Property taxes

Philippe FRESARD, notary and lawyer in Berne, and Olivier JACOPIN, notary in St-Aubin NE

In the property field, the cantons have established specific tax systems, to the exclusion of the Confederation.

Property acquisition

This mainly covers transfer duties proportional to the acquisition price levied on the buyer when the property is sold or recorded on the land registry.

Property ownership

This is a specific system which, for owners living in their own building, taxes the so-called rental value of the property as income tax from which it is possible to deduct annual interests on the mortgage and annual maintenance costs (the mechanism is identical to direct federal income tax). This is accompanied by taxation of the building's fiscal value (roughly 80% of the monetary value) considered as capital with, here again, deduction of all mortgage debts. To this is added, almost everywhere, an annual or communal property tax.

Property transfer (property appreciation system)

It is necessary to mention the property appreciation tax, a special tax owed by the seller on the sum corresponding to the difference between the product of the sale and the acquisition price plus expenditure to improve the property. Generally speaking, the property appreciation tax decreases according to the length of ownership of the building. In Switzerland, property appreciation tax is quite specific as there is no capital gains tax per se (e.g. through stock market operations).

Bern/St-Aubin, 05.04.2011


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