Switzerland wants more tax from rich foreigners

Well-heeled foreigners may in the future need to pay Switzerland more to keep their low tax Alpine refuge, but angry Swiss still want to end the sweet deals.

Switzerland wants more tax from rich foreigners
Photo: Michael Faes

The lower house of the Swiss parliament voted late on Wednesday to increase the tax rate for rich non-Swiss residents to seven times their rent or the rental value of their home, from the current rate of five times.

The measure, which must still be considered by the upper house, can only become law in five years at the earliest.

The move comes amid heightened interest in relocating to Switzerland from rich French nationals in the wake of the election of Socialist President
Francois Hollande who intends to tax them at a 75 percent rate.

The special Swiss tax deals can prove highly advantageous for rich foreigners.

According to Swiss property agent Sovalco, a French couple with assets of €16 million and income of €750,000 would pay some €500,000 in
tax in France but could cut that to under €40,000 by moving to Switzerland.

The Swiss state received nearly 700 million francs (€580 million) in revenue from this arrangement in 2010.

While the vote was carried, opposition to the scheme is stirring among the Swiss, who are not eligible.

A spokesman for the Green party said it was "shocked by these unjust privileges given to rich foreigners".

Opponents of the scheme told AFP that they will seek a national referendum on the issue, adding that they have until October 17th to gather the 100,000 signatures required.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.