Thursday, March 14, 2013

That Swiss Tax Cycle

With apologies to polite society I am going to talk to you about money.

In Switzerland the tax year runs from January 1 to December 31

Any by this Friday March 15 2013 you should have submitted your tax return for 2012.

New for this year is the ability to not only calculate your return electronically  but even to submit it electronically  (previously you had to print out the computerised calculation and post it).

What is the news?

  1. Of course we try to pay our taxes on time, and in full
  2. So it was a bit of a surprise to receive an unexpected request for large amounts of money for tax year 2009
  3. We were just trying to seal the deal on 2012
  4. The government is asking for Tens of thousands of dollars.
  5. We are sort of in shock, and are busy checking

So what can I recommend?

  • If you live in Switzerland, and are both married and working, then prepare for a huge tax bill.

    The government takes both of your combined incomes and then taxes your total income at a single tax rate. (There is no individual taxation for married couples, and no marginal tax rate).
  • You should adopt a lifestyle that allows at worst to have savings to reconcile any extra tax you would need to pay for the year just past, from your savings.  Else you logically have to keep working forever, just to pay off your debts.
  • In Switzerland, all your assets are taxed including bank balances, so the less money you have in your accounts on December 31st the better
  • If you can, pay some of the taxes for the forthcoming year early!   You get bugger all interest on your bank savings  (less than 1%) so pay your taxes in advance and reduce your asset tax liability.  Plus, the canton pays better interest  than your bank on advanced taxes!
  • And, always keep some savings aside, because even when you think you have paid (in full) the Government can decide otherwise :-(