Zurich v Finance Department of the Canton of Zurich

Date10 juin 1927
Docket NumberCase No. 264
CourtCantonal Tribunal (Switzerland)
Upper Commission of Appeal in Taxation Questions of the Canton of Zurich.
Case No. 264
The Town of Zurich
Finance Department of the Canton of Zurich.

Position of Consuls — Local Taxation — Employees of Consulates.

The Facts.—The Finance Department of the Canton of Zurich in application of paragraph 3, section 7 of the Finance Law, absolved an employee of the American General Consulate from liability to taxes, on the ground that he was the only such employee of an American Consulate in Switzerland who did not enjoy this immunity. The taxation authority of the town of Zurich appealed against this decision to the Upper Commission of Appeal of the Canton on the ground that paragraph 3, section 7, gives immunity only to “representatives of foreign States, in accordance with the provisions of international law and of Federal legislation,” and that this provision does not include consular employees. The Finance Department contended that the decision here challenged rested on political grounds, and denied the competence of the Upper Commission of Appeal to question the legal validity of this decision.

Held: The Upper Commission of Appeal affirmed its competence and upheld the appeal of the town of Zurich.

The Finance Law contemplates no political authorities which may grant immunity in individual cases. Neither the statutes nor the Constitution of Zurich permit the Finance Department or the Government Board to excuse individuals from payment where the necessary conditions of liability are present, with the exception of the case provided for in section 3 of the final clause of the statute, which is here inapplicable. The Upper Commission of Appeal, which is the highest administrative tribunal in taxation questions, decides as a court of final appeal upon the liability of...

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