Federal interest on arrears and remuneration will be harmonised
Uniform interest rates on arrears and remuneration should apply to direct federal tax, value added tax and other levies levied by the federal government. This was decided by Parliament. On Tuesday, the National Council approved another amendment to the Council of States.
Thus, the reference interest rate is not to be tied firmly to market developments, as originally requested by motioneer Matthias Jauslin (FDP/AG). The National Council followed the Council of States with 118 votes to 65.
The Council of States was of the opinion that linking the reference interest rate to market developments, especially in the case of interest on arrears, was not appropriate. This could have the consequence that defaulting debtors settle outstanding tax claims only at the end, i.e. after the other claims bearing higher interest. This systematic unfavourable treatment of the tax authorities is associated with a loss of revenue and is therefore not justified.
Meanwhile, a minority of the National Council's Legal Affairs Committee feared a development in the wrong direction if the reference interest rate was not linked to market developments. Today, interest on arrears would be 3 percent for direct federal tax, 4 percent for value-added tax and even 5 percent for stamp duty, tobacco and beer tax, withholding tax and automobile tax.
"We fear upward harmonisation - in other words, that all interest rates will be at 5 percent and not at 3 percent, where we would like them to be," said Thomas Aeschi, SVP politician from Zug, in the Council. The solution, according to Fabio Regazzi (CVP/TI), is a parliamentary initiative calling for the default interest rate to be linked to the general development of market interest rates. However, the request to reject the amended proposal on this basis was not accepted by the Council.
Finance Minister Ueli Maurer also saw no reason to reject the advances. The Federal Council will deal with the amended motion in an overall package with the parliamentary initiative of Regazzi. The aim was not to have excessive interest rates from today's perspective. Both initiatives are in line with market conditions.