Inheritance tax is payable by those who inherit, i.e. the deceased's heirs.
Normally, spouses, registered partners and their descendants (children and grandchildren) are exempt from the tax. Stepchildren and foster children are also exempt from the tax, but only in those cantons where they have the same status as biological children.
Inheritance tax is calculated on the basis of the value of the inherited assets. Gifts of personal effects and household items are not taxed in most cantons.
The tax rate and thus the tax payable usually depends on:
the value of the inherited assets.
and/or the degree of family relationship between the heir and the deceased: the more closely they are related, the lower the tax rate. Heirs who are unrelated to the deceased pay a significantly higher amount of tax than related heirs.
If the deceased lived abroad or if an heir lives abroad, and also if the inherited assets are located abroad, the question arises as to which law applies to the inheritance process. There is a real risk of having to pay taxes in more than one country on one and the same inheritance.
In order to avoid this type of double taxation, Switzerland has concluded agreements with a number of countries.
For information on inheritance tax, contact the relevant cantonal tax authorities. Cantonal tax authorities - Inheritance tax
For further information on double taxation, please contact the State Secretariat for International Finance (Double Taxation Treaties Division), the tax authorities of the countries concerned, or a tax expert.
Federal Tax Administration information and brochures on the Swiss tax system
If you have inherited a property, contact the commune where the property is located.
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