Switzerland is a federal republic consisting of twenty-six states (Cantons). Most areas of substantive law which are relevant for business acquisitions (e.g., laws pertaining to contracts, companies, accounting, property, etc.) are governed by federal legislation.
Nevertheless, the Cantons have retained far-reaching legislative and administrative powers in various areas including tax matters. In addition to the taxes collected by the federal government, the Cantons have the power to levy their own taxes on income and net worth at rates which vary considerably from Canton to Canton and even amongst the municipalities. Following the rejection by Switzerland of the Agreement on the EEA in the national referendum held on 6 December 1992, various pieces of national legislation were passed by the Swiss Parliament to adapt Swiss law to EU law in certain areas.
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