Swiss Parliament In Agreement Over Tax Reform Plans

By Global Tax Weekly

A few years ago, the Swiss Government put many of its eggs into a corporate tax reform basket called Corporate Tax Reform III (incidentally, does anyone remember Corporate Tax Reform I or II? Is this a rare case of a sequel being more memorable than the original?). These are intended to remove a series of “harmful” tax regimes and generally bring Switzerland’s tax regime into line with international tax standards, while also ensuring the country remains competitive on tax. However, the proposals were somewhat cruelly struck down at the very last legislative hurdle as the people voted against them in a referendum.

Fearing the wrath of the European Union and yet another reputational battering, the Swiss Government had little choice but to almost immediately pick itself up, dust itself down, and start writing the script for CTR IV, which eventually became known as Tax Proposal 2017, or TP17 for short. And the proposals took a major step forward recently when the two houses of Switzerland’s Parliament said that they are largely in agreement on the main points of the changes.

Top marks, then, for persistence on the part of the Government. Although I have to say it’s a bit short on inspiration when it comes to naming these initiatives. Can’t they come up with a satisfyingly pithy, yet still relevant, acronym for the tax reforms, like they do all the time on The Hill? Who knows, it might even help to stir the Swiss public’s imagination. The Government has repeatedly emphasized that Switzerland simply can’t afford to get left behind in an increasingly transparent world, and that the country’s economic future effectively hangs on these reforms. Perhaps Swiss voters would find it easier to rally round a bill called the SAVIOR Act, for example? I know what the first letter could be.

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