Tax agreement with the USA
An agreement on the US tax law FATCA was signed between Switzerland and the USA in mid-February on behalf of the Federal Council. The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) enables the USA to force foreign banks to disclose the accounts of US customers to the US fiscal authorities. Independently of the agreement now signed, Swiss banks must implement the FATCA law from 2014 or face being excluded from the US capital market. The agreement between Switzerland and the USA allows Swiss banks to benefit from simplified procedures.
The Federal Council set out its strategy for the future of Swiss healthcare at the end of January in a paper entitled “Gesundheit2020”. A total of 36 measures are provided. The Federal Council stated that the current healthcare structures are too heavily focused on acute and inpatient care. Patients will have to be provided with more differentiated care services in future. The priorities will be the prevention of illness as well as long-term care for the elderly and chronically ill. The Federal Council believes an amendment to the Health Insurance Act (KVG) is required.
How long do we work for just to cover tax contributions?
The Federal Tax Administration has calculated for the first time how many days the Swiss work on average just to cover their tax contributions. This clearly differs depending on income, marital status, canton and commune. Based on a family with two children and a gross income of 80,000 Swiss francs a year, Geneva with 20 working days for taxes and Schwyz with 21 are the most favourable locations, whereas the most days are worked in Delémont (40) and in Neuchâtel and Lausanne (43). A single person with an income of 50,000 Swiss francs works for 13 days just to cover taxes in Zug, 20 in Schwyz, 43 in Solothurn and 45 in Neuchâtel.
The results can be viewed in full in German at “Tax Freedom Days”
www.estv.admin.ch -> Steuerstatistiken -> Steuerbelastung -> «Tax Freedom Days»
Who keeps their promises?
The online voting aid Smartvote has examined the discrepancy between promises made during election campaigns and the actual political behaviour of Swiss parliamentarians. It comes to the conclusion that new members of parliament fail to keep their electoral promises more often than experienced parliamentarians. The same is true of members of the centre parties – the Green Liberals (GLP) and the Christian Democratic People’s Party (CVP). The most inconsistent politicians are Margrit Kessler (GLP) followed by Fabio Regazzi and Yannick Buttet (both CVP). Among the party leaders, Martin Landolt of the Conservative Democratic Party (BDP) most frequently breaks his promises. Andy Tschümperlin from Schwyz, the Swiss Social Democratic Party (SP) National Councillor, followed by Social Democrat Roger Nordmann, Walter Wobmann (SVP) and Daniel Vischer of the Greens are truest to their word.
Jörg Steiner rarely raised his voice but often spoke powerfully. He observed the world, often with concern, and described what he saw. One example is the 1996 novella “Der Kollege”, the story of an unemployed person who disappears from society. Other works written in the 1970s in collaboration with the graphic artist Jörg Müller include children’s books like “Alle Jahre wieder saust der Presslufthammer nieder” and “Der Bär, der ein Bär bleiben wollte”. In “Wer tanzt schon zu Musik von Schostakowitsch”, published in 2000, we read: “That the truth is a story which changes from day to day is only natural.” This sentence reveals much about Jörg Steiner, his misgivings, his sense of humour and his ability with language. In his last work “Ein Kirschbaum am Pazifischen Ozean”, published in 2008 as a recollection of a trip to California twelve years earlier, Steiner wrote: “We don’t understand what happens to us.” Jörg Steiner passed away on 20 January 2013 at the age of 82.
“To create is to resist. To resist is to create.”
Stéphane Hessel, French diplomat and writer, died on 27 February 2013 aged 96
“Faint-heartedness and delusions of grandeur have repeatedly
been the driving forces behind moves to forsake our Switzerland and its values and to adapt.”
Swiss President Ueli Maurer at the Albisgüetli Conference
“Switzerland is undergoing enormous change and, at the same time,
endeavouring to project the illusion of stability.”
Mario Erdheim, psychoanalyst and ethnologist from Zurich
“In order to defend Switzerland’s interests, I would travel to the ends of the earth if necessary.”
Swiss President Ueli Maurer in an interview
“This is a huge blow to social cohesion in our country.”
Federal Councillor Simonetta Sommaruga on the CHF 72 million that
Daniel Vasella was to have been paid in return for doing nothing
“If the human brain was simple enough for us to understand, we would still be so stupid that we couldn’t understand it.”
Jostein Gaarder, Norwegian writer
“An original thought is as rare as a gold coin in the gutter.”
Christian Morgenstern (1871 – 1914)
“I’m a Grey, not a Green:
grass is for cows.”
Luigi Snozzi, Swiss architect (born 1932)