Tag Archive: Editor’s Choice

Taxes – one in seven in some Swiss cantons has unpaid tax

The cantons of Neuchâtel (14.7%) and Geneva (14.6%) have the highest percentages of taxpayers owing money, according to the newspaper SonntagsBlick. Fribourg (12.6%), Bern (9.5%) and Luzern (6.5%) complete the top-five. Vaud (5.9%), Basel-City (5.5%) and Zurich (2.4%) are further down. Aargau (2.0%) and Uri (1.0%) sit at the bottom with fewest with oustanding tax payments.

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Healthcare costs rise further in Switzerland

Statistics published today show a further rise in Swiss healthcare costs. In 2016, spending on healthcare rose by 3.8% reaching over CHF 80 billion, 12.2% of GDP. In 2015, Swiss healthcare spending was equal to 11.9% of GDP. The challenge of rising healthcare costs is not confined to Switzerland. In the UK in 2015, healthcare costs rose 3.6% to reach 9.9% of GDP.

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Insurance boss suggests Swiss health insurance deductibles of 10,000 francs

Philomena Colatrella, the CEO of Swiss insurer CSS Insurance, has stirred the lively debate around Switzerland’s rising cost of health insurance by proposing deductibles of CHF 5,000 and CHF 10,000 – deductibles set the amount people pay out of their own pockets before their insurance kicks in.

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Swiss welfare recipient made to repay 173,000 francs

In some parts of Switzerland welfare payments are effectively loans that must be repaid when the recipient’s financial situation improves. According to the Aargauer Zeitung, a welfare recipient in the commune of Klingnau in the canton of Aargau received a bill of 173,000 francs after he came into some money. A windfall of 173,000 francs is rare, according to Rolf Walker, head of administration at the commune.

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Food consumes far less of Swiss budgets than it did 25 years ago

Comparing the most recent statistics on Swiss consumer inflation to those in 1993 reveals a steep drop in the percentage of spending allocated to food. When statisticians calculate consumer price rises they look at the prices of a standard basket of goods. In 1993, food and non-alcoholic beverages made up 14.3% of the value of this standard basket. By 2018, the percentage had fallen to 10.4%, a 27% drop.

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Tax and spend – canton of Geneva generates a surprise budget surplus

When Geneva’s finances make the news it is typically bad. At the end of 2016, the canton had debts of CHF 12.5 billion, equal to 153% of its income. In January 2018, the rating agency Standard and Poors gave Geneva a negative outlook citing risks related to the canton’s poorly funded public pension scheme.

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Swiss government set to remove ‘mariage tax penalty’

In Switzerland, married couples file one combined tax return. Because tax rates rise in line with income it means that second incomes of married couples are taxed at a higher rate than those of single cohabitating ones. Those campaigning to have this changed argue that it is unfair and acts as a disincentive for second income earners.

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Raising Switzerland’s retirement age – like death and taxes

Last week, State Councillor Peter Hegglin (PDC/CVP) withdrew his motion demanding Switzerland’s retirement age automatically rise with life expectancy. He argues that Switzerland urgently needs to find a way to ensure the financial health of its pension system and raising the retirement age is the main way to do this.

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Geneva’s mega apartment project now underway – 1,000 apartments and 2,500 jobs

Last week, work started on a project to construct 1,000 apartments in Geneva. The project known as the Quartier de l’Etang will unfold over an 11 hectare site in Vernier, not far from Geneva airport. The video above shows the commencement ceremony and a computer animation of the completed project.

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Switzerland’s parliament rejects plan to cut health insurance discounts

Switzerland has a system of compulsory health insurance. Residents must choose an insurer and pay. Those who don’t are automatically signed up and sent a bill. Other than shopping around, choosing a policy with an excess, a sum that must be covered out of your own pocket before the insurance kicks in, is one of the few ways to reduce your premium.

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Switzerland – a definition of middle class

A recent survey calculates 60.1% of Switzerland’s population was middle class in 2015, a figure that has remained broadly stable since 1998, reaching its highest in 2009 (61.3%) and lowest in 2013 (56.8%). But what is middle class in Switzerland? According to Switzerland’s Federal Statistical Office, it is anyone living in a household with a gross income between 70% and 150% of the gross median income.

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Swiss politicians with links to health sector can still fully participate in health commissions

Lukas Reimann, a parliamentarian and member of the Swiss Peoples Party (UDC/SVP), fought to have parliamentarians paid by health companies partially excluded from government commissions dealing with health issues. He thinks vested interests are behind high health premiums and that cartels must be broken.

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Swiss federal finances – surplus of billions in 2017

While many national governments, such as the US and UK, regularly spend more than they collect, Switzerland managed a CHF 2.8 billion surplus in 2017. In addition, CHF 2 billion of withholding tax is expected, which would push the surplus up to CHF 4.8 billion.

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Vaud – vote on divisive dental tax and care plan

On 4 March 2018, voters in Vaud will vote on a plan to provide basic universal dental care funded by a tax on salaries. The initiative entitled: Reimbursement of dental care, Pour le remboursement des soins dentaires in French, claims that 10% of the population avoid the dentist because of the cost. They also claim links between poor dental health and cancer, diabetes and premature births. Their plan envisages the creation of a network of...

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Switzerland tops latest financial secrecy index

While Switzerland isn’t the most financially secretive nation in the Tax Justice Network’s recently published report, its combination of size and secrecy pushed it into first place, the worst rank in the Financial Secrecy Index 2018. Size is factored in because it measures the damage a nation’s financial secrecy has on the world, says The Tax Justice Network.

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Ticket cheats in Switzerland soon to be listed in a national register

Tickets cannot be bought on public transport in Switzerland. Passengers are required to have a ticket before boarding. Those caught on public transport without one will soon have their names put into a national register. This will ensure progressively higher fines are issued to repeat offenders.

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Swiss real estate risk falls two quarters in a row, says UBS

The UBS Swiss Real Estate Bubble Index declined in the last quarter of 2017, the second quarterly decline in a row. Prices are considered balanced when the index reaches zero. Between zero and 1 is considered a price boom, between 1 and 2 is considered at risk and above 2 a bubble. At the end of 2017 the index sat at 1.32, still in the zone where there is a risk of a price correction.

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Swiss cross-border shopping not always worth it, says study

In 2015, Swiss residents made 24 million shopping trips abroad. The average Swiss-based cross-border shopper travelled 69 kilometres to shop in a neighbouring country, 55 kilometres further than they did when shopping in Switzerland, according to a study published by Credit Suisse.

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Push to extend shop opening hours to 8pm in Geneva

The Swiss People’s Party (UDC/SVP) in Geneva wants shopping hours in Geneva to be standardized and extended. In general, French-speaking Switzerland has stricter laws on opening hours that the rest of Switzerland. For example a Migros store in Zurich is open until 9pm every night except Sunday. A similar store in Geneva is only open until 9pm one day a week. The rest of the week it shuts between 6pm and 7:30pm.

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Swiss fact: nearly half of Swiss rental properties owned by individuals

If you rent a home in Switzerland it is more likely to belong to an individual than a big real estate company or pension fund. In 2017, 49% of residential rental properties in Switzerland were owned by individuals, according to Statistics published by the Swiss Federal Statistical Office. The highest rate of rental home ownership by individuals was in the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino (71%). The lowest rate was in the Lake Geneva region (41%).

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