Switzerland - Other taxes and levies

Switzerland - Other taxes and levies

Taxation of international executives

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Social security tax

Are there social security/social insurance taxes in Switzerland? If so, what are the rates for employers and employees? 

Employer and employee

Type of insurance Paid by employer Paid by employee Total
Old age and disability 1) 5.125% 5.125% 10.25%
Unemployment insurance I 2) 1.10% 1.10% 2.20%
Unemployment insurance II 2) 0.50% 0.50% 1.00%
Total 6.225% 6.225% 12.45% 

Additionally for Canton of Geneva only


Type of Insurance Paid by employer  Paid by employee  Total
Maternity Insurance 0.041% 0.041% 0.082%

Resident individuals and individuals having a gainful activity in Switzerland are required to contribute to the mandatory old age and disability insurance scheme. Employers must also contribute. The contribution is 10.25 percent of total remuneration (unlimited) of which 5.125 percent is charged to the employee and 5.125 percent to the employer.

Individuals having a gainful activity in Switzerland are also subject to mandatory unemployment insurance. The contributions (employee and employee each pay half of the total) are 2.2 percent of remuneration up to an annual salary of CHF 148’200. A solidarity surcharge of 1.0 percent (split evenly between the employee and the employer) is also due on income over CHF 148’200 uncapped.

Switzerland has concluded social security treaties with more than 30 countries. Providing certain conditions are met, exemption is available for a certain period from the Swiss social security system if an employee continues to contribute to his/her or her home social security system. Please note that special regulations apply to individuals from countries from the European Union.

Private retirement and disability pensions are compulsory for most employees subject to the Federal Old Age and Disability Insurance for annual earnings between CHF 24,675 and CHF 84,600. The employer’s contributions must be at least equal to those of the employee. Rates vary according to age. Most pension plans give additional pension cover in excess of these minimum requirements.

Contributions to foreign pension plans may be deductible provided the plan is broadly similar (such as insured risks, benefits, and so on) to a Swiss pension plan.

Gift, wealth, estate, and/or inheritance tax

Are there any gift, wealth, estate, and/or inheritance taxes in Switzerland?

All cantons, but not the federation, levy a wealth tax on their residents, which is generally imposed on the worldwide net worth of the taxpayer, excluding the value of foreign real estate and foreign permanent establishments. Excluded assets are, however, taken into consideration in determining the tax rates, which are progressive (annually 0.1 percent to 1 percent of taxable net worth). Some cantons exempt taxpayers whose wealth is below a certain level.

All debts are deductible and are allocated to the assets pro rata to their values irrespective of how the asset is financed.

There is no federal inheritance or gift tax. However, most cantons impose such taxes on their residents or on real estate located in their jurisdiction. In general, cantonal inheritance tax is levied on all inheritances and is based on the total net estate. The rate depends upon the relationship between the heirs and the deceased person. In most cantons, spouses and children are exempt from inheritance and/or gift tax. The maximum tax burden amounts to up to 49.5 percent of the estate in the case of non-direct inheritance. The tax rate for children is generally between 0 percent and 3.5 percent. The last canton of residence of the deceased person or donor has the right to tax the beneficiary irrespective of the beneficiary’s residence, subject to any relevant tax treaty. The canton has the right to levy inheritance tax on all persons whose last place of residence was in that canton or who held immovable property located in that canton at the date of death. The canton of Schwyz does not levy an inheritance or a gift tax.

Gift tax is generally levied in a similar manner to inheritance tax. (Exception: The canton of Lucerne does not generally levy a gift tax.)

Real estate tax

Are there real estate taxes in Switzerland?

Switzerland does not tax gains made on disposal of investment or personal assets with the exception of real estate owned in Switzerland.

The rules and rates for capital gains on the disposal of real estate vary from canton to canton and depend on how long the property was held.

Sales/VAT tax

Are there sales and/or value-added taxes in Switzerland?

Switzerland levies value-added tax at a standard rate of 8.0 percent. Certain products are exempt from this tax (such as, healthcare, social security, insurance, and export of goods); others are taxed at a reduced rate of 2.5 percent.

Finally, any overnight stays at a hotel and other accommodations will be taxed at a rate of 3.8 percent.

Unemployment tax

Are there unemployment taxes in Switzerland?

In Switzerland there is no unemployment tax. Employees are protected by an unemployment insurance system, to which they contribute equally with their employer (1.1 percent each subject to a salary cap of CHF126,000, 0.5 percent each on salary over CHF126,000).

Other taxes

Are there additional taxes in Switzerland that may be relevant to the general assignee? For example, customs tax, excise tax, stamp tax, and so on.  

Church taxes

For three recognized churches: Swiss Protestant Church, Roman Catholic, and Christian Catholic, a church tax is levied by some cantons.

Local taxes

In general, there are no additional local taxes, except in the cantons of Grison and Schwyz, where an additional Kreis or Bezirks tax is levied. The tax is levied by the canton and is based on a percentage of cantonal base tax. Some cantons or communes still levy a small tax on the value of real estate whilst some communities also levy a firefighters’ tax and dog taxes.

Stamp duty

There is a stamp duty on security transactions, transfer taxes amounting to 0.3 percent on foreign securities and 0.15 percent on Swiss securities.

© 2016 KPMG AG/SA, a Swiss corporation, is a subsidiary of KPMG Holding AG/SA, which is a subsidiary of KPMG Europe LLP and a member of the KPMG network of independent firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss legal entity. All rights reserved. Printed in Switzerland. The KPMG name, logo and “cutting through complexity” are registered trademarks or trademarks of KPMG International.

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