Switzerland 1999 Constitution (reviewed 2014)

Table of Contents

Chapter 3. Financial System

Article 126. Financial management

  1. The Confederation shall maintain its income and expenditure in balance over time.
  2. The ceiling for total expenditure that is to be approved in the budget is based on the expected income after taking account of the economic situation.
  3. Exceptional financial requirements may justify an appropriate increase in the ceiling in terms of paragraph 2. The Federal Assembly shall decide on any increase in accordance with Article 159 paragraph 3 letter c.
  4. If the total expenditure in the federal accounts exceeds the ceiling in terms of paragraphs 2 or 3, compensation for this additional expenditure must be made in subsequent years.
  5. The details are regulated by law.

Article 127. Principles of taxation

  1. The main structural features of any tax, in particular those liable to pay tax, the object of the tax and its assessment, are regulated by law.
  2. Provided the nature of the tax permits it, the principles of universality and uniformity of taxation as well as the principle of taxation according to ability to pay are applied.
  3. Intercantonal double taxation is prohibited. The Confederation shall take the measures required.

Article 128. Direct taxes

  1. The Confederation may levy a direct tax:
    1. of a maximum of 11.5 per cent on the income of private individuals;
    2. of a maximum of 8.5 per cent of the net profit of legal entities;
    3. [Repealed by the popular vote on 28 Nov. 2004, with effect from 1 Jan. 2007]
  2. The Confederation, in fixing the taxation rates, shall take account of the burden of direct taxation imposed by the Cantons and communes.
  3. In relation to the tax on the income of private individuals, regular revisions shall be made to compensate for the consequences of an increased tax burden due to inflation.
  4. The tax is assessed and collected by the Cantons. A minimum of 17 per cent of the gross revenue from taxation is allocated to the Cantons. This share may be reduced to 15 per cent if the consequences of financial equalisation so require.

Article 129. Tax harmonisation

  1. The Confederation shall set out principles on the harmonisation of the direct taxes imposed by the Confederation, the Cantons and the communes; it shall take account of the efforts towards harmonisation made by the Cantons.
  2. Harmonisation shall extend to tax liability, the object of the tax and the tax period, procedural law and the law relating to tax offences. Matters excluded from harmonisation shall include in particular tax scales, tax rates and tax allowances.
  3. The Confederation may issue regulations to prevent unjustified tax benefits.

Article 130. Value added tax

  1. The Confederation may levy value added tax on the supply of goods, on services, including goods and services for personal use, and on imports, at a standard rate of a maximum of 6.5 per cent and at a reduced rate of at least 2.0 per cent.
  2. The law may provide for the taxation of accommodation services at a rate between the reduced rate and the standard rate.
  3. If, due to demographic changes, the financing of the Old-Age, Survivors’ and Invalidity Insurance is no longer guaranteed, the standard rate may be increased by federal act by a maximum of 1 percentage point and the reduced rate by a maximum of 0.3 of a percentage point.
  4. Five per cent of the non-earmarked revenues shall be used to reduce the health insurance premiums of persons on low incomes, unless an alternative method of assisting such persons is provided for by law.

Article 131. Special consumption taxes

  1. The Confederation may level special consumption taxes on:
    1. tobacco and tobacco products;
    2. distilled spirits;
    3. beer;
    4. automobiles and their parts;
    5. petroleum, other mineral oils, natural gas and products obtained by refining these resources, as well as on motor fuels.
  2. It may levy a surcharge on the consumption tax on motor fuels.
  3. The Cantons shall receive ten per cent of the net proceeds from the taxation of distilled spirits. These funds must be used to fight the causes and effects of substance addiction.

Article 132. Stamp duty and withholding tax

  1. The Confederation may levy a stamp duty on securities, on receipts for insurance premiums and on other commercial deeds; deeds relating to property and mortgage transactions are exempt from stamp duty.
  2. The Confederation may levy a withholding tax on income from moveable capital assets, on lottery winnings and on insurance benefits. 10 per cent of the tax revenue shall be allocated to the Cantons.

Article 133. Customs duties

The Confederation is responsible for legislation on customs duties and other duties on the cross-border movement of goods.

Article 134. Exclusion of cantonal and communal taxation

Anything that is declared by federal legislation to be subject to, or exempt from value added tax, special consumption taxes, stamp duty or withholding tax may not be made liable to similar taxes by the Cantons or communes.

Article 135. Equalisation of financial resources and burdens

  1. The Confederation shall issue regulations on the equitable equalisation of financial resources and burdens between the Confederation and the Cantons as well as among the Cantons.
  2. The equalisation of financial resources and burdens is intended in particular to:
    1. reduce the differences in financial capacity among the Cantons;
    2. guarantee the Cantons a minimum level of financial resources;
    3. compensate for excessive financial burdens on individual Cantons due to geo-topographical or socio-demographic factors;
    4. encourage intercantonal cooperation on burden equalisation;
    5. maintain the tax competitiveness of the Cantons by national and international comparison.
  3. The funds for the equalisation of financial resources shall be provided by those Cantons with a higher level of resources and by the Confederation. The payments made by those Cantons with a higher level of resources shall amount to a minimum of two thirds and a maximum of 80 per cent of the payments made by the Confederation.