Do the Swiss really pay so little tax?


The percentage of personal income tax and social security contributions paid on wages in Switzerland is among the lowest of Western industrialised countries, according to a survey. However, the Swiss statistics must be put in context.

Workers in Switzerland have on average more salary left over at the end of the month than in most other Western industrialised countries. This is one of the conclusions of the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) annual flagship publication on taxes paid on wages in 35 countries. Switzerland tops all other European OECD states in this respect. 

In 2017, a single Swiss resident without children paid almost 17% of their gross salary in taxes and social security contributions. The average for OECD countries was 25.5%. Workers in Belgium and Germany were taxed most (around 40%), while those in Chile (7%), Mexico (11%) and South Korea (14.5%) had the lowest total deductions for personal income taxes and social security contributions.

Despite ranking highly in the OECD study, low taxes on Swiss wages must be put into perspective. Tax burdens vary widely depending on which canton and municipality one lives in. Also, an individual is obliged to make compulsory non-state contributions to health insurance or occupational benefits, which are deducted from monthly salaries.


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