The Swiss government steering body comprised of federal and cantonal representatives has adopted recommendations on a balanced tax proposal 17 (TP17) for the attention of the Federal Council. It sees an urgent need to swiftly adopt and implement a new corporate tax reform proposal.
The steering body met a total of five times between March and May. Representatives of the cities and communes were additionally invited to those meetings, thereby ensuring that the concerns of the communes are factored into the recommendations.
Hearings were also held with parties and business and employer associations in order to prepare TP17. All sides welcomed the overall direction of TP17, which has the following three objectives:
- Boosting appeal as a business location
- International acceptance
- Productivity of tax revenue
- TP17 should be structured in as balanced a way possible within this framework. Consequently, the new tax-related special arrangements should be designed rather restrictively and greater importance should be attributed to the interests of the cities and communes.
The steering body recommends the following core elements to the Federal Council in the sense of a whole package that is balanced:
- Patent box: introduction of a mandatory patent box in accordance with the OECD standard at cantonal level.
- Research and development deductions: the additional deduction for R&D costs may not exceed 50% of the actual costs. The deductions should focus primarily on personnel expenses.
- Maximum burden: the tax relief on profits arising from the two aforementioned instruments may not exceed 70%. The relief leeway is thus restricted relative to the third series of corporate tax reforms.
- Partial taxation of dividends: the partial taxation of dividends from qualified participations (minimum stake of 10%) should be 70% at federal level and at least 70% at cantonal and communal level.
- Vertical equalization: the Confederation will now pay the cantons 21.2% of direct federal tax revenue instead of 17%.
- Clause to take the communes into account in connection with the increase in the cantons' share of direct federal tax.
- Child allowances: the minimum amount for child and education allowances is to be increased by CHF 30. Child allowances will thus rise to at least CHF 230 and education allowances should be at least CHF 280.
The aim is for the cantons to disclose their plans for cantonal implementation before the decision on tax proposal 17 is made. This will increase the transparency of the proposal.
The Federal Council will decide on the parameters in June. Thereafter, the Federal Department of Finance will prepare a consultation draft. The consultation should be completed by December 2017. It is envisaged that the dispatch for the attention of Parliament will be adopted in spring 2018.
The steering body believes swift implementation at cantonal level is extremely important. Consequently, the cantons should push ahead with their cantonal implementation projects in parallel to the federal proposal. This will force the cantons to shorten their usual legislative timeframes, but the steering body deems this to be necessary due to the urgency of the proposal.
Download the Core recommendations of the steering body on the TP17 substantive parameters (PDF, 35 kB)