‘Give something back’: Zurich announces first income tax cut in decades

Residents of Switzerland’s largest canton will have to pay less tax in the coming two years after Zurich passed its first tax cut in 18 years, although anyone hoping for big savings might be in for a shock.

A person uses a calculator to work out their taxes
Zurich's income tax cut from 2022 is unlikely to put much more cash in your pocket. Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

On Tuesday, Zurich cantonal council voted to cut taxes for the first time since 2003. 

A result of the cut is that residents of Switzerland’s largest canton will need to pay less taxes in 2022 and 2023. 

In passing the cut, those behind it said they wanted to “give something back to the population during the pandemic”. 

The average tax cut for each Zurich resident will however be roughly CHF15 per year, which doesn’t buy you a lot with Zurich’s prices. 

EXPLAINED: What can I deduct from my tax bill in Switzerland?

While the bill won widespread support from the SVP, FDP, Mitte and GLP, it was opposed by the Social Democrats and the Greens, who said it was irresponsible in the time of a crisis and would lead to austerity. 

They said it would cut around 70 million from the budget – which is already CHF300 million in the red. 

Revealed: The Swiss canton with the best tax rates for families

Advocates said it would not force the canton further into debt, although there were no indications as to where the CHF70 million would be cut from the budget. 

The government said it would try and achieve this goal via a “tight budget execution”, i.e. through looking at where small cuts and savings could be made. 

The latest budget approved by Zurich parliamentarians showed a minus of CHF300 million, of a total budget of CHF17.1 billion. 

ANALYSIS: Is Switzerland actually a tax haven?

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REVEALED: What are Zurich’s most popular baby names?

Zurich’s most popular baby names from 2021 have been revealed. A strong trend towards short names has emerged - and there’s barely an Urs or Ursula in sight.

REVEALED: What are Zurich’s most popular baby names?

On Thursday, Zurich council published its list of most popular baby names in 2021. 

During 2021, 5,251 babies were born across the canton, which is Switzerland’s most populous. 

On top of the list for boys was Noah, with 27 of the boys born last year receiving the biblical name. 

The leader for the girls was a little more controversial, with two different names laying claim to the crown. 

While 28 of the girls born in Zurich last year were called Olivia, there were 44 girls born in total with a variation of Sophia/Sofia. 

REVEALED: The most popular baby name in each Swiss canton

Short names dominated both lists, with Emma, Anna, Ella and Mia ranking high for girls, alongside Leo, Louis and Theo for boys. 

Another trend is that diversity is on the slide in Zurich, with fewer names given than in previous years. 

Swiss tabloid Blick reports that while 15 years ago there were 62 different names for every 100 people, there were less than 50 (48 for girls and 47 for boys) in 2021. 

Middle names are also on the rise in Switzerland, with 57 percent having one in 2021 compared to 48 percent in the 1990s. 

How does this compare to Switzerland? 

Although the 2021 figures haven’t been released for Switzerland, those from 2020 showed Noah was popular across the country as the favourite boys name. 

Olivia however was not even in the top five for girls names in Switzerland, where Mia, Emma and Mila were the most popular. 

Much like pretty much everything in Switzerland, there are significant differences between linguistic regions. 

In total, there were 461 Mias born in Switzerland last year, followed by 407 Emmas and 350 Milas.

Switzerland saw 507 Noahs born last year, followed by 372 Liams and 359 Matteos.

Mia and Noah are the most popular names in German-speaking Switzerland as well as in the country as a whole, which is of course helped by the fact that around 60 percent of Switzerland speaks German.

French-speaking Switzerland, also known as Romandie, saw Gabriel and Emma top the charts in 2020.

Sofia claimed top prize in the Italian-speaking part of the country, while Leonardo was far and away the biggest winner among the boys.

The situation is slightly different among Switzerland’s foreigners, with many opting to stick with names popular in their home countries, rather than those in Switzerland. 

READ MORE: What are the most popular baby names among foreigners in Switzerland?