June 14, 2011

Lump-sum taxpayer numbers continue to grow

Jun 14, 2011 - 13:43

The number of lump-sum tax contributions by wealthy foreigners continued to grow the 2008-2010 period.

There were 5,445 such taxpayers in 2010, an 8.8 per cent rise from 2008-2010, according to a study by the Conference of Cantonal Ministers of Finance.

But that's less than in recent years. The number of such taxpayers grew by around 20 per cent in 2006-2008.

Receipts of tax income of foreigners, who live but don't work in Switzerland, grew by 15.6 per cent in the last two years, compared with 47.5 per cent in 2006-2008.

Lump-sum taxes have been a feature in Switzerland since 1920, allowing cantons to ignore the wealth and income of wealthy foreign residents as long as this has been earned abroad. Instead, cantons levy a charge typically based on five times the rental value of the resident’s property.

A concerted attack against tax breaks for wealthy foreigners has forced some cantons to increase lump-sum levies rather than lose them altogether.

In response, the government has recommended that lump-sum taxes should be raised to seven times the rental value of properties while only people with an income of at least SFr400,000 ($476,000) would qualify for a tax break.

Voters in Lucerne, St Gallen and Basel City will have their say on the issue in the coming months.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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