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Both councils

20.036 Federal decree on special taxation of large corporate groups (implementation of the OECD/G20 project on taxation of the digital economy)

After the Council of States dealt with the bill as the first chamber in the last fall session, the matter reached the National Council in the first week of the session. In the process, the large chamber deviated from the decisions of the cantonal chamber on key issues.

The chambers disagreed in particular on the question of the distribution key for the gross income of the supplementary tax. While the Council of States supported the 75/25 model from the outset (75% for the cantons, 25% for the Confederation) and thus the compromise decision of the Confederation and the cantons (FDK), the upper chamber initially preferred a 50/50 distribution. SwissHoldings always clearly supported the 75/25 model of the FDK. We are convinced that the cantons will be able to master the implementation of the minimum tax and adapt to the new framework conditions if they are given the necessary tools to do so. A 75/25 distribution of the supplementary taxes would fulfill this criterion. The Councils also disagreed on a subordinate point: the National Council wanted to prescribe the same distribution for the participation of cities and municipalities in the expected additional revenues as for the profit tax. The Council of States rejected this.

Due to the time urgency of the bill, the procedure for resolving the differences was also carried out in the winter session, in which the National Council finally switched to the line of the Council of States on the distribution issue in the second week of the session by 99 votes to 87 with 6 abstentions. After the second vote on the differences, the National Council also followed the line of the Council of States on the question of profit distribution for cities and municipalities.

The bill on the Swiss implementation of the OECD minimum tax bill was able to be debated to a conclusion by both chambers of parliament in this session. In the final vote, the bill was clearly approved by both chambers.

National Council

22.026 Code of Civil Procedure. Amendment

After the National Council dealt with the bill for the first time on May 10, 2022, this session was about the revision of differences. At the beginning of the deliberations, there were still numerous differences to the resolutions of the Council of States.

From our point of view, it is pleasing to note that the question of professional secrecy protection for in-house lawyers could be clarified. In the view of the National Council and the Council of States, this should also apply to lawyers who work in a company. It is gratifying that the parliamentary initiative Markwalder 15.409 can thus finally be realized.

The revision of the Swiss Code of Civil Procedure is thus nearing completion and the important introduction of professional secrecy protection for in-house lawyers into the Swiss legal system is within reach. The final vote will take place in the spring session at the earliest.

22.035 Tonnage tax on ocean-going vessels. Federal law

In the third week, the National Council decided in principle to introduce a new tonnage tax on ocean-going vessels. This request was supported by the SVP, FDP and centrist parliamentary groups. The Greens and the SP are already threatening a referendum if the Council of States follows the decisions of the large chamber.

The aim of the bill is to create the possibility for Swiss ocean shipping companies to be taxed according to cargo capacity instead of being taxed based on the actual profit or loss generated.

SwissHoldings clearly supports the introduction of a tonnage tax.

Today, practically all shipping nations have a tonnage tax. This is internationally accepted and also complies with the specifications of the OECD regarding the future minimum taxation.

With the introduction of a voluntary tonnage tax, Swiss providers will be put on an equal footing with their foreign counterparts and existing competitive tax disadvantages will be eliminated.

Council of States

22.028 Double taxation. Agreement with Ethiopia

22.033 Double taxation. Agreement with Armenia

After the bills had previously been uncontested in the National Council in the fall session, they were also approved by the Council of States without a countermotion in this session.

With the DTA Ethiopia, the Swiss network of agreements will be applied for the first time in East Africa. The decision to update the DTA Armenia brings it into line with the BEPS agreement. Furthermore, a zero rate for group dividends (participation of 50% of the capital, holding period of 1 year, minimum investment in distributing company of CHF 2 million) and relief from the dividend residual rate of 5% (participation of 10% of the capital, minimum investment in distributing company of CHF 100,000) will now be introduced.

Accordingly, SwissHoldings welcomes the approval of the Council of States.

22.048 Automatic exchange of information on financial accounts with further partner states from 2023/2024. Introduction

In the second week of the session, the Council of States unanimously approved the expansion of the existing AEOI network to include an additional 12 states. Namely: Ecuador, Georgia, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Morocco, Moldova, Montenegro, New Caledonia, Thailand, Uganda and Ukraine.

The National Council already approved this extension with clear majorities in the last fall session.

As a result, the agreements will enter into force no later than January 1, 2023, and information on financial accounts will be exchanged for the first time as of 2024, provided that all requirements are met.

SwissHoldings supports the inclusion of these 12 countries in the AEOI network. Switzerland has a great interest in ensuring that the AEOI is agreed with as many countries as possible and that they participate in the implementation of the standard.

22.050 Financial Market Infrastructure Act (FMIA). Amendment (Recognition of foreign trading venues for trading in equity securities of companies domiciled in Switzerland)

In the second week, the Council of States, as the first Council, unanimously decided to transfer the measure to protect the Swiss stock exchange infrastructure into ordinary law.

SwissHoldings welcomes this decision. The transfer of the protective measure into the Financial Market Infrastructure Act (FinfraG) is sensible, purposeful and should be implemented as soon as possible. The protective measure helps to ensure that EU securities firms can continue to trade Swiss shares on Swiss trading venues, thereby preserving the functioning of the Swiss capital market.

The measure is to remain temporary even after it has been incorporated into law and will initially apply for a period of five years, but can be deactivated at any time.

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