Referendum vote on 13 February 2022

In summer 2021, the Swiss parliament accepted a bill which would see the Swiss issuance stamp tax on equity contributions abolished. After a referendum request by the social democratic party, the Swiss voters will have the final say in a referendum vote on 13 February 2022. The tax makes up only a marginal amount of the federal governments tax revenue with income on average of less than CHF 250 million in the past seven to eight years.

See our prior coverage on the background for the proposal here.

The consequences if successful

If the bill successfully passes the vote, Switzerland will finally get rid of its equity stamp tax of 1%. The tax is levied on any equity contributions to a Swiss legal entity made by the direct shareholder. In practice, it can typically be avoided due to extensive exemptions on intra-group reorganizations or by way of contributions made by an indirect shareholder.

The stamp tax has notably been criticized during the early stages of the corona pandemic as it basically penalizes business owners if they strengthen the equity basis – whereas debt can be repaid without any tax implications and allows for deductible interest expenses. Its abolishing would reduce costs on financing for all Swiss businesses and facilitate investments through convertible debt instruments.