Italy takes Switzerland off list of tax havens

Swiss-Italian relations are marked by – among other things – the cross-border workers (“frontalieri”) who migrate to the job each day. © Keystone / Gaetan Bally

Switzerland’s southern neighbour has removed it from a “black list” on which it has figured since 1999.

This content was published on April 20, 2023

Swiss Finance Minister Karin Keller-Sutter and Italian counterpart Giancarlo Giorgetti signed a declaration to “remove the administrative hurdle to tax relations between the two countries”, the Swiss State Secretariat for International Finance (SFI) wrote on Thursday.

In 1999, Italy named Switzerland a tax haven for natural persons, in an effort to clamp down on wealthy Italians declaring fake residences in the Alpine Nation to escape tax.

The step overturned the burden of proof by forcing Italians who claimed to have a Swiss address to show evidence that they actually lived there – rather than it being up to tax authorities to chase them down.

Switzerland has long lobbied to be removed from the list, complaining of administrative hurdles for Italians who wanted to settle in the Alpine Nation, as well as of the negative influence it had for Switzerland’s reputation.

Last November, Swiss President (and Italian-speaker) Ignazio Cassis told visiting Italian head of state Sergio Mattarella that “there was no more reason” for the inclusion.

+ Read more: despite reforms, Swiss tax haven image still sticks

The two countries also decided on Thursday to implement provisional rules concerning the taxation of cross-border workers who work from home (i.e. employed in Switzerland but working online from Italy).

They also discussed a 2020 agreement on the overall taxation system for cross-border workers, which was ratified by the Swiss parliament last year but which is still awaiting approval by the Italian parliament.

The deal foresees cross-border workers paying 80% of their taxes in Switzerland and 20% in Italy.

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