The rental value tax should disappear. By 26 votes to 15, the Council of States entered into the matter Tuesday on the reform of a system criticized for many years.
The rental value has existed in Switzerland for over a hundred years. Attempts to abolish this tax have collapsed several times in the ballot box and in Parliament since the early 2000s.
The taxation of rental value would be abolished at the federal and cantonal levels for dwellings occupied by their owners. Second homes would continue to be taxed. In return, the interest on the mortgage debt and the costs of maintaining and renovating the building could no longer be deducted, as is currently the case.
The new law should help reduce the indebtedness of private households, explained Pirmin Bischof (Center / SO) on behalf of the committee. Switzerland is one of the countries in Europe where it is the highest. It is also the only European country where the rental value is taxed as income.
Under the current system, the rental value is calculated according to the theoretical profit that the owner would derive from the rental of his house, even if he lives there. This fictitious income should no longer be taxed, noted Pirmin Bischof. The state rewards those who have debts and punishes those who don’t, he added.
Several elected socialists opposed the entry into the matter. It is a legislative tinkering under the pressure of the lobbies and does not take into account the popular will, affirmed Christian Levrat (PS / FR). He has no chance at the polls. Twenty-one cantons opposed it during the consultation. It would be good to stop it, according to the Fribourgeois.
The current system is fair and consistent, continued Carlo Sommaruga (PS / GE). The reform, on the other hand, creates an even greater inequality of treatment between tenants and owners.
The Federal Council, on the other hand, has always supported the abolition of the tax, explained Finance Minister Ueli Maurer. We need to adopt a project that is understandable and that can go through a referendum.
The government would like owners who own a second home to also be affected, that passive interest continues to be deducted in certain cases and that energy renovation costs can be deducted until 2050 at the latest.
The rental value is determined by the cantonal tax authorities. It takes into account criteria such as living space, location, year of construction and type of habitat. As a general rule, the rental value is at least 60% of the value that could be obtained if the property were rented. The same goes for second homes.
The discussion continues.