Popular initiative “for a preferential tax treatment of home savings for the purchase of a home for personal use or the financing of work to save energy or preserve the environment”

The popular initiative “for preferential tax treatment of housing savings for the purchase of a dwelling for personal use or to finance work to save energy and preserve the environment” , said initiative home savings is a popular Swiss initiative , rejected by the people and the cantons.


The initiative proposes to add an article 129a to the Federal Constitution authorizing cantonal and communal tax deductions of up to CHF 15,000 per year for home savings funds and up to CHF 5,000. per year for deposits to finance energy saving or environmental protection measures.

The full text of the initiative can be found on the website of the Federal Chancellery 1 .


Historical context

Switzerland, despite an increase of almost 6% in 10 years, however, has a much lower rate of ownership (around 40% in 2012) than neighboring countries 2 . This situation is mainly explained by the amount of 20% minimum equity that buyers must bring when buying a property. In 2008, in order to facilitate homeownership, the initiators filed two parallel initiatives: this initiative, which proposes the introduction of several measures (home savings, energy saving and tax exemption). home savings premiums), then, a few months later, the popular initiative “Access to property through home savings”which is content to request the creation of a home savings system benefiting from tax relief on the model of an equivalent law that has existed for more than 18 years in the canton of Basel-Land 3 .

Collection of signatures and deposit of the initiative

The collection of the required 100,000 signatures began on March 27, 2007 . On 26 September 2008, the initiative was filed at the Federal Chancellery which declared valid October 29 4 .

Discussions and recommendations of the authorities

While the Federal Council 3 recommends the rejection of this initiative, parliament 2 did not give any recommendation for a vote. In its message to the Federal Chambers, the Federal Council highlights its opposition to the Basel law on the subject and reiterates “that it was not necessary to introduce a new fiscal instrument to promote home ownership of housing ” . It also notes that it is mainly high-income earners who can benefit from home-ownership savings, because of the progressive nature of income tax. He even concludes that,”From an economic point of view, promoting homeownership through tax breaks has negative effects on economic growth and prosperity” .

The voting recommendations of the government political parties were as follows : 5

Political party Recommendation
Democratic-bourgeois party yes NB 3
Christian Social Party no
Christian Democrat Party yes NB 4
Socialist Party no
Green Liberal Party of Switzerland no
Liberal-Radicals yes NB 5
Democratic Union of the Center yes NB 6
The Greens no


Submitted to the vote on 11 March 2012, the initiative is rejected by 16 5/2 cantons NB 2 and 55.8% of the votes cast 6 . The table below details the results by canton for this vote 6 :


  1. ↑ According to Article 139 of the Constitution  [ archive ] , an initiative proposed in the form of a drafted draft must be accepted by both the majority of the people and the majority of the cantons. In the case of an initiative drafted in general terms, only the vote of the people is necessary.
  2. ↑ a and b The first figure indicates the number of cantons, the second the number of cantons counting for half. For example, 19 6/2 reads “19 cantons and 6 cantons counting for half”.
  3. ↑ The cantonal sections of Bern and Graubünden PDB have pronounced against the initiative.
  4. ↑ The cantonal sections of Aargau, Basel City, Graubünden, Lucerne, Neuchâtel, Obwalden, St. Gallen, Solothurn, Thurgau, Uri, Zug and Zurich have the PDC pronounced against the initiative, while the section of Valais romand left the freedom of vote.
  5. ↑ The cantonal sections of Graubünden, Lucerne, Thurgau and Uri PLR spoke in disfavor of the initiative.
  6. ↑ The cantonal sections of Thurgau and Zug UDC spoke in disfavor of the initiative.

References and sources

  1. ↑ ” Text of the Federal People’s Initiative ”  [ archive ] , on Federal Chancellery (accessed March 7, 2012 )
  2. ↑ a and b [PDF] Federal Chancellery, Popular vote of March 11, 2012 – Explanations of the Federal Council , ( read online  [ archive ] ) , p.  15
  3. ↑ a and b Message from the Federal Council  [ archive ] (18 September 2009) of the Federal Gazette reference FF 2009 6313
  4. ↑ ” Federal People’s Initiative” for a privileged tax treatment of home savings for the purchase of a home for personal use or the financing of work to save energy or to preserve the environment (initiative on l ‘home savings)’ ”  [ archive ] (accessedMarch 7, 2012 )
  5. ↑ Voting instructions of parties currently represented in parliament and organizations  [ archive ]
  6. ↑ a and b Voting No. 556 – Interim Official Final Results ”  [ archive ] , on Federal Chancellery (accessed March 12, 2012 )

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