20. Februar 2023

How to file a tax return in Switzerland

As an expat you may find yourself in dire situation with cantonal laws and the requirement that filing tax returns is a duty. On top, you might still own a home abroad, or have additional income from a side-business. With pension and insurance to be adjusted, things are getting complex.

Basics of a tax return in Switzerland

A professional advisor may help you to get the most benefits and savings from:

  • Income: there are clear rules what needs to be declared but deductions make a wealth of difference.
  • Wealth: wealth is taxed as well, depending on jurisdiction.
  • Multi-year and regional advantages: tax and financial planning across different periods and regions will help you to smoothen out tax peaks.
  • Businesses: If you own a business or plan to start one, we have a full range of partners to assist with founding, book keeping, and pension services.
  • Your home: there’s always a way to finance a better living at home and abroad.
  • Kids and schooling: in Switzerland, kids‘ care is tax deductible, and may be combined with schooling arrangements.
  • Professional expenses and travel allowance: depending on the typ of business this will reduce your taxable income.

Filing a tax return if you are not a Swiss citizen or do not have a Permit C

Tax at source (Quellensteuer)

Employers withhold a tax at source from your salary if a foreign resident does not have a Permit C settlement certificate. If you are taxed at source and earn above a certain amount you may save on taxes by filing a voluntary tax return. Contact us to find out whether this is beneficial for your case.

Taxation at source is a cantonal procedure and depends on factors such as

  • marital status
  • number of children
  • type of work
  • where you live, that is in or outside Switzerland and if you are considered a person crossing borders regularly (Grenzgänger)
  • religion

Withholding tax

For all tax payers federal government levies a withholding tax on interest and collects it from the bank. It will be refunded if the tax return is declared correctly.

How to process the tax return in Switzerland

A tax advisory and preparation service must not only cover the figures, it is also important to get:

  • Well organized standard procedures.
  • Personal advisory and offices close to where you are.
  • Online capabilities: secure upload of documents, scanning and printing services.
  • Communication: English speaking staff, appointments on time.
  • Online communication: appointments with video call, quick respone on e-mail.
  • No missed deadlines, or even better, extended deadlines.
  • Communication with local tax authorities.

In essence, the process is key. Keeping this as simple as possible by offloading everything to an advisory until your final sign-off saves money and precious time. If not sure ask our staff or book an appointment here.

tax return in switzerland
Most expats come to Zürich and Switzerland’s economic centres.

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immobilien, steuererklärung, steuerplanung, tax return, vorsorge

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