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Switzerland abandons shipping tax reform

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Parliament has vetoed plans to tax ships based on tonnage. Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved

The Swiss parliament has vetoed plans to tax shipping freight based on tonnage and a ship’s loading capacity. On Tuesday, the House of Representatives agreed with the Senate to scrap the proposal.

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With 108 votes in favour, 75 against and two abstentions, the House of Representatives followed the proposal of the majority of its Committee for Economic Affairs and Taxation.

The decision represents a u-turn: in the winter of 2022, the proposal to introduce a tonnage tax on ocean-going vessels had some parliamentary support.

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However, concerns about federal finances and the constitutional legality of the bill played a key role in the final decision. The financial impact of the new tax system was unclear despite repeated requests from the responsible committee, said Centre Party politician Leo Müller.

In 2016, parliament had voted in favour of creating the option of taxing Swiss deep-sea shipping companies based on the loading capacity of ships. This would replace taxation based on the actual profit or loss generated. It instructed the Federal Council to make a proposal for implementation.

Had the proposed new regulation been passed, the average tax burden for the shipping companies concerned would have been lighter than it is today.

Translated from German by DeepL/mga

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