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Swiss voters reject corporate tax reforms

Swiss voters reject corporate tax reforms

BASIL: Switzerland’s attempts to overhaul its corporate tax regime have suffered a setback after voters decisively rejected reforms to bring the country’s practices in line with international standards.

The government had hoped to secure approval for changes that would keep corporate tax rates globally competitive while abolishing special treatment for many multinational companies.

In a referendum on Sunday, however, the plan was rejected by 59.1 per cent of voters — a much larger margin of defeat than opinion polls had suggested.

Bern and the Swiss cantons must now rethink the proposals in the face of threats that important trading partners could take retaliatory action. The defeat is a blow for the business lobby in Switzerland, which fears damaging uncertainty over future corporate tax bills.

The defeat meant Switzerland would no longer fulfil its promises to abolish special privileges by 2019, said Ueli Maurer, finance minister. He feared companies would quit Switzerland, or no longer move to the country as a result of the uncertainty created by Sunday’s vote.