Swiss Shipping Tonnage Taxation Loses Support

Swiss Shipping Tonnage Taxation Loses Support

Wed, Apr 24th 2024

Switzerland’s shipping industry faces continued taxation on profit rather than tonnage, the National Council’s committee opposes the changes.

KEYSTONE/Gaetan Bally

Shipping companies will probably not be taxed at a flat rate in Switzerland going forward. The Council of States, the responsible committee of the National Council does not want to support the proposal.

By 15 votes to 9, the National Council’s Economic Affairs Committee (WAK-N) has asked the large chamber not to accept the bill.

According to the press release, the committee’s decision was based on the unclear financial impact and the critical assessment of constitutionality. The majority now wants to refrain from introducing the tonnage tax.

The Council of States did not support the bill last March. If the National Council now follows suit, the bill is off the table.

In December 2022, the National Council was still in favour of the tonnage tax. A minority of the WAK-N still wants to adhere to the bill.

In 2016, the councils wanted Swiss deep-sea shipping companies to be able to tax their ships according to their loading capacity.

This would replace taxation based on the actual profit or loss generated. Parliament requested an implementation proposal from the Federal Council.

The tonnage tax would significantly reduce the tax burden for companies. The proponents of the bill wanted to ensure a level playing field compared to competitors abroad. Such a tax already exists there.

However, the left-wing green party criticized the planned move as an “industry-specific tax subsidy” and threatened a referendum.

Finance Minister Karin Keller-Sutter told SRF radio in February that, in view of the ailing federal finances, tax relief was not advisable at the moment.


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