederation will pass on a greater share of the revenue from direct federal taxation to the cantons. This will allow the cantons to reduce their profit taxes – which will benefit all other companies – while maintaining their competitiveness.
What is the purpose of this referendum?
A referendum has been requested against the reform. The opponents expect the reform to lead to a significant loss of revenue. They fear that the ordinary taxpayers will have to make up for the shortfall.
Position of the Federal Council and Parliament
The Federal Council and Parliament recommend voting in favour of the proposal. The reform ensures that Switzerland remains an attractive location for businesses and helps to safeguard jobs. It is an investment in the future.
Last modification 14.02.2017