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In 2013, the Swiss Parliament approved a law that allows Swiss banks to cooperate with United States tax authorities as specified in the FATCA.

Some bank accounts are afforded an extra degree of privacy. Information concerning such accounts, known as numbered accounts, is restricted to senior bank officers, rather than being accessible to all the employees of a bank. HP Pavilion dv6-3070tx CPU Fan

However, the information required to open such an account is no different from that of an ordinary account; completely anonymous accounts are not allowed by law. Should a criminal investigation take place, law enforcement has access to information related to a numbered account in the same way it has access to information about any other account. IBM 41W5269 CPU Fan

There are several measures in place to counter money laundering. The Money Laundering Act sets forth requirements of account holders' identification, and requires reporting of any suspicious transactions to the Money Laundering Reporting Office.[50]

According to the CIA World Factbook, Switzerland is "a major international financial center vulnerable to the layering and integration stages of money laundering; ASUS A8H CPU Fan

despite significant legislation and reporting requirements, secrecy rules persist and nonresidents are permitted to conduct business through offshore entities and various intermediaries..."[51] However, Switzerland's cooperation in transnational financial issues has been praised by several major U.S. officials. SONY UDQFRZH13CF0 CPU Fan

A Federal Bureau of Investigation anti-terrorism official noted that Switzerland was one of several countries to participate in joint task forces targeting financing of Al-Qaeda terrorist cells; a former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury praised Swiss cooperation and the country's assistance in the finding and freezing of terrorist and Iraqi assets. HP COMPAQ 2510P CPU Fan

Swiss bank secrecy was dealt a severe setback by the revelations made by ex-UBS banker Bradley Birkenfeld, who blew the whistle on UBS providing Americans with vehicles to hide up US$20 billion in assets to avoid taxes.[53][54][55] Birkenfeld's revelations to the U.S. government concerning UBS's practices led to a massive fraud investigation against the Swiss bank UBS.[56][57][58] As a result of the information he gave U.S. authorities, the DOJ announced it had reached adeferred prosecution agreement (DPA) with UBS that resulted in a $780 million fine and the release of previously privileged information on American tax evaders.[59][60]

On 11 September 2012, the U.S. IRS Whistleblower Office paid Birkenfeld a $104 million award for acting as a corporate whistleblower.[61] APPLE 661-4951 CPU Fan

The Swiss media credit Birkenfeld's act with affecting a sea change in Swiss banking. After Birkenfeld's award, the Swiss newspaper Blick claimed, “Birkenfeld was a blessing for the Swiss financial industry,” in that his revelations helped accelerate the industry's transition away from from its reliance on “dirty” money by dooming the bank secrecy laws that enabled tax evasion.[62] HP Pavilion dv6-3034ca CPU Fan

Birkenfeld has compared the Swiss banking industry with gangsters. "In essence, bank secrecy is analogous to criminal racketeering — and the Swiss government, along with every Swiss private banker, is a co-conspirator.

Swiss Banks are alleged to stash black money (money not reported to the government for tax purposes);[64][65] reportedly, the value of deposits in Swiss banks by Indians exceeds the value of deposits by any other nationality.[64] HP G56-126NR CPU Fan

Editor-in-chief for WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, noted that, as per documents of bank accounts by a former banker and whistleblower Rudolf Elmer, the "names in the documents came from 'US, Britain, Germany, Austria and Asia' – from all over".

Several inquiries have been made into the conduct of Swiss banks during the Nazi Germany period (1933–1945), especially regarding funds deposited by or allegedly stolen from victims of the Holocaust. Compaq Presario C556CA CPU Fan

The campaign causing the highest outlays (US$1.25 billion in 1999) on the part of the Swiss banking industry as of 2009 was the World Jewish Congress lawsuit against Swiss banks launched by Edgar Bronfman, president of the World Jewish Congress, in concert with US Senator Alfonse d'Amato of New York.[72]

The audit run by the Volcker commission which resulted from this lawsuit cost CHF300 million and gave its final report in December 1999. SONY Vaio VGN-NR360E CPU Fan

It determined that the 1999 book value of all dormant accounts possibly belonging to victims of Nazi persecution that were unclaimed, closed by the Nazis, or closed by unknown persons was CHF95 million. Of this total, CHF24 million were "probably" related to victims of Nazi persecution.[73] In addition the commission found "no proof of systematic destruction of records of victim accounts, organized discrimination against the accounts of victims of  persecution, HP Pavilion dv5170us CPU Fan

or concerted efforts to divert the funds of victims of Nazi persecution to improper purposes." It also "confirmed evidence of questionable and deceitful actions by some individual banks in the handling of accounts of victims".[73]

In response to the lawsuit, the Swiss government commissioned an independent panel of international scholars known as the Bergier Commission to study the relationship between Switzerland and the Nazi regime. SONY Vaio VPC-EE3WFX/WI CPU Fan

It reached similar conclusions about the banks' conduct in its final report,[74] and found that trade with Nazi Germany did not significantly prolong the war.

With recent changes in the Swiss bank secrecy regime the assets held by foreign persons in Swiss bank accounts declined according to data by the Swiss National Bank (SNB) by 28.1% between January 2008 and November 2009.] Other states, such as Singapore, have attracted depositors seeking privacy and protection. HP G56-126NR CPU Fan

Having taken steps to make its banks more attractive, Singapore strengthened penalties for violators of bank secrecy (and now imposes steeper fines and longer jail sentences for offenders), and modified its laws on trusts and inheritance. Singapore is also now the location of Credit Suisse's international banking headquarters.[75] Despite these changes, however, Switzerland still ranks at the top of the Tax Justice Network's "Financial Secrecy Index" as of 2011. HP 3MLX8TATP20 CPU Fan

numbered bank account is a type of bank account where the name of the account holder is kept secret, and they identify themselves to the bank by means of a code word known only by the account holder and a restricted number of bank employees, thus providing accountholders with a degree of bank privacy in their financial transactions. SONY Vaio VGN-NW240F/S CPU Fan

Numbered bank accounts are frequently associated in the public mind with a desire by the account holder to either minimize governmental scrutiny and taxation, perhaps to conceal an illegal or unethical origin of the money in the account or to avoid arbitrary government interference in the affairs of a political dissident. For this reason, numbered bank accounts are illegal in most banking jurisdictions, SONY Vaio VPC-EB1Z0E/B CPU Fan

but are available (subject to heavy international regulations) in some Western European countries with a long tradition of specializing in international banking, such as Switzerland and Austria; the holder has to be fully identified but there is no law that enforces the bank to fix the name of the holder in the title of the account.[1] Compaq Presario CQ60-514NR CPU Fan

Modern numbered bank accounts are not fully "anonymous", but they do serve to provide the account holder with a greater degree of protection from scrutiny while minimizing the exposure of the account holder's name in public settings. For example, the Swiss banking system (in contrast to banks in other countries) will not reveal information about an account (whether "numbered" or not) Toshiba Satellite X205-S9800 CPU Fan


to any governmental agency unless proof of deliberate fraud is established, not merely thenon-reporting of assets in order to avoid taxation. However, bilateral treaties negotiated in 2009 between Switzerland and a number of countries may weaken this type of protection from scrutiny,[2] as did a special agreement negotiated in 2009 between the United States and Switzerland concerning clients of the bank UBSSA.[3] Compaq Presario CQ60-430SA CPU Fan

In order to restrict the use of numbered accounts for money laundering and other forms of financial fraud, the Council of Europe mandated in 1980 that numbered bank accounts be subject to international and domestic regulations pertaining to the verification of the identities of account holders and their activities.[4][5] Under these regulations, DELL BFB0505HA CPU Fan

banks which operate numbered accounts may be required by a court order to reveal the owner's name and financial details, and the identity of the holder or beneficial owner must be examined for obvious fraudulent intentions at the start of the banking relationship.[6][7]Since July 1, 2005, Switzerland (as the largest holder of European numbered bank accounts) HP Pavilion dv5-1272et CPU Fan

has also charged a withholding tax on all interest earned in the personal Swiss accounts of European Union residents, a measure designed to satisfy EU tax requirements while still preserving account holder anonymity.

With the advent of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, users store digital currency in numbered accounts. These accounts are not managed by any central authority and do not have any personal identification attached to them. Toshiba AB7005HX-SB3 CPU Fan

However, it should be noted that in some instances an identity could be connected to these types of numbered accounts. For example: Bitcoin uses a public ledger called the blockchain to determine what accounts have ownership of currency. By tracing known transactions to and from the account an identity could be established. Toshiba Satellite A500-18T CPU Fan

Also, if an account is controlled by an entity on behalf of a user for whom the entity has identity information (such as a currency exchange) that entity could reveal the ownership of the account.

The Swiss economy is characterised by a skilled and generally 'peaceful' workforce. One quarter of the country's full-time workers are unionised. Labour and management relations are amicable, characterised by a willingness to settle disputes instead of resorting to labour action. HP Pavilion dv5-2135dx CPU Fan

They take place between trade unions and branch associations, that are themselves often grouped in Union of Employers, like the Fédération patronale vaudoise or the Fédération des Entreprises Romandes Genève. About 600 collective bargaining agreements exist today in Switzerland and are regularly renewed without major problems. ASUS EEE PC 1201NL CPU Fan

With the peak of the number of bankruptcies in 2003, however, the mood was pessimistic. Massive layoffs and dismissals by enterprises resulting from the global economic slowdown, major management scandals and different foreign investment attitudes have strained the traditional Swiss labour peace. Swiss trade unions have encouraged strikes against several companies, including Swiss International Air Lines, Coca-Cola, and Orange. Total days lost to strikes, however, remain among the lowest in the OECD. SONY Vaio VGN-NW240D/T CPU Fan

Switzerland is among the world's most prosperous countries in terms of private income. In 2007 the gross median household income in Switzerland was an estimated 107,748 CHF, or USD 137,094 at purchasing power parity (PPP).] The median income after social security, taxes and mandatory health insurance was 75,312 CHF, or USD 95,824 at PPP.][dubious – discuss] Compaq Presario CQ60-418DX CPU Fan

In October 2011, Switzerland had the highest average wealth per adult, at USD 540,000 (c. 325,000 at PPP)[32] This development was tied to the exchange rate between the US Dollar and the Swiss franc, which caused capital in Swiss francs to more than double its value in dollar terms during the 2000s and especially in the wake of the financial crisis of 2007–2008, without any direct increase in value in terms of domestic purchasing power.[33] SONY Vaio VGN-NW240D CPU Fan

At the same time, wealth distribution of Switzerland has the high Gini coefficient of 0.8, indicating unequal distribution, see list of countries by distribution of wealth.[34] The high average wealth is explained by a comparatively high number of individuals who are extremely wealthy and says nothing about a typical Swiss citizen. The median wealth of a Swiss adult (50th percentile) is five times lower than the average, at USD 100,900 (c. USD 61,000 at PPP). SONY VGN-BX197XP CPU Fan

This article is about the demographic features of the population of Switzerland, including population density, ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population.

Switzerland has a population of 8.02 million as of 2012. Its population has quadrupled over the period 1800 to 1990 (average doubling time 95 years). Toshiba Satellite L645D-S4056 CPU Fan

Population growth was steepest in the period after World War II (1.4% per annum during 1950-1970, doubling time 50 years), it slowed down during the 1970s to 1980s and has since again picked up to 1% during the 2000s (doubling time 70 years).

More than 75% of the population live in the central plain, which stretches between the Alps and the Jura Mountains and from Geneva in the southwest to the Rhine River and Lake Constance in the northeast. Toshiba AB7805HX-GB3 CPU Fan

Resident foreigners and temporary foreign workers make up about 20% of the population.

Encompassing the Central Alps, Switzerland sits at the crossroads of several major European cultures. Its population includes a two-thirds majority of Alemannic German speakers and a one-quarter Latin minority (French, Italian and Romansh), see linguistic geography of Switzerland. 10% of the population natively speak an immigrant language. Toshiba Satellite L500-208 CPU Fan

Switzerland consistently ranks high on quality of life indices, including per capita income, concentration of computer and internet usage per capita, insurance coverage per individual, and health care rates. For these and many other reasons, such as the four languages, it serves as an excellent test market for businesses hoping to introduce new products into Europe. HP 535441-001 CPU Fan

The Federal Population Census (German: Eidgenössische Volkszählung, French: Recensement fédéral de la population, Italian: Censimento federale della popolazione, Romansh: Dumbraziun federala dal pievel) has been carried out every 10 years starting in 1850.[1] The census was initiated by Federal CouncillorStefano Franscini, who evaluated the data of the first census all by himself after Parliament failed to provide the necessary funds.[2] Toshiba Satellite P100-444 CPU Fan

The census is now being conducted by the Swiss Federal Statistical Office, which makes most results available on its website.

Collected data includes population data (citizenship, place of residence, place of birth, position in household, number of children, religion, languages, education, profession, place of work, etc.), household data (number of individuals living in the household, etc.), accommodation data (surface area, amount of rent paid, etc.) HP Pavilion dv7-3114eo CPU Fan

and building data (geocoordinates, time of construction, number of floors, etc.). Participation is compulsory and reached 99.87% of the population in 2000.[3]

Since 2010, the population census has been carried out and analysed annually in a new format by the Federal Statistical Office (FSO). In order to ease the burden on the population, the information is primarily drawn from population registers and supplemented by sample surveys. HP Mini 110-1125SA CPU Fan

Only a small proportion of the population (about 5%) are surveyed in writing or by telephone. The first reference day for the new census was 31 December 2010.

During the 19th and 20th centuries, population growth rate has been at 0.7% to 0.8%, with a doubling time of ca. 90 years. In the later 20th century, the growth rate has fallen below 0.7% (1980s: 0.64%; 1990s: 0.65%), and in the 2000s it has risen again slightly (2000–2006: 0.69%), mostly due to immigration. HP KSB06105HA CPU Fan

In 2007 the population grew at a much higher 1.1% rate, again mostly due to immigration. For 2008, the population grew 1.6%, a level not seen since the early 1960s.

As population growth curbs, the percentage of elderly people increases. In July 2006, the Swiss Federal Office of Statistics published a projection estimating that by 2050, one in three adult Swiss will be of retirement age (as opposed to one in five in 2005). Compaq Presario CQ60-210eo CPU Fan

Total population was projected to stagnate in 2036 at around 8.1 million and fall slightly to 8 million in 2050.

The number of registered resident foreigners was 1,001,887 (16.17%) in 1970. This amount decreased to 904,337 (14.34%) in 1979, and has increased steadily since that time, passing the 20% mark during 2001 and rising to 1,524,663 (20.56%) in 2004. HP Pavilion dv7-2250sf CPU Fan

The number of Swiss citizens thus numbered about 5.9 million in that year.

In 2007, 1.45 million resident foreigners (85.4%, or 19.1% of the total population[12]), had European citizenship (Italian: 295,507; German: 224,324; citizens of Serbia and Montenegro: 196,078; Portuguese: 193,299; French: 83,129; Turkish: 75,382; Spanish: 66,519, Macedonian: 60,509; Bosnian: 41,654; HP 434678-001 CPU Fan

Croatian: 38,144; Austrian: 36,155; British: 32,207). ; 109,113 residents were from Asia; 69,010 from the Americas; 66,599 from Africa; and 3,777 from Oceania.[13]

In 2004, 35,700 people acquired Swiss citizenship according to Swiss nationality law, a figure slightly larger than that of the previous year (35,424), and four times larger than the 1990 figure (8,658). HP G60-230us CPU Fan

About a third of those naturalized are from a successor state of Former Yugoslavia: 7,900 Serbia-Montenegro, 2,400 Bosnia-Herzegowina, 2,000 Macedonia, 1,600 Croatia. 4,200 were from Italy, 3,600 from Turkey, 1,600 from Sri Lanka, 1,200 from Portugal, and 1,200 from France.[14]

The yearly rate of naturalization has quintupled over the 1990s and 2000s, from roughly 9,000 to 45,000. HP Pavilion dv6365us CPU Fan

Relative to the population of resident foreigners, this amounts to an increase from 8‰ in 1990 to 27‰ in 2007, or relative to the number of Swiss citizens from 1.6‰ in 1990 to 7.3‰ in 2007. The following table shows the historical development of the rate of naturalization.

In recent decades, many Portuguese and Ukrainians represent large immigrant communities in the country]HP 535439-001 CPU Fan

Tamil refugees fleeing from war in Sri Lanka are the largest number of Asians, while Albanians and other former Yugoslavians continue to grow in number. Switzerland is also the second largest European country in number of acceptance of Iraqi refugees fleeing from the violence in Iraq since 2003, but behind Great Britain, Germany and Sweden in the number of Iraqis taken residence for a European country. COMPAQ 6910c CPU Fan

In 2004, 623,100 Swiss citizens (8.9%) lived abroad, the largest group in France (166,200), followed by the USA (71,400) and Germany (70,500). (see Swiss diaspora).

Switzerland has no state religion, though most of the cantons (except for Geneva and Neuchâtel) recognize official churches (Landeskirchen), in all cases including the Catholic Church and the Swiss Reformed Church. IBM Lenovo IdeaPad G510 CPU Fan

These churches, and in some cantons also the Old Catholic Church and Jewish congregations, are financed by official taxation of adherents.Christianity is the predominant religion of Switzerland but is slowly shrinking over the decades (74% of total resident population in 2010). 20% of the total population were irreligious in 2010. The largest minority religion is Islam: 4,5% (2010 census). HP G62-110SO CPU Fan

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In 2000, 5.78 million residents (79.2%, compared to 93.8% in 1980) were Christian (Roman Catholic 41.8%, Protestant 35.3%, Orthodox1.8%). 809,800 (11.1%, compared to 3.8% in 1980) were without any religious affiliation. 310,800 (4.3%) were Muslim (compared to 0.9% in 1980), 17,900 (0.2%) were Jewish. The 2005 Eurobarometer poll[16] found 48% of Swiss residents to be theist, 39% expressing belief in "some sort of spirit or life force", 9% atheist and 4% said that they "don't know".SONY Vaio VPC-EB290X CPU Fan

The four national languages of Switzerland are German, French, Italian and Romansh. Native speakers number about 64% (4.6 million) for German (mostly Swiss German dialects), 20% (1.5 million) for French (mostly Swiss French, but including some Franco-Provençal dialects), 7% (0.5 million, mostly Swiss Italian, but including Insubricdialects) for Italian and less than 0.5% (35,000) for Romansh. HP Envy 17-1090eo CPU Fan

The non-official language with the largest group of native speakers is Serbo-Croatian with 103,000 speakers in 2000, followed by Albanian with 95,000, Portuguese with 89,500, Spanish with 77,500, English with 73,000,Macedonian 61,300,[18] and a total of 173,000 speakers of other languages, amounting to roughly 10% of the population with a native language not among the four official languages. Toshiba Satellite A210-1CF CPU Fan

Almost all Swiss are literate. Switzerland's 13 institutes of higher learning enrolled 99,600 students in the academic year of 2001-02. About 25% of the adult population hold a diploma of higher learning. According to the CIA World Factbook data for 2003, 99% of the Swiss population aged 15 and over could read and write, with the rate being identical for both sexes.[20] Dell Vostro 3450 CPU Fan

During the 2008/09 school year there were 1,502,257 students in the entire Swiss educational system. In kindergarten or pre-school, there were 152,919 students (48.6% female). These students were taught by 13,592 teachers (96.0% female) in 4,949 schools, of which 301 were private schools. There were 777,394 students (48.6% female) in the obligatory schools, which include primary and lower secondary schools. Toshiba Satellite A10-103 CPU Fan

These students were taught by 74,501 teachers (66.3% female) in 6,083 schools, of which 614 were private. The upper secondary school system had 337,145 students (46.9% female). They were taught by 13,900 teachers (42.3% female) in 730 schools, of which 240 were private. The tertiary education system had 234,799 students (49.7% female). They were taught by 37,546 teachers (32.8% female) in 367 schools. Compaq Presario A900 CTO CPU Fan

The police registered a total of 553,421 criminal offences in 2009, including 51 killings and 185 attempted murders. There were 666 cases of rape. In the same year, 94,574 adults (85% of them male, 47.4% of them Swiss citizens) were convicted under criminal law. 57.3% of convictions were for traffic offences.[23]

In the same year, 15,064 minors (78.3% of them male, 68.2% of them of Swiss nationality, 76.3% aged between 15 and 18) were convicted.[24] ACER Aspire 4736ZG CPU Fan

The number of convictions in the last five years is given in the following table.

The first Federal population census in Switzerland took place in March 1850 under the direction of Federal Councillor Stefano Franscini. As well as counting the number of inhabitants, respondents were also asked about their sex, age, marital status, occupation and religion. Toshiba Satellite A10-103 CPU Fan

Between 1860 and 2000, a census took place every ten years in December. The only exceptions to this 10-year rhythm were the population census of 1888 (brought forward as the basis for the revision of the constituency boundaries) and the population census of 1941 (delayed due to the mobilisation of the army in May 1940). The census of 2000 was the last to use traditional methods. SONY MCF-519PAM05 CPU Fan

Since 2010, the population census has been carried out and analysed annually in a new format by the Federal Statistical Office(FSO). In order to ease the burden on the population, the information is primarily drawn from population registers and supplemented by sample surveys. Only a small proportion of the population (about 5%) are surveyed in writing or by telephone. The first reference day for the new census was 31 December 2010. SONY Vaio VPC-EB290X CPU Fan

The new census is primarily based on a register survey that evaluates existing administrative data. To this end, the FSO uses cantonal and communal population registers, federal registers of persons and the Federal Register of Buildings and Dwellings.

Information that is not recorded in any register has to be collected by means of additional sample surveys (structural survey, thematic surveys, omnibus surveys). HP Pavilion dv7-2043cl CPU Fan

The Register survey provides basic information about the entire population. It furnishes results on the size and structure of the population and of households, as well as of residential buildings and dwellings. The results are available each year at the end of August (population statistics, buildings and dwellings statistics) or at the beginning of the year following the survey (household statistics, housing conditions). HP Pavilion dv7-2130ev CPU Fan

For the Structural Survey[1] 200,000 people are surveyed in writing each year. Cantons and cities can enlarge the sample for their area. The survey provides additional statistics on the structure of the population and thus complements the information in the registers. The first results are available one year after the reference day. Cumulative results for the 2010-2012 period will be available by the end of 2013. HP 608772-001 CPU Fan

Apart from agriculture, there are minimal economic and trade barriers between the European Union and Switzerland. In the wake of the Swiss voters' rejection of the European Economic Area Agreement in 1992, the Swiss Government set its sights on negotiating bilateral economic agreements with the EU. Four years of negotiations culminated in Bilaterals, a cross-platform agreement covering seven sectors: Toshiba Satellite A100-194 CPU Fan

research, public procurement, technical barriers to trade, agriculture, civil aviation, land transport, and the free movement of persons. Parliament officially endorsed the Bilaterals in 1999 and it was approved by general referendum in May 2000. The agreements, which were then ratified by the European Parliament and the legislatures of its member states, entered into force on June 1, 2002. HP Pavilion tx1205/ CT CPU Fan

The Swiss government has since embarked on a second round of negotiations, called the Bilaterals II, which will further strengthen the two organisations' economic ties.

Switzerland has since brought most of their practices into conformity with European Union policies and norms in order to maximise the country's international competitiveness. HP Pavilion dv6640ep CPU Fan

While most of the EU policies are not contentious, police and judicial cooperation to international law enforcement and the taxation of savings are controversial, mainly because of possible side effects on bank secrecy.Swiss and EU finance ministers agreed in June 2003 that Swiss banks would levy a withholding tax on EU citizens' savings income. The tax would increase gradually to 35% by 2011, with 75% of the funds being transferred to the EU. Recent estimates value EU capital inflows to Switzerland to $8.3 billion. COMPAQ Presario CQ42-401TU CPU Fan

Taxes in Switzerland are levied by the Swiss Confederation, the cantons and the municipalities. Switzerland is sometimes considered a tax haven due to its general low rate of taxation, its political stability as well as the various tax exemptions or reductions available to Swiss companies doing business abroad, or foreign persons resident in Switzerland. Toshiba Satellite A300D CPU Fan

Switzerland is a federal republic in which the sovereignty of the constituent states (the cantons) is limited by the enumerated powers delegated to the federal state (the Confederation) through the federal constitution. Consequently, the original authority to levy taxes is vested in the individual cantons of Switzerland through their constitutions.[1] Within the bounds of the authority delegated to them by cantonal law, the municipalities may also levy taxes. The extent of that authority varies from canton to canton.[2] HP Pavilion dv8397ea CPU  Fan

While the formal framework of the most important cantonal direct taxes has been harmonised through the 1990 Federal Tax Harmonisation Law, the cantons (and, as the case may be, the municipalities) remain free to set their tax rates or establish new taxes, except on tax objects already taxed under federal law.[3]

Since World War II, the federal constitution authorises the Confederation to levy a number of taxes, HP Pavilion dv9821ea CPU Fan

the most significant of which are an income tax, awithholding tax and a value added tax. However, Switzerland is unique among modern sovereign states in that the authority to levy these taxes is limited in duration and extent.[4][5] The Constitution imposes an upper limit on the federal tax rates and causes the federal authority to levy taxes to expire in 2020. HP COMPAQ TC4200 CPU Fan

A renewal of that authority requires a constitutional amendment, which must be approved in a popular referendum by both a majority of the popular vote and the cantons. If that renewal is not approved at the polls (as it has been six times since 1958),[5] the Confederation itself will conceivably dissolve for lack of funds. All attempts to remove this limitation by amending the constitution to provide for a permanent federal authority to levy taxes have been rejected in Parliament or – no less than five times – by popular vote, most recently in 1991. SONY Vaio VGN-NW228F CPU Fan

The federal constitution imposes certain limits on taxation at the federal cantonal and municipal levels. To begin with, it provides that no tax may be levied except where provided for by federal, cantonal or municipal statute.[7] Because statutes can at all levels be made subject to a popular referendum, Swiss tax rates are in practice set directly by the voters through instruments of direct democracy.[8] HP G62-b16ST CPU Fan

The constitution mandates that taxation must be general and equal in nature, and it must be proportionate to one's ability to pay.[7] The Federal Supreme Courthas interpreted this as prohibiting a regressive tax,[7] although flat rate taxes (as instituted in several cantons) are held to be constitutional by tax law scholars. Moreover, double taxation by several cantons is constitutionally prohibited, as is a confiscatory rate of taxation. HP 580696-001 CPU Fan

All people resident in Switzerland are liable for the taxation of their worldwide income and assets, except on the income and wealth from foreign business or real estate,[9] or where tax treaties limit double taxation. For tax purposes, residence may also arise if a person stays in Switzerland for 30 days, or for 90 days if he or she does not work.[10] HP Pavilion dv6-3049tx CPU Fan

Moreover, non-residents are also taxed on certain Swiss assets or on the income from certain Swiss sources, such as fromreal estate, permanent business establishments or pensions.[11] The income and assets of spouses are pooled and taxed jointly, but at a lower rate to offset the effects of tax progression.

Either a progressive or proportional income tax is levied by the Confederation and by the cantons on the income of natural persons. HP G42-380LA CPU Fan

The income tax is imposed as a payroll tax on foreign workers without a residence permit,[12] and in the form of a withholding tax on certain transient persons, such as foreign musicians performing in Switzerland.

Taxable income includes all funds accruing to a person from all sources, in principle without deduction of losses or expenses,[13] and including the rental value of a house lived in by its owner.[14Toshiba Qosmio G30-167 CPU Fan

] However, capital gains on private property (such as profits from the sale of shares) are tax-free, except where the cantons levy a tax on real estate capital gains.[15] Certain expenses are also deductible. These include social security or pension fund payments,[16] expenses related to the gain of income (such as employment expenses and maintenance costs of real estate) and alimonies.[17HP Pavilion dv7-1157cl CPU Fan

] Gifts and inheritances are also exempt from the income tax, but are subject to separate cantonal taxes.[13]

Non-working foreigners resident in Switzerland may choose to pay a "lump-sum tax" instead of the normal income tax. The tax, which is generally much lower than the normal income tax, is nominally levied on the taxpayer's living expenses, Compaq Presario CQ40-408AX CPU Fan

but in practice (which varies from canton to canton), it is common to use the quintuple of the rent paid by the taxpayer as a basis for the lump-sum taxation.[18] This option contributes to Switzerland's status as a tax haven, and has induced many wealthy foreigners to live in Switzerland.

In 2011, the federal income tax varied from a bracket of 1% (for single tax payers) and 0.77% (for married taxpayers) to the maximum rate of 11.5%.HP Mini 110-1110ET CPU Fan

Individuals earning below 13,600 and couples earning below 27,000 Swiss francs were exempt. On cantonal level, tax rates varies heavily, Obwalden adapted a 1.8% flat tax on all personal income following a cantonal referendum in 2007. In most cantons, the rate is proportional with a maximum rate of 6.5% in Bern, whereas in Zurich it was 13% and in Geneva 17.58-.76 % (depending upon taxes as single or jointly). HP Pavilion dv7-1157cl CPU Fan

Switzerland has a "classical" corporate tax system in which a corporation and its owners or shareholders are taxed individually, causing economic double taxation.

All legal persons are subject to the taxation of their profit and capital, with the exception of charitable organisations.[23] Tax liability arises if either the legal seat or the effective management of a corporation is in Switzerland.[24] HP Pavilion dv6-3163eo CPU Fan

To the extent non-resident companies have Swiss sources of income, such as business establishments or real estate, they are also liable for taxation.[24] Conversely, as a unilateral measure to limit double taxation, profits from foreign business establishments or real estate are exempted from taxation. HP Pavilion dv9740us CPU Fan

A proportional or progressive tax is levied by the Confederation (at a flat rate of 8.5%) and the cantons (at varying rates) on corporate profits. The tax is based on the net profit as accounted for in the corporate income statement, as adjusted for tax purposes.[24] For instance, expenditures that have no business reason such as excessive depreciations, accruals or reserves, as well as disguised dividends are taxed as profits.[25] HP COMPAQ NX9420 CPU Fan

A number of provisions limit the double taxation of profits at the corporate level and contribute to Switzerland's tax haven status. To begin with, a "participation exemption" is granted to companies who hold 20 percent or more of the shares of other companies; the amount of tax due on the corresponding profit is reduced in proportion to the percentage of shares held.[26] HP Pavilion dv7-4150ec CPU Fan

At the cantonal level only, a "holding privilege" applies to pure holding companies. They are exempt from the cantonal corporate profit tax.[26] Moreover, cantonal law confers a "domicile privilege" on companies who are only administered in Switzerland, but whose business is conducted abroad; including shell corporations.[27] The cantons tax only around 10 percent of the worldwide profits of such companies. HP Pavilion dv5-1102tu CPU Fan

A proportional tax is levied by the cantons (at varying rates) on the Eigenkapital (ownership equity) of companies.[28] Thinly capitalised companies are taxed, moreover, on the liabilities that function as equity. This also means that debts paid on such liabilities cannot be deducted for purposes of the profit tax, and are subject to the federal withholding tax. SONY VGN-SZ220 CPU Fan

The value added tax (VAT; Mehrwertsteuer / Taxe sur la valeur ajoutée / Tassa sul valore aggiunto) is one of the Confederation's principal sources of funding. It is levied at a rate of 8 percent on most commercial exchanges of goods and services. Certain exchanges, including those of foodstuffs, drugs, books and newspapers, are subject to a reduced VAT of 2.4 percent.[30] HP Pavilion dv7-6011tx CPU Fan

Yet other exchanges, including those of medical, educational and cultural services, are tax-exempt; as are goods delivered and services provided abroad.[31] The party providing the service or delivering the goods is liable for the payment of the VAT, but the tax is usually passed on to the customer as part of the price.

The federal withholding tax (Verrechnungssteuer / impôt anticipé / Imposta preventiva) is levied at a rate of 35 percent on certain forms of income, HP Pavilion dv5-1040eb CPU Fan

most notably dividend payments, interest on bank loans and bonds, liquidation proceeds, lottery prizes and payments by life insurances and private pension funds.[33]The debtor of such payments is liable for the payment of the tax; they must pay the creditor only the net amount.[34]

With respect to creditors resident in Switzerland, the withholding tax is only a means of securing the payment of the income or profit tax, ASUS F3Jv CPU Fan

from which the creditor may then deduct the amount already withheld, or request its refund.[35] The same applies to foreign creditors to the extent that a tax treaty provides for it.[36] Other foreign creditors are not eligible for a refund; with respect to them, the withholding tax is a genuine tax.

Stamp duties are a group of federal taxes levied on certain commercial transactions. IBM ThinkPad R50p 2887 CPU Fan

The name is an anachronism and dates back to the time when such taxes were administered with physical stamps.[37]

The issue tax (Emissionssteuer / Tassa di emissione) is levied on the issue of certain securities such as shares and bonds. Exceptions are made, inter alia, for securities issued in the course of a commercial reorganization, and the first million CHF of funds raised are in effect exempt from taxation.[38] SONY VGN-CS36GJ/R CPU Fan

The tax amounts to one percent of the funds raised and is payable by the issuer.[39] The trade in shell companies (Mantelhandel) is also subject to the issue tax.[40]

The transfer tax (Umsatzsteuer / Imposta sulla cifra d'affari) is levied on the trade in certain securities by certain qualified traders (Effektenhändler; mostly stockbrokers and large holding companies). TToshiba Satellite A215-S4807 CPU Fan

he tax amounts to 0.15 or 0.3 percent depending on whether Swiss or foreign securities are traded.[41]Finally, an insurance premiums tax of 5 or 2.5 percent is levied on certain insurance premiums.

The Confederation is constitutionally empowered to levy tariffs,[43] which were its principal sources of funding up until World War I, but are now more important as an instrument of trade policy. Toshiba Satellite Pro M10-SP405 CPU Fan

Additional federal taxes of lesser economic importance include taxes on the importation or manufacture of spirits, beer,tobacco, automobiles and mineral oil, as well as on gambling establishments.[44] Citizens exempt from military service are required to pay a tax in compensation.

In addition to the taxes mentioned above, the cantons are free to introduce others. HP Pavilion dv4-1120us CPU Fan

Several cantons levy an inheritance tax (Erbschaftssteuer / Imposta di successione) and a gift tax (Schenkungssteuer / Imposta di donazione), although there is a trend towards abolishing those.[46] Moreover, the cantons are required by federal law to levy a tax on the profit from the sale of real estate (Grundstückgewinnsteuer / impôt sur les gains immobiliers / Imposta sugli utili immobiliari).[47Compaq Presario C550EM CPU Fan

] Most also levy a tax on the value of the property sold (Handänderungssteuer / impôt sur les mutations / Tassa di mutazione) so as to discouragespeculation in real estate.[48] Taxes are also frequently levied on the ownership of dogs and motor vehicles,[49] on lotteries, on the sale of tickets to public entertainments, or on overnight stays in certain tourist destinations. Toshiba Qosmio E15-AV101 CPU Fan

Depending on the nature of the tax at issue, criminal offences related to the nonpayment of taxes are regulated in substantially different ways by cantonal and federal statutes.[51] This section will therefore discuss only the outlines of the harmonised rules governing tax evasion and tax fraud with respect to the federal and cantonal income, profit, property and capital taxes. Toshiba Satellite L645D-S4056 CPU Fan

It is a criminal offence under cantonal and federal law to wilfully cause one's taxes to be incompletely assessed. The statutes distinguish, however, betweentax evasion and tax fraud. Tax evasion is the act of causing a tax to be falsely assessed, such as through the failure to report taxable income.[52] It is classed as a misdemeanour (Übertretung / contravention) and is punishable by a fine of 33% to 300% of the amount of tax evaded.[53Toshiba Satellite A305-S6837 CPU Fan

] Tax fraud, on the other hand, occurs if a tax evasion is committed by using false documents (such as untrue corporate financial reports) for deceptive purposes.[54] It is classed as a crime (Vergehen / crime) and is punishable by additional imprisonment of up to three years or an additional fine of up to 30,000 CHF.[55]

This distinction is of particular importance with respect to the level of international judicial assistance afforded by Swiss authorities to foreign states that prosecute their own citizens for tax evasions committed in Switzerland, HP Pavilion dv7-4087cl CPU Fan

such as by depositing undeclared income with a Swiss bank. Up until recently, Swiss law prohibited all support to foreign jurisdictions for the prosecution of fiscal offences, except to the U.S. under the terms of a 1973 agreement.[56] Since 1983, enforcement assistance is provided (such as the search and seizure of accounts and documents) for the prosecution of fiscal crimesHP Pavilion dv5-1118es CPU Fan

(notably, tax fraud) but not for the prosecution of fiscal misdemeanours (notably, tax evasion).[57] Under pressure from the G20 and the OECD, the Swiss government announced in March 2009 that it will abolish the distinction between tax fraud and tax evasion in dealings with foreign clients. The Swiss authorities will from now on also provide judicial assistance in the event of tax evasion by a foreign client.[58] Toshiba Satellite A665-S6050 CPU Fan

The distinction remains valid for domestic clients.In 2002, some CHF 134 billion in taxes were levied in Switzerland, of which roughly one third was levied by the Confederation, the cantons and the municipalities, respectively.[59]

The overall fiscal rate was 38.5 percent of GDP in 2002.[60] The effective individual tax rate is subject to considerable variation depending on the canton and municipality of residence. HP Pavilion G72-259WM CPU Fan

For instance, companies subject to ordinary taxation paid between 13 and 25 percent of income tax in 2006, and the maximum individual tax rates in major cities ranged between 12.3 percent in the canton of Zug and 32.3 percent in the canton of Jura. HP Pavilion dv6-3109ca  CPU  Fan,HP Pavilion dv6782eg CPU Fan,SONY UDQF2PH52CF0 CPU Fan

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