Taxes are assets

StP 41 No. 1

Property tax

1. General

The assets are only taxed at the cantonal level. Decisive for the declaration of taxable assets is the asset status on December 31st or at the end of tax liability. Pursuant to Section 41 StG, wealth tax is generally applicable to all net assets.

The subjective capacity of the taxpayer is taken into account, in that the proven debts can be deducted from the gross assets and only an asset surplus is taxed.

2. Taxable assets

2.1. principle

Taxable assets include:

  • movable and immovable property,
  • Assets with usufructuary rights,
  • Assets with undisclosed fiduciary relationships (fiduciary or fiduciary assets of all kinds),
  • Assets of the spouse and minor children.

2.2. Movable and immovable things

The controllable movable property includes, for example, movables, machines, vehicles, material, goods, cattle, valuables, collections, securities, investments, monetary claims and rights of all kinds as well as insurance values ​​(surrender values).

The taxable immovable property includes all types of land within the meaning of Article 655 of the Civil Code (real estate, building rights, co-ownership shares in land, etc.).

2.3. Usufruct assets

Not only the assets owned by the taxpayer are taxable, but according to § 41 Paragraph 2 StG also assets over which the taxpayer only has a right of usufruct. The usufructuary property is therefore generally attributed to the usufructuary for tax purposes.

2.4. Undisclosed Fiduciary Assets

Assets held by a third party on the basis of a trust relationship are generally attributed to the trustor and the real owner.

However, if the trust relationship is not disclosed, the trustee must pay tax on the assets in question.

2.5. Assets of the spouse and minor children

According to § 12 StG, the principle of family taxation (spouses, minor children) also applies to wealth tax. The assets of the cohabiting spouse and minor children are added together to calculate the taxable assets (see StP 12 No. 2).

Article 3 (4) of the Tax Harmonization Act (StHG) regulates that partners in a registered partnership are treated on an equal footing with spouses from the 2007 tax period (see StP 12 No. 1). The above statements therefore also apply mutatis mutandis to partners in registered partnerships.

3. Tax-free assets

3.1. General

According to § 42 StG, the following are exempt from wealth tax:

  • household items and personal effects,
  • prospective or non-redeemable claims.

3.2. Household items and personal effects

Household items include those items that are part of the usual furnishing of an apartment and actually serve residential purposes, such as furniture, carpets, pictures, kitchen and garden tools, dishes, books and entertainment electronics.

Items that are used in everyday life, such as clothes, jewelry, sports equipment, cameras and film equipment, are considered personal objects of use.

Motor vehicles, boats, riding horses and art collections, as well as assets and collections whose value significantly exceeds what is generally customary, or which are likely to become the starting point for significant increases in value, do not count towards household effects or personal effects. Such tangible assets are taxable at market value.

3.3. Prospective or non-redeemable claims

The prospective or non-redeemable claims to periodic benefits include, for example:

  • non-surrenderable life and annuity insurance,
  • the annuities not based on the insurance contract and the beneficiaries,
  • the claims against institutions of the occupational pension scheme,
  • the claims from tied self-provision before they are due,
  • the basic rights to other periodic benefits such as housing rights and alimony,
  • Future inheritance entitlements.

4. Debt

For the calculation of net worth, debts for which a taxpayer is solely liable are fully taken into account in accordance with Section 49 StG. Other debts are only taken into account insofar as the taxpayer has to pay for them (see StP 49 No. 1).

Pension obligations are taken into account as a liability at the present value of the pension if the pension was guaranteed against payment (Section 49 (2) StG).

5. Transfer of use and risk of real estate

Entry in the land register is required to acquire real estate (Art. 656 Paragraph 1 ZGB). The contract for the transfer of ownership requires public notarization in order to be binding (Art. 657 Paragraph 1 ZGB). The benefit and risk can therefore be transferred to the new owner at the earliest on the date of the public notarization (see StP 34 No. 5).

According to case law, contractual agreements regarding the retrospective transfer of benefits and risks are void and therefore irrelevant for the tax authorities when buying real estate. A retroactive transfer of the property to a tax period prior to the public notarization of the land register entry is therefore not recognized for tax purposes when assessing taxable assets, neither for the seller nor the buyer. However, it is permissible to postpone the transfer of benefit and risk by means of a contractual agreement beyond the date of the public notarization.