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Making the Tax System Less Distortive in Switzerland


  • Andrés Fuentes



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 ( Réduire les distorsions dues au système fiscal en Suisse En Suisse, la pression fiscale est faible par comparaison avec les autres pays, ce qui s’explique dans une large mesure par l’importance des contributions obligatoires non fiscales aux systèmes de santé et de retraite qui sont gérés par des institutions privées. L’imposition des revenus des personnes physiques et des rémunérations du travail est relativement élevée, tandis que les impôts sur la consommation sont faibles. Une modification de la structure fiscale qui consisterait à réduire la part des impôts sur le revenu des personnes physiques au profit de celle des impôts sur la consommation renforcerait l’incitation à exercer une activité économique. La structure de l’impôt sur les sociétés pourrait être améliorée afin de supprimer les facteurs qui dissuadent les petites entreprises de se développer. Si l’on réduisait les dispositions avantageuses qui permettent de déduire les versements d’intérêts du revenu imposable des personnes physiques, les ménages seraient moins incités à exercer un effet de levier excessif sur leur patrimoine, ce qui serait bénéfique à la fois pour la stabilité financière et l’équité du système fiscal. Si la concurrence fiscale entre les autorités infranationales a renforcé la discipline fiscale, il serait possible de réduire ses effets collatéraux défavorables sur l’équité, notamment en ayant davantage recours à la fiscalité immobilière dans les communes. Ce Document de travail se rapporte à l’Étude économique de l’OCDE de la Suisse, 2012 (

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  • Andrés Fuentes, 2013. "Making the Tax System Less Distortive in Switzerland," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1044, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:1044-en

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Christos Karydas & Lin Zhang, 2017. "Green tax reform, endogenous innovation and the growth dividend," CER-ETH Economics working paper series 17/266, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich.

    More about this item


    fiscalité; Suisse; Switzerland; taxation;

    JEL classification:

    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue

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