“Real estate taxation“ is a generic term for a number of taxes relating to real estate:

  • Real estate gains tax
  • Real estate transfer tax
  • Real estate tax

Real estate gains tax is a “property tax” or tax levied on the property itself (as opposed to income tax or wealth tax, which is “personal taxation”). The sole basis of assessment is the profit on the property, calculated as the difference between revenue and investment value. The investment value is determined by the purchase price plus allowable expenditure.1

Real estate transfer tax, which as in the case of real estate gains tax is charged when a property is transferred, is a so-called “legal transaction tax”. Depending on the Canton, the assessment basis in this case is the purchase price, the official value or the current market value of the real estate.

Real estate tax is linked to the ownership or use of the real estate. It is a “special tax” associated with personal taxation which leads to double taxation on the real estate holding. In most cases tax is charged on the current market value; in the case of agriculture and forestry real estate it is charged on the capitalised value.

1 In the Canton of Zurich, in the case of a period of ownership of more than 20 years the value for which the property was purchased 20 years earlier is applied as the acquisition price.

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