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Switzerland

14 January 2022

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Swiss Federal Council Decided to Implement OECD Minimum Tax by Constitutional Amendment

The Swiss Federal Council has announced its decision to provide for the implementation of the OECD minimum tax through a constitutional amendment to allow the new rules to come into force on 1 January 2024. Implementation of the minimum tax on a constitutional basis is seen as needed for two main reasons, which include timing issues with the ordinary legislative process and the need to legitimize the unequal treatment of the companies affected. Click the following links for a Factsheet and Q&A on the implementation of the minimum tax rate.

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Implementation of OECD minimum tax rate by constitutional amendment

Bern, 13.01.2022 - During its meeting on 12 January 2022, the Federal Council decided to implement the minimum tax rate for certain companies agreed by the OECD and G20 member states by means of a constitutional amendment. Based on that decision, a temporary ordinance should ensure that the minimum tax rate comes into force on 1 January 2024. The law will be enacted subsequently in the ordinary manner.

The amendment of Swiss law will be carried out with a sense of proportion and focusing on an attractive business location. With the involvement of Parliament, the cantons and the people (referendum), a new constitutional basis will be created in order to provide legal certainty for the affected companies. On that basis, the Federal Council will issue a temporary ordinance that implements the minimum tax rate as of 1 January 2024. Thereafter, the legal basis can be prepared in an ordinary legislative procedure without time pressure and the ordinance will be replaced.

A minimum tax rate of 15% for multinational companies with turnover of more than EUR 750 million has been agreed by 137 countries. If a country maintains lower tax rates, other countries can impose an additional tax on those undertaxed companies. The incorporation of a minimum tax rate into Swiss law ensures that large companies do not get involved in foreign proceedings. Furthermore, Switzerland should not forgo any tax receipts to which it is entitled to.

Material implementation

The minimum tax should be collected in a targeted manner and with due regard for federalism. Nothing shall change for purely domestically focused companies and SMEs. The Federal Council has adopted the following content-related parameters:

  • Ensure the minimum tax rate for multinational companies with annual turnover of at least EUR 750 million (see basic information).
  • Collection of the additional taxes by the cantons. The additional tax receipts go to the cantons.
  • The additional tax receipts are subject to the general rules for national fiscal equalization.

Implications for Switzerland as a business location

Certain companies will face a heavier tax burden. The minimum rate will spare them additional tax proceedings abroad. Switzerland will have fiscal policy leeway to counteract a possible loss of attractivity as a business location. The cantons will make sovereign decisions on measures in favour of the location.

The Confederation, cantons, cities and communes will work closely together on the implementation of the proposal. Among other things, the Federal Department of Finance has set up a political consultative body in which all three levels of government are represented.

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