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The European Union considers that certain tax regimes in Swiss cantons are discriminatory, as the profits of domestic and foreign companies are sometimes taxed differently. In 2010, the EU invited Switzerland to adopt the EU's Code of Conduct for business taxation. Exploratory talks have since been conducted with the EU in order to define the conditions for a dialogue.
The Federal Council has set out three objectives in the mandate text: safeguard and further develop the tax appeal of Switzerland as a business location; promote the international acceptance of Switzerland's corporate tax system; secure the receipts of the Confederation, cantons and communes for financing government activities.
The mandate text was approved by the Conference of the Cantonal Governments of Switzerland today. In addition, it will be the subject of consultations with the responsible committees of both chambers in the weeks ahead.