Examination of federal tax relief within the framework of the Federal Act in favor of economic regeneration areas (“Bonny-Beschluss”)

State Secretariat for Economic Affairs

Key facts

Due to certain inconsistencies in the assessment of direct federal tax (DFT) relief, brought to light in 2010 by comparing the data of the Reorganisation of Financial Equalisation (NFA) with data from the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), the Swiss Federal Audit Office (SFAO) began an analysis of this area in 2010, focusing on SECO’s supervision. It was found that the extent of such tax relief largely exceeded the amounts disclosed to Parliament and that the associated measures were disproportionately concentrated in production-related service companies and in certain cantons (Vaud and Neuchâtel accounted for, respectively, 22 % and 23 % of all exemptions and 48 % and 14 % of the total volume of earnings before direct federal tax relief in 20081). The exam identified some serious shortcomings with regard to supervision, in particular the absence of any coordination between the Federal Tax Administration (FTA) and SECO, and no clear definition of how long such relief should apply (ten calendar years or ten fiscal years?).