Swiss set up vote on ending wealthy tax break

Swiss set up popular vote to end tax breaks that draw wealthy foreigners

Associated Press

GENEVA (AP) -- Swiss socialists and labor unions have succeeded in putting the country's tax breaks for foreign millionaires up to a popular vote.

The tax breaks introduced 150 years ago have helped attract foreigners like Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad, Formula One champion Michael Schumacher and pop stars Tina Turner, Phil Collins and Shania Twain.

The government said Thursday a petition on the issue drew 103,353 signatures, enough to call for parliamentary debate and national referendum within several years.

Already, four of the nation's 26 cantons, or states, have decided to scrap the breaks that allow the rich to pay a flat fee and avoid income tax.

That boosts local economies and banks, but creates resentment among ordinary people who pay more tax than rich celebrities.

More than 5,000 foreigners use the tax breaks.

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