Swiss companies will no longer be able to deduct bribes paid from taxes – as of January 2022.
The Federal Council agreed at a meeting this week that the Federal Act on the Tax Treatment of Financial Sanctions would come into force.
“Bribes paid to private individuals are no longer tax deductible,” the Swiss government said. The government’s move harmonises taxation with criminal law, it said. In addition, expenses to make a criminal offence possible or payments for a crime are also not tax deductible.
The Swiss Parliament voted for the law in June, with 142 votes in support and 101 opposed.
The move brings Switzerland into line with OECD recommendations on tackling money laundering.
Switzerland made the payment of bribes to individuals illegal in 2015. There were discussions at the time around tax deductibility of bribes.
The OECD welcomed the Swiss move earlier this year. The group expressed concerns about whether Switzerland had provided sufficient training to canton officials on this move.
The country has prosecuted some foreign bribery cases in recent times. The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) issued an indictment in the Petrobras affair in 2019, after opening criminal proceedings in 2015.
Switzerland also found Gunvor guilty of failing to prevent corruption in Congo Brazzaville and Cote d’Ivoire. The OAG is investigating Credit Suisse over its role in Mozambique’s hidden debt scandal.
Transparency International has raised concerns about Switzerland’s lack of a central registry on beneficial ownership. In general, the NGO ranked the country fairly well in its efforts.