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JUNE 10, 2005

Swiss want Schumi to pay more tax

Michael Schumacher enjoys a nice little deal with the Swiss authorities to avoid paying too much income tax. If he lived in Germany Schumacher would have to had over 42% of his income but a deal with the Swiss authorities which began in 1996 means that Michael pays considerably less in taxes, as the Swiss currently allow wealthy foreigners to negotiate their own tax rates. Switzerland has been attracting the super-rich for many years and today the country's richest man is reckoned to be Swede, Ingvar Kamprad, founder of the Ikea furniture chain. The Rausing Family from Sweden - famous for the Tetra Pak packaging company - is also based there along with the likes of Kimi Raikkonen, Charles Aznavour, Sir Roger Moore, Phil Collins, Alain Prost, Jean Alesi and Boris Becker.

The Swiss deputy Susanne Leutenegger Oberholzer has tabled a law to close this loophole.

"The current situation is unfair to the Swiss people and to the people of neighbouring lands," she said. "He should pay his fair share like everyone else."

It is believed that around 3000 foreigners benefit from the tax exile laws. Leutenegger Oberholzer says that the current laws are unconconstitutional and contradict the basic laws of Switzerland.

Under Swiss law the different cantons are allowed to set their own tax rates. Zug, where many international companies are now registered, has the lowest rates while Schumacher lives in the Vaud, where most of the tax exiles are based on the north shores of Lake Geneva.