Geneva: The region of Zurich, the home of
Swiss banking, has lost nearly half its foreign millionaires
two years after scrapping special tax breaks, official figures
published today showed.
Of the 201 foreign residents who benefited from the tax
breaks which the canton scrapped in early 2009, 97 have
decamped to more favourable tax regimes, the region`s tax
services department said.
Those departures represent a loss of 12.2 million Swiss
francs (USD 13 million) in tax revenues last year, however
that figure is more than recouped by the higher tax bills
charged to the high-earners who decided to stay on.
Switzerland has come under pressure from its neighbours
-- many of which have depleted state coffers -- as well as
from some of its own citizens over its flat rate tax system
that has attracted the wealthiest to claim residency here.
Among them are celebrities such as musician Phil Collins
and Formula 1 ex-champion Michael Schumacher.
In a bid to counter increasing opposition to the tax
system, the Swiss government has put forward proposals to make
these wealthy foreigners pay more, although not too much so as
to avoid causing them all to leave.
Last week Switzerland as a whole took a step towards
higher taxes on 5,000 wealthy foreign residents, with the
upper chamber of parliament approving a bill for a higher tax
The text will now be put to the lower chamber, where
Socialists are however expected to try to block the adoption
of the bill, as they want preferential tax treatment for
foreigners scrapped completely.