Map of the Swiss Cantons
Swiss Cantons and their Tax Systems
There are 26 cantons in Switzerland, officially called the Federated States of the Swiss Confederation. Each canton operates independently and has its own Constitution and Parliament. The cantons meet at the Council of States in order to act at the national level.
This cantonal structure influences many of Switzerland’s legal structures including tax rates which vary throughout the country. Each canton is free to determine its own personal and corporate taxes. Tax in Switzerland actually consists of three separate “sub-taxes” and the rates for these differ between cantons:
- Federal tax is identical for all cantons, the rate is fixed at the national level.
- Cantonal tax, which is determined by each canton.
- Municipal tax, which can be set by each municipality in Switzerland (there are 2,485 municipalities).
A number of cantons are therefore particularly appealing for businesses, such as Zug, which had over 200,000 registered companies in 2012. Most companies are located in the cantons of Lugano, Lausanne, Zurich, Geneva, Zug and Obwalden. Obwalden is the canton with the lowest corporate tax rate.