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Swiss upper house calls on executive to end marriage tax penalty

© Katarzyna Bialasiewicz |

In Switzerland, some married couples pay more tax than unmarried ones, something referred to as the marriage tax penalty.

The issue has been doing the rounds of the halls of Switzerland’s government for around 30 years.

On 28 February 2016, a vote to change the current system was narrowly rejected by 50.8% of voters. Then in April 2019, the result of this referendum was reversed by the Federal Tribunal, Switzerland’s highest court, due to a statistical error. Ahead of the vote the Federal Council said that only 80,000 married couples were penalised by the current system. However, it was later revealed that 700,000 were worse off.

In response to this decision the Federal Council proposed calculating federal taxes twice. Once assuming couples were married and again assuming they were single. Then the lower of the two amounts would be paid.

This week, the Council of States, Switzerland’s upper house, decided by 13 votes to 12 that the Federal Council’s plan doesn’t go far enough, in particular it doesn’t include the negative impact marriage has on social security, according to 20 Minutes.

If the government is unable to come up with a solution that satisfies a majority then the 2016 referendum will need to be rerun by 27 September 2020 at the latest.

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About Le News
Le News
The newspaper Le News is a free, quality, local English language newspaper launched on 31 October 2013. Le News fills a gap in local Swiss media for the numerous English-speakers living and visiting Switzerland. In late January 2015 we decided to put our print medium on hold and focus on our digital media presence.
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