Following the referendum, the voters in Switzerland approved in a public vote held on May 19, 2019, the changes of the law for the corporate taxation and the financing of the old age pension fund (STAF). Special taxation regimes will be abolished and new tax relief measures introduced on cantonal and communal level.
In view of the draconian sanctions currently in force under company law (and possibly soon to come into force under criminal law), it is advisable for everyone to check carefully whether they trigger reporting obligations under company law when acquiring shares. On 20 March 2019, the Swiss National Council waved through the envisaged changes in criminal law; now it is the Council of States‘ turn.
The tax appeal court of the Canton of Zurich dealt in a recent decision with the taxation of capital gains in connection with the sale of shares by individuals and its possible treatment from a Swiss income tax perspective. In general, if individuals resident in Switzerland realize a gain from the sale of tangible assets it should not be subject to Swiss income taxes. However, a few important exceptions should be considered.
On 14 December 2018, the Federal Council presented the report of the "Blockchain / ICO" working group of the Federal Department of Finance to the public. The working group has examined the extent to which legal adjustments are to be made in Switzerland in the area of blockchain technology and distributed ledger technology (DLT).
On 1 July 2018, the duty for employers to report their open positions came into force. The obligation to report open positions implements the mass immigration initiative adopted by the Swiss electorate four years ago. The obligation to report open positions essentially obliges employers, firstly, to report vacancies to the competent regional job centre (RAV) if unemployment in the relevant occupation exceeds a threshold value.
The Swiss Parliament has finalised the tax reform 17 in the final vote of September 28, 2018. The new tax law should be implemented at the beginning of the year 2020. The entering into force of the tax reform 17 is subject to a possible referendum and a popular vote.
On 9 September 2018, the EU Finance Ministers decided to find an agreement about the future taxation of the digital economy in the EU until the end of the year. It is discussed to introduce a tax of 3% on the turnover of digital services and a new "digital permanent establishment".
The Swiss Federal Tax Administration (SFTA) has recently cleared the way for the accelerated distribution of dividends from subsidiaries to the parent company and the shareholders of the parent company from a Swiss withholding tax perspective.
On June 21, 2018, the Swiss Federal Tax Administration SFTA published a first draft of their adjusted practice guidelines regarding the taxation of crypto currencies with respect to the value added tax (VAT).
The Swiss Federal Tax Administration (SFTA) has published a new Circular Letter on May 4, 2018 regarding the tax treatment of participation benefits at the level of the employer.