Inheritance and gift taxes. Both types of tax are levied only by the individual cantons and not by the federal government.
In most cantons, taxes on gifts and inheritances are set at the same level. However, a tax is levied during the lifetime of the donor, and an inheritance tax is levied when the inheritance occurs, i.e. at the Decease of the testator. The tax is always due in the canton in which the donor is resident or in which the deceased was last resident. Where the donee or heirs live is irrelevant for the tax liability. Exceptions are real estate or immovable assets. In such cases, the tax due is levied in the canton in which the respective property is located.
But here again there are 26 different variants. Even between the two half-cantons BS and BL there are significant differences. While in the canton of Basel-Landschaft a gift to parents is tax-free, in the canton of Basel-Stadt, after deduction of the one-time tax-free amount of CHF 10,000, a tax of up to 11% is due, depending on the amount of the gift.
Particular caution is required in the case of lifetime gifts or inheritances between Life partner/cohabiting partners offered. A tax is due here in most cantons. Some cantons, such as AG or SO, do not have an exemption amount, other cantons are somewhat more generous, for example BL with an exemption amount of CHF 30,000. Below you will find the rates for the cantons BL, BS, AG, JU, SO, BE, SZ and ZH as well as their special features and the corresponding links to the tax laws.
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Stepchildren and foster children are tax-exempt under certain conditions. The direct descendants according to Law stepchildren and foster children shall be treated in the same way if they have lived in the same household as the donor for at least ten years before reaching the age of twenty-five.
If the testator or donor is taxed at cost (lump-sum taxation, in this case descendants are taxed at 3.5 %).
The canton of Schwyz has always had neither an inheritance tax nor a gift tax. Since 2017, the canton of OW has also no longer levied inheritance or gift tax.