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Making the Tax System Less Distortive in Switzerland

24 April 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Author: Andre Fuentes
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Source: Andre Fuentes (OECD)

The tax burden in Switzerland is low in international comparison, largely reflecting the substantial non-tax compulsory contributions towards the health and pension systems which are managed by private institutions. Taxation of personal income and labour earnings is relatively high, whereas the taxation of consumption is low. Empirical research on OECD economies and on Switzerland specifically indicates that shifting taxation away from personal income towards the taxation of consumption would strengthen incentives to engage in economic activity. The structure of the corporate tax burden could be improved to remove disincentives for small firms to grow. Reducing the generous provisions which allow interest payments to be deducted from taxable personal income would reduce incentives for households to excessively leverage their wealth, with benefits both for financial stability and equity in the tax system. While tax competition among sub-national authorities has reinforced fiscal discipline, adverse side effects on equity could be reduced, including through greater reliance on real estate taxation in municipalities. This Working Paper relates to the 2012 OECD Economic Survey of Switzerland (www.oecd.org/eco/surveys/switzerland).

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