Taxation of Truts

Module 3 

Objectives and work hypothesis

A trust is a legal relationship which arises on the basis of a constitutive document, when the founder (settlor) transfers certain assets to one or more persons (trustees) who have a duty to manage and use them for the goals established by the settlor in advance for the benefit of one or more third parties (the beneficiaries).

A trust arrangement is a concept that originates in common law jurisdiction but it has gained in importance for Swiss tax administrations as well as for tax practitioner in Switzerland. With the growth of internationalisation the concept of trust has indeed become commonplace in our country.

After an introduction to the concept of trust and the presentation of the fundamental distinctions as compared to other vehicles used in tax planning such as foundations, funds, etc., students will be introduced to the application to trusts of double tax conventions and in particular of the model tax convention of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (MC-OECD).

Particular attention will then be paid to the Circular letter Nr 30 of the Federal tax administration on the tax treatment of trusts and its application to concrete cases. Moreover students will learn about and will be able to participate to ongoing discussions related to the introduction of trusts in Swiss law.

A presentation of international aspects will be done by a foreign practitioner or an academic.

Students will be asked to prepare case studies and to deliver an oral presentation of their solution.

Issues discussed

- Concept of trust (discretionary trust, fixed interest trust, revocable trust, irrevocable trust, etc.).

- Tax treatment of trusts in Swiss tax law (income tax, withholding tax, gift and inheritance tax).

- Tax treatment of trusts in international tax law.

- Introduction to international taxation and to the application of double tax treaties.


The module takes place from October 12 to November 1st, 2020.

Detailed time schedules, meeting places and other practical information will be communicated at a later stage.

Teaching languages are English and French.



Responsable du module


Prof. Thierry Obrist


General participation conditions must be fulfilled. In addition, the following exams must be successfully completed:

- Swiss tax law (droit fiscal suisse) ;

Participating students must be able do understand English.

Priority is given to students registered to the orientation “Business and Tax Law”.

Module des orientations

  • Business and Tax Law
  • Avocature (professions judiciaires)