Message from Switzerland (very slightly boaty)

tcm

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Ten+ years in power and the uk labour govt has discovered that some b*stards have ONLY been paying the amount of tax that is required by law! The bl**dy selfish gits! They oughta be ashamed of themselves.

Apparently, you know, they pay less tax than an office cleaner! Well, not actually *less* insofar as 10% of say £100mill is er £10mill but anyway, it's less as a percentage, or at least some bits of it are, apart from the fact that cleaners often come under the tax threshold so pay mostly 0% .... and come to think of it um, any cleaner i've ever had wanted cash in hand for the cleaning and hence zero tax again but anyway, that's by the by.

Now, some might say that there's a tax system and the same tax regime from same govt with same chancellor applies to everyone so perhaps blame govt? But as above, that's just quisling stuff. Actually lottery winners pay no tax at all so i spose they'll be next on the hitlist. Then cleaners..

As side issue, the private equity bunch has been quite rubbish in defending itself - even fairly high powered peeps who should have read the mood were just flimsy, shifty, unrehearsed. Like praps theycould have ripped into cleaners, having decent info as to hom much tax they have paid individually or as an industry, or ripping into MP's come to that with their incredible expenses. Buffini should have gone through the lot and explained they'd have been sacked in a real company. Or asked why the heck the tax take is double what it used to be, plus sqillions of speeding fines all for no discernable improvement. Whereas his AA roadside thingy things costs less than twenty years ago.

Buy a company with borrowed money and the company pays less corporation tax - but the banks pay oodles *more* cos the private equity companies pay banks interest on their loans. So the banks pay tax on *their* extra profits instead. Unless it's all driven offshore then it might be foreign banks and er, damn. Also if a foreign investor bought companies then nobody would pay uk govt any capital gains tax either, not even 10% so again, damn.

And the fact that such low quality unemployable people as in that treasury committee all on- jeez- ninety thousand quid+! - beggars belief.... but nobody said a dicky bird. Someone needed to rip in! A wasted opportunity imho.

Now, later on in the bbc reporting there was one govt chappie who said that pah - if some people want to move to Switzerland, well, - lettem! Well, heh, funny he should mention it cos that's what i've done.

Here in Geneva, the drivers stop to let pedestrians cross the road, and now I do the same too. If you're in a lift (any lift, even in multistory car parks) the next person into the lift says good morning, every time. How nice. I have experimentally left increasing amounts of stuff unguarded in restaurants or in unlocked car, all untouched and unthreatened. I've never walked across so much urban grassy parkland with no risk of dog pooh. You get nice big posh tinging glasses in resturants, even if you order the cheap wine, and the waiters speak quite good english too, or often better than in the uk anyway. We've been into some food shops with both of us feeling a bit like a sixties soviet bloc visitor to the West- some of them make Waitrose or even Harrods food hall look like a kwiksave.

Not one of these things is a big deal, but taken all together, one might start thinking that if uk govt is gonna jack up the tax, drop bombs across the planet and run crummy public services with index-linked pensions for millions of do-nothing civil servants ...then that's not the same envy-of-the-world-deal that UK once claimed to be. *Especially* if -as today- some of the individuals who have been writing the very biggest tax cheques to uk govt are publicly ridiculed on national TV! Amazing, really.

Anyway, Roger Federer is up at Wimbledon and it's free Alinghi/UBS caps (slightly boaty, see?) to everyone in Switzerland this week. It's even worth watching the tv sport over here...
 

Amphitrite

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Agree with you, lake Geneva is a great place to be (though Lausanne is better :). Only problem is that there is usually not much wind on the lake (boaty...), but I would go back every day.
 

castaway

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I was fortunate enough to to work for Swissair for 15 years ( Im talking Swissair here not Swiss Int), and was on duty to day the airport authority impounded their aircraft for unpaid landing fees at LHR. The sense of shame by the crew was palpable....

I and my colleagues would be sent to CH 4 times a year for courses and upgrades in ZRH and the odd seminar in the mountains.

Employment was cradle to grave and the company invested in their people and expected loyalty in return.......What a tragedy it all went wrong.. I hear the the board of directors have managed to get any with it...bankrupting the company and loosing millions of SFR,

The Swiss have a reputation for being stiff and reserved...not the ones I worked with, they were are polite friendly and well educated and they do have a sense of humour its just not like ours! However all the young Swiss trainees that came over to work here ( apprentices , remember that word) loved the UK ..I guess a rest is as good as a change...



Nick
 

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I was dismayed at the exchanges at the treasury select committee on the news last night.

You're right, the private equity boys didn't acquit themselves well, but much more depressing was the old labour questioning that was all about how much the 'fat cats' were making.

Why the chuff would you make a direct comparison between private equity entrepreneurs and cleaners/ Where's the relevance? These guys don't make gizillions just because they got lucky.

When one of them stated that they have collectivelly made billions for UK pension schemes it would have been nice to follw up and ask what Gordy had done over a similar period - trousered many more millions from pensions, that's what.

It is just the same old politics of envy that Nu-labour have tried to mask for the last 10 years. Go ahead and tax them till they squeak. They'll go elsewhere and the UK will lose all the revenue and benefits that they have brought.

Yes I know it is sometimes hard to watch massive bonuses being paid but if that benefits the economy as a whole that must be a good thing, or am I jsut being too sensible?
 

canalcruiser

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Geneva has quite high taxes Kanton zugs the best but then compass has its shop on the obersea next to kanton Zurich also high tax zone though stafa is 86 just now)
compass is in altendorf which is in a kanton almost as good as kanton Zug The obbersea has good sailing and joins the Zurichsea via a short "canal"The Zurich sea is ideal for shopping by boat has plenty of parking places and in wadenswil you can by crates of good local wine at a fair price(for swis wine.
 

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As a fellow proponent for paying as little tax as possible (generally within the law), plus having worked in a high wealth tax-free country (Cayman Islands) for 5 years, and now as a director of a limited company I fully understand where you are coming from.

Although I've never been to Switzerland, I'm sure there must be a demographic range of people, such as those that do non-skilled jobs like cleaning, handling all the rubbish, etc - probably don't have much disposable cash.

In Cayman, there were very few working class locals - all those jobs were filled by immigrants from neighbouring poorer countries like Jamaica and Costa Rica. You need all these people, and lower paid skilled people too, to keep the place working to its own high standards. They all have to live somewhere (probably at a lower standard), and the country needs to support them through public services like healthcare, policing etc. I am sure Switzerland must have its fair share.

There must also be some bad people, like thugs and robbers, just maybe less of them and less visible.

What I am saying is, whilst first impressions are significant, it can't be totally perfect - nowhere is, in reality.

Besides, its a long way to go for a day out sailing, innit. (Keeping it boaty)
 

Twister_Ken

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Nick,

They do have some pond sailing available.

Otherwise you have to leg it to Valencia, which appears to be a Swiss city on the Med.

Apropos rich gits and tax, can't understand why someone didn't point out that said gits are paying low rates of CGT because of taper relief, a scheme introduced by, ahem, one Wee Gordie Broon, ChExq, esq.
 

canalcruiser

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ooh, I wd be dead inteersted to know why you feel lausanne is better

Its not at all!Since last year when fines can be collected fro Europeans passing a radar Laussanne has more radars and speed controls than anywhere eles in Switzerland

For business perhaps Zugs best' but for private people just wishing to live a quite tax free existance the lowest tax anywhere is in Pfaffikon (SZ)The house prices for some reason are also among the higest

Pfaffikon is very close to Zug if you have a company as well Its also a very nice place to live indeed

Speeding fines offten cant be collected if your resident and drive a swiss registered car,the last Btit complaining about speeding fines told me that if your caught by radar you deserve to pay??

If you dont think in that odd way i will explain the Swiss law that protects us european exciles that live hear
 

graham

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[ QUOTE ]
They do have some pond sailing available.

[/ QUOTE ]

Also its probably best not mention the last Americas cup. Dont want to upset any Kiwi forumites /forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif
 

Lakesailor

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[ QUOTE ]
both of us feeling a bit like a sixties soviet bloc visitor to the West...

[/ QUOTE ] Surely not. /forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif
 

TiggerToo

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What a load of tosh.

Signed;
honorary Swiss
(applying for passport in September)

ps: anyway, I am glad you are happy there. Enjoy your raclette!
 

Major Catastrophe

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[ QUOTE ]
Geneva has quite high taxes Kanton zugs the best but then compass has its shop on the obersea next to kanton Zurich also high tax zone though stafa is 86 just now)
compass is in altendorf which is in a kanton almost as good as kanton Zug The obbersea has good sailing and joins the Zurichsea via a short "canal"The Zurich sea is ideal for shopping by boat has plenty of parking places and in wadenswil you can by crates of good local wine at a fair price(for swis wine.

[/ QUOTE ]

I have to say that I didn't understand a word of that!


<span style="color:blue"> Kanton zugs the best but then compass has its shop on the obersea next to kanton Zurich also high tax zone though stafa is 86 just now </span> /forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif

Give my best to Stafa. And here's to his 87th birthday. /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif
 

zefender

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The tax breaks are fundamentally designed to reward risk. However, it's a bit debateable how risky it is to buy a company like Boots Alliance which has been trading successfully for about 100 years (at least in Boots form), strip out costs and then flog it on two years later for maximum tax relief. It's less of a risk too if you are able to use some of the money held in the pension fund for a bit of short term liquidity. The bloke behind the Boots deal said that he felt they would be involved for 5 years. Maybe because it'll take a bit longer than 2 years to really, really maximise the profits. It's not really because they have a feel or passion for the business methinks (whereas I suspect some of the staff there do, or did). I wonder what will happen to long term R & D at Boots. The ROI cycle will be very short and this isn't always appropriate. In any case, profit and fiscal policy is not the very epi-centre of social and cultural wellbeing - even in Switzerland! Massive gains can be made in share price shifts alone when turning around a company. Why the government feels it needs to offer a further incentive given the scale of the potential reward defeats me. It used to be really hard to obtain funding for ventures such as these. These days, the economy is awash with investment cash. So maybe the extra carrot is needed when the economic (sailing reference coming ...) tide is on the ebb, but not really on the flood.

Old Labour do bang the drum in a rather time-honoured way and many of the comments from the select committee seemed naive and stereotyped. That's not to say that there is not some deserved criticism of the antics of some private equity 'investors' - even they don't like some of their bedfellows.


Gordy may have been a bit brave/stupid to reduce the minumum period from 5 years (perhaps a realistic genuine recovery/build period) to just 2 years since it's a bit of a 'buy now' voucher for short term asset stripping. Inevitably staffing is looked at fairly quickly and the government loses the tax income from lost staff until they find other work assuming they do. They'll also have to help bail them out with benefits in the interim too. Not much point in the select committee moaning over spilt milk, that their chancellor tipped over in the first place.

Switzerland is a very beautiful place. The streets are clean and there aren't many obviously poor people wandering the streets (they don't let them in!) and the trains run on time. They are also green, though their chemical factories tend to be positioned on the borders so noxious stuff blows to their neighbours. Much of Britain is the opposite, but, holidays apart, CH is a tiny weeny bit dull isn't it? Gimme a rich, varied tapestry any day. Also, don't you feel a likkle bit of resentment coming from restaurant waiters over there?
 

canalcruiser

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Stafas a town on the lake of Zurich and one of the lower tax towns.In Switzerland each kanton sets its tax rate which say is 30% of your hard gotten income.The towns then set their rates based on the kanton,therefor in say Stafa you would pay 86% of the 100% or have to hand over about 20% of your earnings

Kanton Zugs 100% is about 10% so a town offering 40% would mean only paying around 4% of your hard earend cash.Each village and town also sell water electricity etc and as those utilaties are owned by the village which belongs to those liveing there everyones a sharholder so prices are afordable!

Large citys generaly cost more than small towns as they have to provide police admin and other things towns dont have to provide they rent a kantons policeman or two!

You got it all wrong!!The low taxes are in place to help the very poorest live,only last week there was a voteing that the poor should be tax exempt!!

Switzerland is less boreing than you might think! Its also a shopping paradise given the Euro and daft tax policys in europe!By the way the EEC admin voted its self tax free retirement fund paid in Switzerland,wonder why?

The UN and the EEC adopted salary leveals of Geneva when set up?Wonder why?

The EEC and other Blairs are always saying there is so much tax money it can support the muslims and all of Africa perhaps once there should be constructive aid?

Switzerlands great as a base and not far from France Italy Germany and lictenstine

As a shopping paradise its great providing you dont eat drink or drive all expensive
 

Sybarite

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<<...there aren't many obviously poor people wandering the streets ..>>

60% of the population of Zurich are millionaires.

John
 

tcm

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well yep, fair enough of course for any govt to change the tax rules and regime, perhaps have a bit of chatting to various people in and around a particular industry if a tax change affects that industry and no other eg like oil etc.

But the treasury committee hearings looked very bad, when there had actually been no wrongdoing,and some of the questioning imbecilic "3 years ago nobody had heard of private equity" duh, and this from an MP on the treasury committee. Dumbing down or what.

I don't feel any bad vibes from swiss waitering types. I *think* praps the labour laws are different in switzerland than in france, so whereas some fr restaurants soldier on with minimal family staff even in v busyperiods, it seems swiss are able to hire and unhire temporary staff more easily. Service is quickety quick and all seem v keen to practise english on us, rather than test our french.

Not really boring, or praps i am boring! I've had enough of the rich tapestry that means stuff getsslolen or vandalised.
 

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