In most cantons, the very fact that a property changes owners is itself already subject to a property transfer tax. As a rule of thumb, you should budget from 1 to 3 percent of the purchase price. The buyer must come up with a portion of the costs, and the buyer and seller share a portion – and this varies from canton to canton. The federal government and cantons such as Zurich or Schwyz do not charge a property transfer tax.
Notarial and land registry fees also differ widely. Though they are not taxes as ordinarily understood, these costs can also have an impact. By way of example, let’s look at the notarization of a deed of sale for a home valued at 700,000 Swiss francs. In many cantons, for example Zurich, Schwyz or Thurgau, this will involve a charge of a few hundred francs. In Bern, Ticino or in some cantons of Western Switzerland, the same transaction can cost from 2,500 to 3,500 francs; in an extreme case, notarization can cost up to six times more.