<article class="rz"><p>On 1 January 2020, the tax reform and AHV financing (STAF) came into force. The STAF had its origins in a decision of the European Community Commission: In February 2007, the Commission found that the cantonal tax privileges constituted state aid in violation of the Free Trade Agreement between Switzerland and the EU concluded in 1972.<a title="" href="#_ftn1" name="_ftnref1"><sup>01</sup></a> After several years of discussions with the EU, the Federal Council finally agreed to abolish the cantonal tax privileges in autumn 2014.<a title="" href="#_ftn2" name="_ftnref2"><sup>02</sup></a> It then took another five years and two referenda before the cantonal tax privileges were abolished and the biggest corporate tax reforms of recent years were able to come into force.</p>
<p>However, the challenge for STAF is not only to adapt to the requirements of international law. Since the cantons will lose a key instrument in international tax competition with the abolition of cantonal tax privileges, adaptation to international law must be carried out in a way that allows the cantons to remain competitive in international tax competition. It is therefore understandable that most cantons reacted to these two challenges by significantly reducing their profit tax rates. By lowering the general profit tax, the cantons on the one hand avoid undue privileges for foreign companies and income and on the other hand ensure that they remain an attractive location in the future.</p>
<p>As a result of the international challenges, the effective profit tax rate on average in Switzerland has fallen from around 20 % to 15.1 % since the beginning of 2007.<a title="" href="#_ftn3" name="_ftnref3"><sup>03</sup></a> The example of the cantons is thus a perfect illustration of how recent developments in international tax law and the resulting trend towards international tax harmonisation have increased the pressure on profit tax rates. The cantons' approach thus reflects a general international trend according to which many states have significantly reduced their profit tax rates in recent years.<a title="" href="#_ftn4" name="_ftnref4"><sup>04</sup></a> It can be assumed that the Corona crisis will not weaken this international trend either - even though the financial requirements of the states will increase massively. It can therefore be assumed that the idea of international minimum taxation will continue to gain momentum and that the federal government and the cantons will soon be faced with another corporate tax reform.<a title="" href="#_ftn5" name="_ftnref5"><sup>05</sup></a></p>
<p>At zsis we are pleased to be able to provide an overview of the implementation of the current corporate tax reform in the individual cantons. The authors not only provide information on the reduction of the profit tax rate, but also highlight the change from tax privileges to ordinary corporate taxation. They also report on other cantonal particularities. The articles in this special issue cover (almost) all of Switzerland. Although the STAF has only been in force for a few months, the articles show how differently the cantons implement the STAF requirements. It will be exciting to see how the different cantonal implementations will change as international requirements evolve. zsis will continue to work on this topic in the future.</p></article>Use the editor to edit this text.