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Neuchâtel voters approve tax plans

Finance Minister Jean Studer (centre) with colleagues Keystone

Voters in Neuchâtel have approved a change in the tax system proposed by the cantonal authorities to make the area attractive to new businesses.

Turnout was less than 30 per cent, but of those who voted, nearly 77 per cent were in favour.

The cantonal finance minister, Jean Studer, had previously described the reform as an essential “new social contract” with business.

It is designed to end the canton’s extensive use of tax breaks, which has left only half of Neuchâtel-based firms paying corporate tax.

Instead, a lower standard rate, one of the most attractive in Switzerland, will be applied to all companies. Between 2011 and 2016 it will fall from ten to five per cent.

The tax department believes the new deal will increase its tax revenues.

Opponents say Neuchâtel is entering a tax race, and other cantons will cut their rates to follow suit.

In March the cantonal government presented plans to reform personal tax, with an emphasis on helping young families.

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