2023 Safe Harbour Interest Rates for Swiss Tax Purposes

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On 7 and 8 February 2023, the Swiss Federal Tax Administration posted the 2023 editions of the two circulars on safe harbour interest rates. These interest rates reflect the developments on the capital markets and are on the rise accordingly. As for the interest rates for CHF loans, this is the first change since 2015, and it turns out significant at that.

As from 1 January 2023, the minimum rate for CHF loans to related parties is 1.50 %, if refinanced by equity (previously 0.25 %). The maximum borrowing rate for operating entities corresponds to the weighted average of 3.75 % (previously 3.00 %) for the first CHF 1 million of related party borrowing and 2.25 % (previously 1.00 %) for any additional amounts of related party borrowing. As usual, any rates beyond the safe harbour should be accepted to the extent substantiated by third-party comparison.

The table of interest rates for loans in foreign currencies shows even bigger leaps than for CHF loans. In particular, the rate for EUR loans climbs to 3.00 % (previous year 0.50 %), the rate for USD loans to 3.75 % (previous year 2.00 %).

Important to note: unilateral safe harbour rates are a ‘hallmark’ under EU Council Directive 2018/822 (DAC 6). I.e., relying on the SFTA rates for cross-border financing to/from the EU – if permissible at all under foreign law – may trigger reporting requirements.

The standard capitalization rate used by tax authorities for business valuations has also moved – albeit downwards. This is due to the fact that this rate is based on the moving average of the market interest rates of the three previous years. The standard rate for valuations with a balance sheet date from 1 January 2022, as published in December 2022, is now 8.50 % (9.50 % in the previous year). Between 2015 and 2020, it was 7.00 %. The change leads to higher valuations of shares in non-listed companies.

Click here for the 2023 circular on safe harbour interest rates for CHF denominated loans (in German).

Click here for the 2023 circular on safe harbour interest rates for loans in foreign currencies (in German).

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