The popular initiative "Yes to fair federal taxes for married couples too - finally abolish discrimination against marriage!" wants to stipulate at constitutional level that the income of married couples should be added together in the tax return. The current joint taxation of married couples should thus be retained. However, the legislator should ensure that married couples are not disadvantaged compared to other individuals. The initiative only concerns direct federal tax.

The Federal Council shares the aim of eliminating tax discrimination against married couples, but rejects the initiative for several reasons:

  • The initiative eliminates additional burdens for married couples ("marriage penalty"). However, the existing disadvantage for unmarried persons compared to married couples ("marriage bonus") would continue to exist or even increase.
  • The employment incentives for second earners are smaller with joint taxation compared to individual taxation. Equality between men and women is therefore less strongly promoted. The opportunities to make better use of domestic labor and skilled labor potential would not be exploited to the same extent.
  • The initiative aims to enshrine joint taxation in direct federal tax in the constitution. If this popular initiative is accepted, the introduction of individual taxation without a new constitutional amendment would be ruled out. The legislator's room for maneuver would therefore be restricted.
  • Depending on how the model is structured, the federal government could face significant revenue shortfalls.

The initiative also contradicts the introduction of individual taxation, which Parliament has demanded from the Federal Council and is currently pending in Parliament as an indirect counter-proposal to the popular initiative "For individual taxation regardless of marital status (tax justice initiative)" by the FDP Women.

The Federal Council therefore recommends that Parliament reject the initiative without a direct or indirect counter-proposal. It has instructed the Federal Department of Finance to prepare the corresponding dispatch for the attention of Parliament.