Canton of Geneva with its 45 communes has a
population of around 450,000 people (2010).
Somewhat more than 35% of the population are
holding a foreign passport.
Communes in Switzerland are
powerful governmental organizations that have,
within the Cantonal and Federal constitution
powers of self government. In the smaller
communes the elected officials are part time
politicians, who do this as a side job.
The most important element that
affects its inhabitants are the levels of
income tax charged by the commune. This
can vary from one commune to the next.The
communes budget is mainly financed from the
collection of income tax and a Cantonal
equalization fund that helps the poorer communes.
addition to the local tax, there is a federal
income tax as well. But most new
arrivals, (working under a Permit B),
will have their taxes deducted at source.
Only after you receive a permanent residence
permit (Permit C) will you pay the taxes
yourself. VAT, that is the sales tax, which is
the same all over Switzerland (7.25%) is
collected by the federal government, not the
The commune is also important when
you want to become a Swiss citizen.They confer
communal citizenship, based on which you will get
Cantonal citizenship on which the Federal
citizenship is based. The rules of the single
process, at the different levels, are now the
same all over Switzerland.