A petition signed by 103,000 Swiss citizens calling for an end to tax perks for foreigners was presented to the Swiss government on October 15. The number of signatures was sufficient to launch a national vote, the timing is yet to be scheduled by the government but as Swiss law states only 3,000 names are needed it is a foregone conclusion that the issue will be debated nationally.
The vote is about the different tax laws applied to Swiss nationals and wealthy foreigners. A socialist party alliance is now fronting a group that is against the preferential tax that allows wealthy foreigners to negotiate a lump-sum tax based on the rental value of their property in Switzerland. In contrast Swiss citizens pay tax on their income and assets. Though many may vote against the preferential tax there are widespread concerns that the elimination of tax perks for wealthy foreigners will result in a massive loss of revenue and jobs in the communities where the wealthy and famous invest. In an interview in TIME Stéphane Garelli, business and economics professor at University of Lausanne, says, “These people are a significant source of revenue and jobs in their communities. If we scrap their tax advantages, they’ll go spend their money elsewhere”.