The SFTA safe harbour interest rate guidance is applicable for 2022 on shareholder and intercompany loans, denominated in Swiss Francs and foreign currencies.
Swiss corporate taxpayers have the right to deviate from these interest rates so long as they are able to demonstrate that any such deviation is “in line with the arm’s length principle” – i.e. demonstrate such rates are supported by a transfer pricing study.
SWISS FRANC TRANSACTIONS
For loans denominated in Swiss Francs, made to shareholders and related entities, the minimum 2022 interest rates a Swiss taxpayer should receive are:
Loans financed through equity
Loans financed through debt
The actual interest incurred plus 0.5% on amounts up to CHF 10m, or plus 0.25% on amounts exceeding CHF 10m
For loans denominated in Swiss Francs, received from shareholders and related entities, the maximum 2022 interest rates a Swiss taxpayer should pay are:
Real estate loans:
a) Up to a loan in the amount of the first mortgage (i.e. 2/3 of the market value of the property)
1% (Housing & Agriculture)
1.5% (Industry & Commerce)
b) Remainder with the following maximum rates for debt financing:
1.75% (Housing & Agriculture)
2.25% (Industry & Commerce)
Swiss trading or production company for an operational loan:
1% to 3%
Swiss holding or asset administration company for an operational loan: 2.5% on amounts up to CHF 1m, or 0.75% on amounts exceeding CHF 1m
0.75% to 2.5%
When calculating the maximum tax allowable interest, any hidden equity capital must also be taken into account. This is done on the Circular letter no. 6 of the direct federal tax of June 6, 1997 regarding hidden equity (Art. 65 and 75 DBG) in corporations and cooperatives referenced, which is also relevant for matters of withholding tax and stamp duties.
FOREIGN CURRENCY TRANSACTIONS
For foreign currency loans granted by a Swiss lending company, minimum rates that must be charged to a related entity are set out in a table provided by the STFA (see or request the Questro flyer with full currency table). However, these rates are subject to two important overrides:
These minimum interest rates are considered by SFTA to also apply to foreign currency borrowings, i.e. interest rates that a Swiss taxpayer can pay to a related party. However, for loans to a Swiss company, the difference between the aforementioned CHF minimum and maximum interest rates can be added as a spread to the reference rate, i.e. for a trading company with operating loans up to CHF 1m a spread of 2.75% (3% - 0.25%) can be added and for loans exceeding CHF 1m 0.75% (1% - 0.25%) can be added.