Corporate tax reform must not threaten social cohesion

Consultation response by the officially recognized churches on Tax Reform Proposal 17

The reform of the corporate tax system has profound effects on the common good. In many cantons, it also affects church parishes, because lower church tax income from businesses limits their possibilities to support the weakest members of society. This is called to mind by the Protestant-Reformed, the Christian Catholic and the Roman Catholic Church in their official consultation response on Tax Reform 17.

On principle, the churches welcome the direction taken by the proposal. It enables the creation of attractive location offers for companies and at the same time provides restrictions to prevent the suggested instruments from being abused at the expense of the common good.  In addition, the new proposal by the Federal Council is more mindful of the effects on cities and communities than Business Tax Reform III.

However, the churches propose modifications on two counts:

  • First, the cantons’ share in the direct federal tax should be increased. This is the only way to ensure that the cantons have the necessary leeway for including cities, communities and parishes when compensating for income reductions.
  • Second, the law should not only request to include the cities and communities in the reform’s implementation. It should also explicitly mention the “financing of tasks serving the common good” and “church parishes.”

In the accompanying note, the churches call to mind the Preamble of the Federal Constitution, according to which the state’s actions must be aligned with the “well-being of its weakest members,” as well as the special importance of the cantonal and communal level for social outreach and church financing.  This should be accounted for in the business tax reform.

The statement is signed by the Council President of the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches, Gottfried Locher, the Bishop of the Christian Catholic Church, Harald Rein, the President of the Swiss Bishops’ Conference, Charles Morerod, and the President of the Roman Catholic Central Conference, Luc Humbel.

»  Download official consultation response