Over the past years Fintech has transformed the way how the collection of dog taxes is being ensured in Switzerland. Modern technology, dogs, their owners, vets, the police, and tax authorities work hand in hand to safeguard the levying of dog dues. The result is a process that provides benefits to everyone involved.
For decades Switzerland has been known for its rather lenient approach to taxes. However, this certainly does not apply to dog taxes. Take, for instance, Zurich: 7’156 dogs peacefully coexist with the human population of the city. If you walk your dog on the streets of Zurich, you can be pretty sure to sooner or later bump into the taxman, or – to be more precise – into a dutiful policeman with a handheld RFID reader. Any dog kept in Switzerland must be examined, registered and chipped by a vet within three months from birth. The policeman checking your dog will then read out the data on the microchip which was subcutaneously implanted in your canine. A wireless connection is established from the RFID device to the AMICUS database in the Swiss capital Berne where all dogs of Switzerland are supposed to be registered. Should the dog be listed in the city of Zurich, the policeman can furthermore access the database of the municipality to verify in real-time whether you have already paid your dog dues. If not, you may be fined on the spot.
Benefits of a digital monitoring process
This system has three major advantages over the previously used dog tags that you put on the dog’s collar in order to prove that you paid your taxes: First, there is no more hassle with physical badges. Second, the system works highly efficient as it runs online and in real-time. And third, as it operates in real-time and as the chip serves as a unique identifier of the dog, it is virtually impossible to dupe the system.
Next to these advantages, there are several other advantages, such as the easy identification of the owner of a stray dog, even if the dog wears no collar. Moreover, dog trafficking from puppy mills abroad is severely hampered by this system. But most importantly, the vaccination record of the animal is also linked to the unique identifier of the dog’s microchip, so that meddling with vaccination histories is prevented.
Pervasive Fintech solution
The Fintech dogs of Switzerland are yet just another example how pervasive Fintech has become in the meantime. In this case it did not come as a revolutionary big bang, but it slowly moved into the everyday’s lives of all Swiss dog owners. It was painless process for all stakeholders (except for the dog who feels a sting when the chip is being implanted) and it yielded unprecedented efficiency and safety levels. Moreover, this example is not yet another Fintech showcase, but more specifically a RegTech and TaxTech example that provided all stakeholders with additional benefits.
Let us just hope that this system will not be taken to the extreme and that humans will be spared of getting a microchip implanted for tax purposes.
Dr. Patrick Schüffel, Professor, Institute of Finance, Haute école de gestion Fribourg, Chemin du Musée 4, CH-1700 Fribourg, firstname.lastname@example.org / www.heg-fr.ch