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Taxation of married couples (read...)

After Parliament, it is now the turn of the Federal Council to recommend that the people reject the popular initiative “For the couple and the family – No to the penalisation of marriage”. The aim of the initiative is to establish fiscal equality between married and cohabiting couples. Indeed, as things stand, as a result of the fiscal unity of married couples and the progressive income tax rate (with the two incomes added together and taxed as a whole), as opposed to the individual taxation of cohabiting couples, married couples are heavily penalised in terms of direct federal tax. The Federal Council supports this objective but is opposed to the initiative, for two main reasons: firstly, the initiative seeks to include, in the constitution, a definition of marriage as only “a lasting and legally regulated union between a man and a woman”, thus preventing the legislator from extending marriage to couples of the same sex without introducing a further modification to the constitution. Secondly, the initiative would also grant constitutional status to the principle of common taxation of married couples, which lies precisely at the origin of the fiscal inequality between married and unmarried couples. One again, only a modification to the constitution would enable the establishment of another model of taxation. The people will decide on 28 February 2016.