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Taxes in Switzerland

In Switzerland, taxes are levied at federal, cantonal and communal levels. In addition the federal government levies indirect taxes, primarily value-added tax (Mehrwertssteuer), withholding tax (Verrechnungssteuer) and stamp duty (Stempelabgaben). Information about these indirect taxes can be found on the website of the Swiss Federal Tax Administration (German/French/Italian).

The cantons and communes levy income tax (Einkommenssteuer), wealth tax (Vermögenssteuer) and inheritance (Erbschaftssteuer) and gift taxes (Schenkungssteuer). Legal entities pay corporate tax on their profits (Gewinnsteuer) and capital (Kapitalsteuer). Property owners who sell land or buildings are liable to capital gains tax on transfers of real estate (Grundstückgewinnsteuer).

Taxes in the Canton of Bern

The Bern Tax Administration is the first authority to get in touch with for questions on tax law. It implements the cantonal Taxation Act (German/French), and the homepage (German/French) provides ready answers to all queries with regard to taxes.
The tax guide (TaxInfo - German/French) contains a full presentation on taxation in general.

Taxes in Bernese communities

The communes also levy income tax (Einkommenssteuer) and wealth tax (Vermögenssteuer), as well as corporate tax on profits (Gewinnsteuer) and capital (Kapitalsteuer), property tax (Grundstückgewinnsteuer) and tax deducted at source (Quellensteuer). In doing so, they refer to the taxation criteria determined by the cantonal authority. The tax rate applied by each commune depends on its tax multiplier. The amount of tax due at communal level can be calculated online (German / French) at any time.

The communes may levy other taxes as well, for example on property (Liegenschaftssteuer), on visitors (Kurtaxe) and on tourist services (Tourismusförderungsabgabe). The most important of these levies, however, is real estate tax (Liegenschaftssteuer), which is determined on the basis of the official value of the property in question. The tax rate is set by the commune but it may not exceed 0.15 per cent of the official value.

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