• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3

French 'double tax' decision angers Swiss

Malcolm Curtis · 7 Jan 2013, 11:11

Published: 07 Jan 2013 11:11 GMT+01:00

The Socialist government of François Hollande announced the decision on December 26th, prompting one Swiss politician, the canton of Vaud’s Finance Minister Pascal Broulis, to describe the move as a “declaration of war”.

As of January 1st, well-heeled French citizens officially residing in Switzerland will no longer benefit from a deal that allows them to pay a lump-sum tax to Swiss governments, in addition to a reduced levy on dividends to Paris.

The French fiscal changes, affecting around 2,000 people, will require such residents to also pay French taxes.

Swiss officials were caught off guard by the move, part of a general campaign by the Hollande government to clamp down on wealthy French citizens seeking ways to evade taxation.

Bern was not officially notified of the double taxation change, Roland Meier, spokesman for the Swiss federal finance department, told the ATS news service.

“We learned of it through a third party,” Meier added.

Broulis, Vaud’s right-wing finance minister, said he was shocked and surprised by the decision taken in Paris.

It was “unilateral, a declaration of war, once more on the part of France,” he is quoted as saying by ATS.

“There is a risk of mounting tension between two countries that are friends — it’s not very healthy,” Broulis said.

“France is a major partner,” he said.

“Many frontaliers (people with jobs in Switzerland who live in a neighbouring country) work in Switzerland and five to seven billion francs in wages flows from Switzerland to France.”

Politicians in Geneva were also concerned by the French decision.

“I deplore the method and the motives of France,” Vincent Maitre, a Christian Democratic Party MP and member of the canton’s tax commission, told the Tribune de Genève.

Maitre said France never ceases to view Switzerland as a tax haven “while they shelter their own tax havens in certain French Polynesian islands”.

He added however that the Hollande government could expect to see many French citizens living in Switzerland to give up their French citizenship rather than be subjected to double taxation.

A policy has existed since 1972 that has allowed French multimillionaires in Switzerland to only pay their taxes in Switzerland, except for a 15-percent levy on dividends.

The dividend tax rate is half of what would be paid in France.

In return, such citizens pay a Swiss tax based not on revenues but on estimated personal expenditures.

In addition to an estimated 2,000 French citizens, 3,445 other wealthy foreigners in Switzerland benefit from advantageous tax concessions, mostly in the French-speaking part of the country.

Malcolm Curtis (news@thelocal.ch)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
France faces same big questions after latest attack
Photo: AFP

The latest terror attack has left France facing similar questions to those it has tackled numerous times since the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January last year. So how will France react?

Muslim leaders denounce attack on French church
CFCM President Anouar Kbibech in front of the Grande Mosque in Paris, June 2015. Photo: AFP

France's Muslim leaders have denounced Tuesday's apparent terror attack at a church, and called for the country's Muslims to band together in support.

French workers 'pay the most taxes in Europe'
Photo: AFP

From tomorrow the French will be the only workers in Europe still handing over money to the taxman.

Church mourns loss of slain 86-year-old French priest
Photo: AFP

Father Jacques Hamel could have retired at 75 but believed he could still be of service so carried on.

What we know about the attack on the French church
Photo: AFP

A priest was killed after armed men took over a church in northern France, before they too were killed by police. Here is what we know.

A timeline of terror in France since Charlie Hebdo
Police officers near the Bataclan concert hall in Paris on November 13th, 2015. Photo: AFP

Here is a recap of major assaults and foiled attempts since the Charlie Hebdo shootings in Paris in January 2015.

Isis claims priest's killing as Hollande vows all-out war
Photo: AFP

Terror group Isis has said its soldiers were behind the killing of a French priest at his church on Tuesday as President François Hollande vows to wage war against them "by every means".

France has long feared terror would strike its churches
Notre Dame is one place of worship that soldiers are asked to protect. Photo: AFP

France's long-standing fears that its churches would be targeted by terrorists were realized on Tuesday. But can the government do anything to protect them?

BREAKING
Priest slain in 'terror attack' on church in northern France
Photo: AFP

UPDATED: Two men armed with knives killed a priest after taking several people hostage at a French church, before they were shot dead by police.

One dead after violent clashes in Calais migrant camp
The "Jungle" migrant camp in Calais. Photo: AFP

An Ethiopian has died after he was stabbed in the chest during clashes at the Calais migrant camp.

Sponsored Article
5 reasons to try dating in Paris with The Inner Circle
A timeline of terror in France since Charlie Hebdo
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
A timeline of terror in France since Charlie Hebdo
Culture
Thirteen free and easy ways to learn French
Culture
32 mistakes foreigners make when they arrive in France
National
Here are the worst scams to avoid whilst driving in France
Analysis & Opinion
Isis can simply be a conduit for the violent desires of psychopaths
Features
Six outdoor bars in Paris you simply must visit
Culture
The open-air Villette cinema has been cancelled over security fears
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Culture
Henri Rousseau exhibition proves huge hit in Paris
National
Frenchman caught trying to sell Nice massacre souvenirs online
Society
OPEN NOW: Here's why you should head to the Paris Plages
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Culture
What's on in France: Still plenty to see and do in July
Lifestyle
Treasures of Versailles to go on display in Australia
National
How to keep cool during France's heatwave
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
Nice attack: What we know so far
National
Nice attacker: Body-building, drug-taking, violent flirt
National
IN IMAGES: Drawings in tribute to Nice attack victims
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Society
Promenade des Anglais: The iconic heart of the French Riviera
France faces more questions after latest deadly attack
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
National
Why is France the target of choice for jihadist attacks?
National
Nice truck attack: 'Bodies went flying like bowling pins'
Nice attack: Families of missing make pleas on Twitter
Politics
Boris Johnson cheered and booed at Bastille Day party
2,765
jobs available