Resident in name only: Flats offered in Zug to help people get cheaper taxes
Unusual advertisements offering apartments where you can stay for just one night a week have been circulating in Zug. The reason: many people across Switzerland want to pay less tax without moving to low-tax regions. Needless to say, the canton doesn’t think much of the offer…
Landlords offer rooms in Zug to confirm residence
"Room for confirmation of residence" is the way these dubious apartments are advertised online. Often, the listings show no photos of the property itself and give imprecise information regarding the address or location of the house. All that is usually given is a brief description and the rental cost, which is often around 900 to 1.700 Swiss francs a month - not a lot, given that Zug is the most expensive place to live in Switzerland.
According to Blick, many of the properties have strict rules stating that they are purely intended as a means to becoming a resident, and that overnight stays are permitted for a maximum of one night per week. The question is, why would someone pay a large sum of money for an unidentified room in Zug that they can't actually live in for most of the time?
The newspaper explained that, in theory, the advertisements give wealthy taxpayers from other parts of the country an opportunity to register their residence as Zug, saving them potentially thousands of Swiss francs when their tax return comes around. Zug has the lowest taxes in Switzerland, meaning a wealthy individual could reduce their tax rate by more than 15 percent by "living" in the canton.
Canton Zug is not happy about the advertisements
Unsurprisingly, the government is not particularly happy about the advertisements: Blick contacted the Zug Department of Economic Affairs who confirmed that they are aware of the advertisements and are looking to take action.
Aside from the clear legal issues surrounding the advertisements, there is also a secondary issue: rental contracts in Switzerland only guarantee the provision of a building for a fee, and landlords are not able to promise residence confirmations as part of the ad.
The newspaper discussed these issues with a lawyer in Switzerland. “Such advertisements are questionable and should be treated with caution. It should also be said that such dubious offers result in the loss of valuable living space”, the expert stated.