Taxpayers holding real estate whose value exceeds CHF 1,300,000, on January 1 of a year, are subject to real estate wealth tax.

The value to be retained for the declaration is the market value, that is to say the value that the property would have if it were sold.

Several valuation methods are possible: real estate appraisals, comparison with equivalent properties recently sold or even on the basis of rental yields.

It is recommended to keep a record of its estimate to justify the values retained in the event of an inspection.

Some real estate assets may benefit from a downward value correction. These can be legal and defined haircuts. This is the case for the main residence, which benefits from a 30% reduction. Please note, to benefit from this allowance, the property must be held directly and not through an SCI. They may also be subject to “tolerated” deductions in accordance with tax administration practice.

In this case, these allowances are linked to specific situations: taking into account situations of co-ownership, obsolescence or illiquidity.

Some goods are even subject to total or partial exemptions, subject to conditions, such as forests, professional goods or rural goods which are rented with an emphyteutic lease.

What are the risks of the undervaluation of a property for the ISF?

For some taxpayers, it is tempting to undervalue certain goods, in order to save a little IFI. It is a practice that involves risks of several kinds:

First and obviously, there is a risk of “fiscal adjustment”, i.e. an additional IFI to be paid, usually accompanied by surcharges and late payment interest. The recovery period during which the administration can be moved by the values retained is in theory 3 years in addition to the current year, but in reality it is often 6 years in addition to the current year.

Indeed, if the administration does not have all the elements allowing it to carry out an in-depth control, it is entitled to extend its recovery period. The simplified declaration of the IFI at the same time as the N-1 income is therefore a double-edged sword and allows adjustments over a longer period!

Furthermore, it is important to know that the tax administration has been modernized in a spectacular way in recent years. Now it can perform large-scale collections and recoveries to “track” fraudsters.

The risks of tax audits are not limited to the IFI itself. Indeed, an undervaluation can also give rise to adjustments in terms of inheritance or gift tax when the value is retained by the taxpayer in his ISF, or even when there is a difference between the values retained during these operations. . . . Apparently separated. Beyond the dissatisfaction of the tax authorities, the undervaluation of a property at the IFI can also have consequences with its bank. Banking institutions are now required to report any suspicion of tax evasion they may have.

When you open an account in a bank, the latter asks you to provide all of your tax documents and in particular your IFI declaration. If the values retained are too caricatural, the bank has no choice but to file a suspicious transaction report. If, in addition, a financing or refinancing operation of the property was sensitive, it is obvious that the bank will not be able to lend an amount very different from that which had been debited for the tax declarations.

Thus, the sources of information and potential control are numerous for the tax administration. There is therefore a permanent risk of not being able to freely manage one's real estate assets.