Zurich eyes halving corporate tax: minister

Zurich, Switzerland's largest city and financial hub, may cut its corporate tax rate nearly in half if foreign firms lose fiscal benefits amid EU pressure, the regional financial chief said on Tuesday.

Zurich eyes halving corporate tax: minister
Photo: FDP/Die Liberalen

Zurich and the surrounding canton that carries its name is considering slashing its corporate tax rate from the current 26.9 percent to "between 14 and 16 percent", canton finance minister Ursula Gut-Winterberger told the Neue Zürcher Zeitung daily's online edition.

By doing so, Switzerland's economic centre would aim to convince foreign companies to remain in the canton even if Switzerland bows to EU pressure and alters a system allowing such firms to pay less taxes than Swiss companies.

Gut-Winterberger acknowledged though that such a steep corporate tax cut could not be carried out unless Switzerland agreed to help shoulder the burden, with the move expected to result in a canton-wide tax revenue loss of 500 million francs ($540 million) — 350 million of that in the city of Zurich alone.

The Zurich proposal follows a similar proposal presented in Geneva last week, suggesting that Switzerland's second-largest business hub should cut its corporate tax rate from around 24 to 13 percent in a bid to hold onto foreign firms if their preferential fiscal status is abolished.

A report commissioned by Geneva authorities predicted that stripping foreign firms of their special status could push more than 900 multi-national companies to leave, costing the canton some 3.7 billion Swiss francs and around 20,000 jobs.

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Swiss rail to close ticket counters in Zurich, Bern, Vaud, Ticino and Zug

Switzerland’s Federal Railways (SBB) will be removing the ticket counter from nine stations in the cantons of Zurich, Vaud, Bern, Zug and Ticino

Swiss rail to close ticket counters in Zurich, Bern, Vaud, Ticino and Zug

The SBB made the announcement on Wednesday, saying the decision was made due to a lack of demand. 

Instead, commuters will need to buy tickets from automated machines. 

In the canton of Zurich, the ticket stations in Dietlikon, Hinwil, Kloten, Männedorf and Oberwinterthur will be closed. 

In neighbouring Zug, Cham’s ticket counter will be closed, while the Herzogenbuchsee station in Bern will also go fully automated. 

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In Latin Switzerland, Pully in Vaud and Biasca in Ticino will see their ticket counters closed. 

The SBB told Swiss news outlet Watson that approximately 95 percent of ticket sales are now made via self-service machines or online. 

The advent of navigation apps has meant the need for personal advice on directions and travel has fallen, particularly in smaller areas or stations with lower traffic.