03 February 2021

Tonnage tax – heading for new horizons!

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The planned start of consultation on the tonnage tax at the end of February 2021 represents an opportunity to increase Switzerland's competitiveness in the area of ocean shipping.

Maritime transport and Switzerland - what may seem contradictory at first due to its geographical location has its origin in historical reasons. After the Second World War, which has exposed the vulnerability of Switzerland’s supply security, the national government provided economic support to expand its own fleet. Today, the fleet operated by Swiss-based companies ranks 5th in Europe and 11th in the world in terms of gross tonnage.

However, the Swiss maritime sector has been in crisis for years. In addition to economic problems, the lack of competitiveness is especially caused by the outdated legal and regulatory framework. In particular, the ordinarily taxation of shipping companies cannot keep up with the competitive taxation models that are in force internationally. These models can be divided into (i) the tonnage tax and (ii) other specific special regulations for companies operating in the maritime sector.

The enactment of a Swiss tonnage tax was already discussed in parliament a few years ago, but then further treatment was delayed. Now the tonnage tax is gaining momentum again and the consultation procedure is scheduled to start at the end of February 2021.

For further information on the possible implementation of the tonnage tax and its advantages, please click here:

EXPERT FOCUS 2016 ǀ 11 – November 2016 (PDF, 111 Kb) (article is only in German)

We will keep you informed about the outcome of the consultation and a possible implementation.

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