In anti-corruption push, Switzerland says tax breaks for bribe payments to people should end

Companies in Switzerland that claim a tax break for paying bribes, be advised: The government is cracking down.

The Swiss executive body, the Federal Council, insists bribes paid to private individuals should not be tax deductible.

Starting in 2001, Switzerland banned bribes to government officials or private companies in cases that affected competition. The government's ruling Friday seeks to harmonize tax law with a vote in parliament in September that criminalizes a remaining type of bribe that is allowed. The measure is pending

Karolina Morris, a Swiss tax agency spokeswoman, said one example where bribes remain legal would be making a payoff to clear a quality check — such as for car tires — when a contract had already been reached between two parties. Such payments are also tax deductible.