Residential property taxation: discussion of the preliminary draft commenced
The Commission for Economic Affairs and Taxation of the Council of States (WAK-S) has accepted without opposition the preliminary draft on the system change in the taxation of home ownership (17,400) and has largely conducted the detailed consultation.
It has unconditionally approved the proposed implementation of its key points (no taxation of imputed rental value at the main residence; retention of imputed rental value taxation for second properties; no deductions for maintenance costs; at federal level, no extra-fiscal deductions for energy-saving and environmental protection measures, for deconstruction and for work to preserve historical monuments (although this is still possible under cantonal law); temporary deduction for first-time buyers; reduction or abolition of the debt interest deduction). It has commissioned the administration to draw up variants for the deduction of debt interest. If possible, it will conclude the detailed discussion at its February meeting and will probably open the consultation on this draft in March.
Popular initiative "More affordable housing
The popular initiative "More Affordable Housing" (18,035) aims to expand state support for affordable housing. The Federal Council submitted an indirect counter-proposal to parliament. This provides for a framework credit of 250 million francs to top up the existing Fonds de Roulement (FdR) for the benefit of non-profit housing construction. In the winter session, the National Council decided to recommend the popular initiative for rejection and approved the indirect counter-proposal. For its part, the WAK-S now requests that the National Council vote in favour. For the majority of the commission, the demands of the initiative go too far. It is of the opinion that the federal government's previous market-oriented housing policy has proved its worth and should be continued with the increase in the FdR. Admission of the indirect counter-draft was thus undisputed. By 8 votes to 4, the WAK-S rejects an increase of the FdR by CHF 375 million and proposes by 7 votes to 5 to maintain the link between the popular initiative and the increase of the FdR: The latter should only be extended if the initiative is withdrawn or rejected. From the minority point of view, this link is repulsive. If the popular initiative were adopted, the FdR would have to be increased in any case in order to achieve its objective. In the overall vote, the WAK-S approved the indirect counter-draft by 9 votes to 0 with 3 abstentions. The popular initiative itself recommended it for rejection by 9 to 3 votes.
Tax deductibility of fines
For about two years, the councils have been dealing with the question of whether and under what conditions fines and penalties imposed abroad should be tax deductible for the companies concerned (16,076). The Council of States spoke out against the tax deductibility of foreign fines, and the National Council decided in its autumn session to allow tax deductibility under certain conditions. The WAK-S is now unanimously proposing a further variant to its Council: foreign fines should only be tax deductible if the sanction violates the Swiss ordre public, or if the conduct to which the sanction applies was based on good faith. This new proposal goes less far than the National Council's resolution and is compatible with the idea of justice in the view of the WAK-S: only companies that have done everything reasonable to behave correctly would be granted tax relief.