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Results of the vote of February 13, 2022: abolition stamp duty equity capital rejected

February15, 2022 |Taxes

Results of the vote of February 13, 2022: abolition stamp duty equity capital rejected

In a referendum on February 13, 2022 the citizens of Switzerland voted (62.7%) on the rejection of the reform, which had to abolish the issuance tax. The referendum was initiated by the Left parties (Social Democrats, Greens, ex-communists from the Swiss Labor Party) and trade unions. They believe that the reform could only benefit the richest companies, which already often received in the past benefited from a large number of tax breaks.
What is the issuance tax?

Issuance tax is a stamp duty that has to be paid if a company increases its equity capital by issuing securities. This fee is currently 1% of fresh capital acquired and is only charged on amounts in excess of one million francs.

First of all, this tax is important for large companies operating in the financial sector. The Swiss government estimated that around 2,300 companies paid emission tax in 2020. In addition, some companies replenished their capital on the market several times during the reporting period. With a share of 2.2%, such transactions brought the federal budget more than 51% of all revenues from this fee. In value terms, this fee gives the federal budget a total of about 250 million Swiss francs per year. 
February 13, 2022 vote abolition stamp duty equity capital rejected
Stamp duty reform 

The idea of this tax dates back to 2009, when the parliamentary faction of the Liberal-Radical Party put forward an initiative to phase out three types of stamp duties: issuance, trading and insurance premiums. The purpose of this reform was to "increase the level of international business activity." 

However, it took a long time to implement this idea since it was divided into three separate bills. As a result, parliament suspended discussions on the reform several times to consult with stakeholders and harmonize it with other parts of this reform. And only in December 2020 the House of Representatives narrowly decided to move forward with the abolition of stamp duty to encourage investment in Swiss companies and help them overcome the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. It was followed in June 2020 by Senate, which also approved this reform.

The reform was supported by business circles, right-wing and centre parties, which make up the majority in parliament. They believe that this measure would have a positive impact not only on enterprises wishing to settle in Switzerland but also on companies implementing large-scale investment projects. The initiative committee that organized the referendum claims that the abolition of this fee could affect only about five dozen multinational corporations, insurance companies and banks. At the same time, small and medium-sized enterprises and their employees would not benefit from this abolition.


Legal disclaimer. This article does not constitute legal advice and does not establish an attorney-client relationship. The article should be used for informational purposes only.

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