Swiss government accounts closed with a surplus of CHF2.8 billion ($3 billion) for 2017, compared with a forecast deficit of CHF250 million, Finance Minister Ueli Maurer said at a press conference in Bern on Wednesday. This was due mainly to higher-than-estimated tax revenues.
The surplus would have been even higher, at CHF4.8 billion, had it not been for an accounting provision of CHF2 billion.
The real surplus of CHF2.8 billion is due mainly to receipts from tax advances, which were nearly a third higher than expected at CHF8.83 billion. The windfall could not have been predicted, the government says.
Total revenue was up 5.4% on 2016 at CHF71.09 billion, while expenditure rose 2% to CHF68.3 billion. This was down 0.6% on the overall forecast. However, the drop in expenditure was bigger in the areas of social security (-CHF333 million), transport (-CHF155 million), as well as training and research (-CHF111 million).
Extraordinary income of CHF177 million was also generated. The Competition Commission collected fines of CHF99 million, and CHF78 million was also collected as part of Swissair's liquidation settlement.
At its meeting today, the Federal Council also set out the 2019-2021 financial plan, which predicts surpluses of just over one billion for both 2019 and 2020 and 1.9 billion for 2021.