for the effective transfer of property by its owner in anticipation of death.
Considering that a greater equality of fortune prevails in Switzerland than in almost any other country, it is somewhat remarkable that it has taken lead of all countries in instituting a system of progressive or graduated taxation, and has made it applicable not only to property but also to income and inheritance taxes.
Graduated taxation now exists in a majority of the Swiss cantons, and in only a few is there any prescribed limit to the progressive rate of assessment. The graduation is applied in different ways. In some Cantons, estates (real and personal) are classified according to their amounts. The rate of the tax is the same, but a varying proportion of the value of the estate is exempted. Thus, in the Canton of Zurich the tax is levied on five tenths of a property valued at four thousand dollars, six tenths on six thousand dollars, seven tenths on ten thousand dollars, eight tenths on twenty thousand dollars, nine tenths on forty thousand dollars, and on the entire estate when exceeding forty thousand dollars in, value. In other Cantons, as Aargau and Schaffhausen, an addition of varying percentage is made to the property tax according as the tax at the normal or ordinary rate exceeds a certain specified amount. Thus, in the former Canton, every one who is assessed for a tax of from forty to seventy francs in amount must pay five per cent additional; from seventy to one hundred francs, ten per cent additional, and so on, until those who are assessed at over five hundred francs pay thirty-three per cent additional. In the latter Canton every one assessed at over five hundred francs pays fifty per cent additional. In other words, the tax is graded and made progressive by adding a certain percentage, not to the taxable property, but to the amount of the tax according to a proportional ratio.
In some of the Cantons, as Vaud, Basel, and Zug, real property is divided into three classes: (a) under five thousand dollars, (b) five thousand to twenty thousand dollars, (c) twenty thousand dollars and upward, and a land tax which is enacted each year falls on these three classes in the proportions of 1, 11, and 2.
In some of the Cantons personal estate is divided into seven classes and taxed in the proportions of 1, 11, 2, 21, 3, 31 4; the tax being levied on the capital and not on the annual value of the estate. In most of the Swiss Cantons the progressive or graduated system of taxation in respect to property is also made applicable to incomes, inheritances, and bequests; and as a rule the progressive scale in these respects is more sharply graduated
- Essays on Taxation, Prof. E. R. A. Seligman, p. 387.