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The transfer tax is generally due when a property is transferred as a so-called legal transaction tax. It is irrelevant whether a profit was made in the real estate business - it can be due even in the event of losses. What is essential, however, is the fact in which canton the transfer took place.

A high real estate transfer tax can become quite a burden when selling a property. As a consequence, it can of course make living more expensive and fundamentally burden the real estate market. For this reason, some cantons do not levy the transfer tax (Aargau, Schwyz, Zug, Zurich). Homeowners' organizations are also increasingly advocating a reduction or even abolition.

Important to know: The regulation of the transfer of property tax varies depending on the canton.


Depending on the canton, the transfer tax is also referred to as a tax, a fee or a levy. There are also official transfer fees in some cantons, but these do not replace the tax and are due for various administrative tasks.

In addition, the (different) tax laws of the cantons regulate who exactly is taxable when transferring real estate. In most cantons, buyers are subject to tax, in some buyers and sellers. And in some cantons, the parties can agree in the sales contract on who will pay this tax and to what extent. In some places, the buyer of the property is liable to pay the tax, but the seller is also liable for tax on a solidarity basis - if the buyer does not pay this tax. It is therefore important to inquire precisely with your tax authority.

And how high can the transfer tax be in detail? It is more average in Lucerne, for example, where it is 1.5% of the sales price. The canton of Neuchâtel currently has what is probably the highest rate in the country at a whopping 3.3% of the sales price.


If real estate is sold or acquired, depending on the situation, other types of tax may also come into play that do not replace the transfer tax.

Below is a small overview of the delimitation:

Handächange feeohr. This official fee has a similar name to the transfer tax, but is not a tax in the strict sense. In some cantons, this fee may be incurred for different administrative activities,

Plotüprofit tax. As the name suggests, this tax is only due in the event that a profit has been made on the sale of the property.

Inheritance tax, gift tax. These taxes are also only applicable to an inheritance. due for a gift.


In some situations, the real estate transfer tax is actually not due. Here, too, the tax laws of the individual cantons decide on exceptions.

Depending on the canton, transfer tax is therefore not levied if one of the following scenarios occurs:

  • Acquisition by spouse and descendants
  • Succession, division of inheritance, legacy or advance withdrawal
  • Donation
  • Changes in the land register due to a reallocation of building land
  • Conversion of joint ownership into joint ownership

You can obtain precise information from your tax authority.


If in doubt, it is always worth talking to your tax authority. There you can find out whether there is a tax liability in your specific case and if so, who is liable to pay the tax.

Important: Make sure you also clarify whether you, as the property seller, are also liable if the buyer is subject to tax.