Bank fines no longer tax deductible under new bill
The Swiss lower house of parliament has approved a bill that would prevent banks from being able to continue deducting fines for wrongdoing from their taxable income.
The house of representatives on Monday voted 115 to 55 for the proposal, already backed by the senate, against the wishes of the right-wing Swiss People's Party.
The collective population should not have to suffer the financial consequences caused by the reprehensible behaviour of businesses, Dominique de Buman, an MP from Fribourg for the centre-right Christian Democrats, is quoted as saying by the ATS news agency.
Switzerland’s largest banks, UBS and Credit Suisse, have faced hundreds of millions of francs in penalties for aiding tax evasion and other financial infractions that they have been able to essentially treat as business expenses.
The motion approved by the lower house aims to align federal and cantonal laws that are currently different with regard to the tax issue, ATS said.
The change, however, would not be retroactive, as left-wing parties wanted.
The legislation aims to make financial penalties for criminal activities no longer tax deductible, along with fines for administrative wrongdoing in cases when the penalties are meant to be punitive.
The federal government has promised to review the proposal.
Among other issues, the lower house of parliament also voted 129 to 51 in favour of relaunching a plan to replace the sticker, or "vignette", paid annually by motorists for the right to drive on Swiss motorways with an electronic chip attached to the licence plate.
The federal government earlier sought such a system but abandoned the idea after voters rejected a proposed hike in the annual motorway fee to 100 francs from the current 40 francs.