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2020 Will Mark the End of an Era: Swiss Corporate Tax Reform Accepted

2020 Will Mark the End of an Era: Swiss Corporate Tax Reform Accepted

On May 19, 2019, Swiss Federal and Genevan cantonal voters accepted proposed corporate tax reforms by a large majority.  As explained by Thierry Boitelle and Aliasghar Kanani of Bonnard Lawson Geneva, Switzerland will abolish its widely criticized cantonal special tax regimes and certain Federal regimes.  At the same time, Switzerland and the cantons will introduce generally applicable reduced and attractive corporate income tax rates and several new special regimes, meeting current international standards and requirements.  These changes will be effective as of 2020.

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Foreign Correspondence: Notes from Abroad

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HOLIDAY SHOPPING, CANADIAN RETAIL PRICES AND TRANSFER PRICING CONTROVERSY

By Michael Peggs

When people think of massive transfer pricing cases, the driver typically is the diversion of profits to a low-tax jurisdiction. But transfer pricing issues are now filtering down to the level of retail shoppers facing retail price disparity in adjacent jurisdictions. A typical case is the premium that Canadian purchasers generally pay over prices charged in the U.S. for comparable products.

Before the internet, it was customary for Canadians to receive flyers in the mail from U.S. grocery and department stores. The flyers offered bargains for the holidays. The internet now allows instant price comparisons and greater choice for Canadian consumers. Disregarding sub rosa impediments to competition that permeate many areas of the Canadian economy – think of cultural preferences – Canadians have complained loudly that retail prices are unfairly high when compared with exchange-adjusted U.S. prices. A typical example is print media where the premium for pricing the Canadian edition was not reduced over the period in which the Canadian dollar reached parity with its U.S. counterpart.

The Canadian government is now preparing to give the Competition Bureau new powers to persuade U.S. multinationals with Canadian retail operations to lower prices or to achieve retail price parity, as will be determined. One hopes that Industry Canada will intervene with the Canada Revenue Agency (“C.R.A.”) before drafting legislation, as an unintended consequence may be a new round of Canadian transfer pricing controversy.