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Switzerland has long been a choice destination for expats seeking a low tax environment. However, that could all be about to change with new laws making their way through the Swiss legislatures.
Socialist politicians and Swiss citizens especially those living in rural areas have grown irritated with the special treatment given to foreign tax exiles and there is a sense that the tide of public opinion could be turning against them.
Tax rates are currently based on five times the value of the annual rental income of a foreigner’s Swiss home. This rate will increase to seven times. Those who live in hotels while they reside in Switzerland will pay three times the cost of their room, up from two times.
There will also be a minimum earning threshold required to be passed to gain access to the new tax system. Expats will have to earn CHF 400,000 to qualify.
The legendary Swiss commitment to financial secrecy has also come under attack recently with the British government offering amnesty to expats hiding wealth in Switzerland.
There is also a bilateral agreement in place whereby the Swiss authorities will keep their British counterparts informed of the top exit destinations for funds originating in Switzerland.
Hundreds of billions is expected to leave Switzerland if these laws are passed, much of it heading east to Singapore.