Tax Power and Tax Competition

  • Nils SoguelEmail author
Part of the Governance and Public Management book series (GPM)


There are few domains as suited as taxation at expressing the particularities of the Swiss system. Various elements combine here: the smallness of the country and of its cantons (and thus their exposure to external political and economic context), the federal system, the country’s decentralization, and direct democracy. The tax system, seen as a whole, is not a rational, systematic, or even theoretical construction, and Swiss fiscality offers a diversity that likely does not exist anywhere else. Depending on the canton, revenue, wealth, profit, capital, and even inheritances are taxed differently. Municipalities can also choose the taxes they wish to levy and the tax rate. Two key elements explain why significant differences in the cantonal and municipal tax burdens exist: tax competition and the balance between direct and indirect taxes. Despite these differences, a large majority of the Swiss population continues to favor cantonal and municipal tax autonomy.


Tax burden Tax competition Tax autonomy Piggy-back system 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.IDHEAPUniversity of LausanneLausanneSwitzerland

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