Sessionsrückblicke

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National Council

20.026 Code of Civil Procedure. Amendment

This week, the National Council, as the second chamber of parliament, dealt with the revision of the Code of Civil Procedure. Like the Council of States before it, it is clearly in favor of the important introduction of professional secrecy protection for corporate lawyers, in addition to technical modernization. This should ensure that Swiss companies operating abroad have the same procedural guarantees as local companies, for example in the USA. This decision is clearly supported by SwissHoldings.

Although Parliament would like to tighten up the Federal Council’s technically more convincing draft, the National Council deleted the problematic requirement of reciprocity introduced by the Council of States. The version decided by the National Council essentially provides that, in the case of commercial companies, with respect to the activities of their in-house legal service, a party may refuse to cooperate and need not surrender documents if the legal service is headed by a person who is admitted to the bar and the activity in question would be considered professionally specific in the case of a lawyer.

The decision of the National Council is the right step for strengthening Switzerland as a business location.

The bill will now go back to the Council of States, which will deal with it again in the autumn session at the earliest as part of the procedure for the revision of differences.

21.019 Value Added Tax Act. Partial revision

In principle, the present partial revision brings hardly any relief for companies and represents hardly any progress for the VAT system overall. Nevertheless, certain company-specific improvements have been achieved. For example, simplifications to the relocation procedure have been agreed. These are primarily relevant for companies involved in cross-border trade, for whom import tax is to be waived in future. Furthermore, with the new Art. 37a, a manageable VAT accounting procedure for foreign companies with low Swiss turnover was adopted: taxpayers without a domicile or place of business in Switzerland, whose turnover with taxable services in Switzerland amounts to up to CHF 250,000 per tax period, do not have to appoint a representative according to Art. 67 VAT Act and must, according to the rules of the balance tax rate method according to Art. 37 Para. 2 et seq., account individually with the FTA for each service in Switzerland within 10 days of payment of the service via simple payment against tax certificate.

In contrast, the Grand Chamber created various new exceptions in the area of consumer goods. For example, monthly hygiene articles are now to be taxed at the reduced rate, which unfortunately reinforces the negative tendency to privilege certain areas of consumption.

The bill now goes to the Council of States, which could still overturn these decisions as a second council. It will deal with it in the fall session at the earliest.

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