Flat tax rule imminent
The abolishment of the flat rate taxes or it’s tightening in combination with the secondary residence initiative, is “a death blow in instalments” for the mountain regions – summerizes Hans Wanzenried, president of “IG Arbeitsplätze im Berggebiet“ Therefore he wants to fight for two no’s regarding the two initiatives and for the counter proposal. ‘We have to inform and demonstrate what the consequences are for our Canton and particularly for the mountain regions’, he says.
It is planned that a vote regarding an amendment to the laws of flat tax will take place on September 23 2012. If the initiative is approved only foreigners who have a taxable income lower than SFr 400’000, will be able to take advantage of the flat tax option.
This lower limit is unacceptable for “IG Arbeitsplätze im Berggebiet“ who are for a flat rate taxation in its present form. This new proposal is equal to an abolishment, says IG president Hans Wanzenried. We assume that from those 200 concerned people in the Canton Bern only 55 will still be flat taxed. The rest of them will be taxed ordinarily. Around 40% of the concerned people in the municipality of Saanen will not be affected as their income is around the new proposed limit of SFr 400’000.
But the remaining Oberland would loose its affected people. And moving away wouldn’t be a problem for them – points out Aldo Kropf, council president of Saanen. The Zurich example shows how easily people change their domiciles. Approximatly 50% of the concerned people left Zurich and other Cantons welcome them with joy. The Canton Bern would only be collecting the simple official property tax for those who keep their houses and apartments in Bern.
The tax revenues however remained the same in Zurich after the abolishment of the flat tax and the moving away of the concerned people. But Berner Oberland and Zurich are not comparable – says Aldo Kropf. Zurich is a metropolitan economic area. If attractive properties around the “Goldküste” are available, it does not take long until a CEO or a banker will take it over. This way missing taxes can be compensated. Such people will not come to peripheral regions; they will need to stay close to metropolitan areas. Hence we cannot replace the flat tax population this easily.
IG’s priority in this battle for the flat taxes is the preservation of jobs– says Hans Wanzenried. According to a survey done by Credit Suisse, the building industry will lose 30 percent of its jobs due to the secondary residence initiative. Accumulated with the abolishment of the flat tax this number would increase to 50 percent.
Not only in Saanenland are jobs in danger but companies in the whole Canton of Bern. Half of the sales we generate locally, result in companies of the “Bernerunterland” – says Wanzenried. The fact that a trade unionist as Corrado Pardini gambles with places of work is inapprehensible – says Aldo Kropf.
They wish to target rich people but they strike the weakest – he points out. Especially jobholders from European countries, which are affected by financial crisis like Spain, Portugal and Italy are going to suffer from that new law. In their country of origin they currently do not have any chance of finding a job. With their loss of places of work, the Canton will also loose a lot of its tax income and social contributions.
The whole Canton benefits from a booming economy in Saanenland – says Kropf. He cannot understand why one should gamble with this with the current tense economical and financial situation. Saanen pays a lot into the finance and equalisation of burdens, which finances a large part of the Oberland communities.
An average taxpayer in Canton Bern pays SFr 4’500 a year, a flat tax payer SFr115’000. The initiative to reconsider is supported by the same circle as the secondary residence initiative – but obviously the two initiatives contravene each other. People who benefit from flat taxes live in primary residences and this percentage we are trying to increase – Kropf confirms. Again there will be voting without being conscious about the consequences. And afterwards, like with the secondary residence initiative, many questions will occur.