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Study Supports Switzerland's New Patent Box

argeted tax incentives would provide a significant boost to research and development activities and help drive innovation in Switzerland, according to a new study.

700 large companies and SMEs were surveyed for the purposes of the study, which was prepared by KPMG Switzerland, the Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce, the Swiss Federation of Small and Medium Enterprises, and economiesuisse.

72 percent of participants said that tax incentives are important or very important to their choice of location for R&D activities. The only factors rated as more important were: opportunities to collaborate with education institutes, such as universities (85 percent); access to qualified, international specialist staff (94 percent); and political and economic stability (95 percent).

Among those surveyed, only a quarter of the companies that had built new R&D centres in the last five years had done so in Switzerland. 95 percent of the companies that expressed some interest in reducing their R&D activities in Switzerland said that the introduction of R&D tax incentives could convince them to remain in the country.

KPMG said: "Switzerland is an enterprising country, boasting one of the world's most innovative economies. It holds this prominent position thanks to the multinational corporations based in the country, as well as large companies and a great number of highly successful small and medium enterprises that make a significant contribution to innovation on Swiss soil. Growing economic and political pressure on Switzerland has led to significant efforts being made to ensure that businesses can remain competitive [in] this market and boost innovation within the country."

KPMG noted that the Government has proposed the introduction of new tax incentives aimed at promoting R&D activities. The Corporate Tax Reform Act III (CTR III) provides for the introduction of a patent box for cantonal taxes. The regime will offer preferential treatment for revenue from patents and similar rights associated with R&D in Switzerland. The cantons will be given the option of applying a higher reduction for R&D expenditure and will be able to introduce targeted capital tax deductions.

Under CTR III, the cantonal tax statuses for holding companies and management companies will be abolished, along with the issue tax on equity capital, and uniform rules for the disclosure of hidden reserves will be introduced.

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