On June 14, 2015, Swiss voters rejected a proposal that would have introduced a federal estate and gift tax in the country. Seventy-one percent of the voters were against it, which is an unusually clear majority (in some cantons, even more than 80 percent were against it). Under the proposal, a flat 20 percent estate and gift tax would have been introduced, the only exemption would have applied between spouses and certain allowances would have been available for enterprises.
This vote was the last in a series of recent proposals that were directed against businesses and high-net-wealth individuals, all of which the voters rejected in the end. In recent years, the Swiss have rejected matters such as the introduction of minimum wage laws, of longer annual paid holidays (increase from currently four to six weeks) or a repeal of lump sum taxation for wealthy individuals. With last weekend’s result, a period of relative uncertainty for many clients has come to an end.