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Tax on securities and insurance premiums

Anyone who owns securities must declare them in their tax return. Anyone who issues or trades in securities must pay stamp duty.

Taxing the ownership of securities

Swiss and foreign securities are liable to wealth tax, while the income they produce is also taxable.

Gains in the value of shares and bonds are tax free as long as they are privately owned and as long as the investor is not classified as a professional investorInterest paid on savings accounts and bonds, as well as dividend payments, subscription rights related to increases in corporate capital and bonus shares are liable to income tax.

Participants in investment funds are the indirect owners of the securities held by the fund. Anyone who owns units in a fund will be treated by the tax authorities as if he or she were the direct owner of the securities in the fund.

Securities and the income by way of interest must be listed in the relevant section of your tax return. Income produced from the interest of securities is subject to withholding tax.

Information on the list of securities

Tax on the issue or trading of securities

Stamp duty is charged when securities such as shares or bonds are issued or traded. It is also charged on insurance premiums. The duty is collected by the Confederation.

A distinction is made between the following forms of stamp duty:

  • The stamp duty on new issues is levied on Swiss equity securities. The duty covers the issue – whether for a consideration or free of charge – and any increase in the nominal value of equity securities (shares, capital contributions, etc.). Swiss companies are liable to pay a levy on the equity securities.
    When a company is set up, or in the event of an increase in capital, an allowance of CHF 1 million is currently granted for equity securities that are issued. The first issue or an increase in equity securities in connection with mergers, demergers or conversions of corporations or cooperatives, as well as the transfer of the registered office of a foreign company to Switzerland are all exempt from stamp duty.
  • The duty on sales amounts to 1.5‰ for Swiss securities and 3‰ for foreign securities and is payable by the purchaser when securities are bought and sold. The Stamp Duties Act contains no provision as to who is to bear the duty due. However, under the ‘Transfer tax’ title, the counterparty may not be charged more than the duty due.
  • The stamp duty on insurance premiums amounts to 5% (or 2.5% on life insurance with a single premium). This duty is payable on third party liability, fire, comprehensive vehicle insurance and house contents insurance. Life insurance policies with regular premiums, along with health, accident, invalidity and unemployment insurance premiums are exempt from tax.