9 Feb 2009

Swiss canton ends tax breaks for foreigners

12:51 pm on 9 February 2009

Voters in Zurich have broken with long-standing policy by bringing tax breaks for wealthy foreigners to an end.

Some 52.9% voted to do away with the privileges, which will apply to state and community taxes, but not federal taxes.

Switzerland has long attracted some of the world's richest people, as most of its 26 cantons, offer flat taxes to foreigners.

Both the government and Parliament opposed the change, warning it could prompt an exodus of rich foreigners.

In 2006, 137 people were listed as qualifying for special tax rules in Zurich. It is the first canton to eliminate the flat, or lump-sum, tax.