Income from patents and similar rights, provided they have a relevant connection to Switzerland, is included to a reduced extent in the tax base. A maximum reduction of 90% is provided for, with the cantons being able to decide on a smaller reduction. The patent box covers patents, protection certificates under the Patent Act, topographies under the Topographies Act, plant varieties under the Plant Variety Protection Act, documents protected under the Therapeutic Products Act, reports protected under the Plant Protection Products Ordinance and the corresponding foreign rights. Software is also covered if it is part of a patented invention (computer implemented invention) or if it is patented abroad. For the corresponding connection, the focus is on whether the patents and comparable rights are related to qualifying R&D expenses (compared to total R&D expenses; modified nexus approach), i.e. only the income that is related to corresponding qualifying R&D expenses is considered eligible box income. The patent box will only be applied at the level of cantonal and communal taxes; its introduction is mandatory for the cantons.
By Stefan Kuhn, 28.09.2018