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Old 27.02.2012, 22:48
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Canadian and American move to Switzerland: taxes, who files and where?

Hi all,

My wife and I live in the US and will be moving to Switzerland soon and both will work. She is a Canadian citizen and a US resident and I'm a US citizen. We both will obviously file taxes in Switzerland. But what about for other countries?

- Do we file separately, her for Canada and me for the US? If so, who claims our 2 children?

- Do we both file in just US? I don't believe she owes taxes to US once she leaves (even if we plan to come back at some point).

- I've never lived or worked in Canada, so certainly I wouldn't file there.

- I think the only thing we are certain of, at this point, is we both file in Switzerland and I file in US.

- Maybe some other scenerio?

Thanks in advance
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Old 28.02.2012, 00:01
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Re: Canadian and American move to Switzerland: taxes, who files and where?

Is she going to keep her permanent residency in the US (i.e. green card or the equivalent for Canadians)?

If so, she may still have to file a US tax return. If she gives up her permanent residency in the US, then she'd no longer have a US filing requirement.

As far as I know, the US is the country to tax non-residents (i.e. Canada doesn't), so she would not have any Canadian tax filing requirements either.
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Old 28.02.2012, 07:41
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Re: Canadian and American move to Switzerland: taxes, who files and where?

I can only share what I know about the Canadian part.

When she moves to Switzerland, assuming she'll have declared herself a non-resident in Canada (she already has perhaps?, she just needs to file in Switzerland. Exception is if she has an income in Canada or owns assets (e.g. property).
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Old 28.02.2012, 09:50
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Re: Canadian and American move to Switzerland: taxes, who files and where?

If she has a green card and has lived in the US for some part of this calendar year, you will both file in CH as well as in the US. Also, as long as she has the green card and bank accounts in the US, you'll need to file jointly. My OH is also a green card holder so....buck up and bend over.

Also, just be forewarned that the Swiss will want all your bank account details (from other countries outside of CH), paperwork from the sale of your home if you're selling before you move, and a few other bits I can't remember now since my life is an endless whirlwind of paperwork without the added paperwork of tax time accountants. I don't know if this is new and just reciprocity for FACTA but, I'm not entirely sure why they want this information.

Taxes...the only thing as certain in this life as death itself.
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Old 09.03.2012, 09:34
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Re: Canadian and American move to Switzerland: taxes, who files and where?

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Hi all,

My wife and I live in the US and will be moving to Switzerland soon and both will work. She is a Canadian citizen and a US resident and I'm a US citizen. We both will obviously file taxes in Switzerland. But what about for other countries?

- Do we file separately, her for Canada and me for the US? If so, who claims our 2 children?

- Do we both file in just US? I don't believe she owes taxes to US once she leaves (even if we plan to come back at some point).

- I've never lived or worked in Canada, so certainly I wouldn't file there.

- I think the only thing we are certain of, at this point, is we both file in Switzerland and I file in US.

- Maybe some other scenerio?

Thanks in advance
Since you said that you're both moving here from the US, I assume that your Canadian wife is not a Canadian resident anymore (for tax purpose). In such a case, she would only have to file Canadian tax return if she has income from "Canadian sources" (such as income from Canadian employment, taxable capital gains from Canadian property, etc.). Otherwise she will not have to file Canadian tax.

You mentinoed that she's a US resident - assuming this means that she has greencard and is intending on keeping it, then she'll be treated for US tax purpose no different than you, a US citizen. Meaning that you'll continue filing for US tax (either married jointly, or married separately) even after you move to Switzerland. Basically, if she's keeping her greencard, then your situation is the same as other married American couples. There are lots of discussions on this on EF.

For Swiss tax, you will have tax withholding at source from your salary (similiar to US). Then if your combined income is more than 120k a year, you will be getting a request from the tax authority to ask you the file for Swiss tax. The request might take a while to arrive for your first year though.
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Old 09.03.2012, 09:48
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Re: Canadian and American move to Switzerland: taxes, who files and where?

Also, I might mention that you should have your wife file for a 're-entry' visa if you have any plans to return in 2 years or file some other such paperwork if you're going to be gone longer than that but wish to maintain the green card status. I've currently got my tits in a twist as my OH forgot to file for one of those and I'm waiting rather anxiously to hear back from someone at the consulate. It's easy to take these things for granted.
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Old 13.03.2012, 14:45
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Re: Canadian and American move to Switzerland: taxes, who files and where?

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If she has a green card and has lived in the US for some part of this calendar year, you will both file in CH as well as in the US. Also, as long as she has the green card and bank accounts in the US, you'll need to file jointly. My OH is also a green card holder so....buck up and bend over.

Also, just be forewarned that the Swiss will want all your bank account details (from other countries outside of CH), paperwork from the sale of your home if you're selling before you move, and a few other bits I can't remember now since my life is an endless whirlwind of paperwork without the added paperwork of tax time accountants. I don't know if this is new and just reciprocity for FACTA but, I'm not entirely sure why they want this information.

Taxes...the only thing as certain in this life as death itself.
really? Since my husband only paid source tax when we were still unmarried he never had to declare anything..
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Old 13.03.2012, 16:32
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Re: Canadian and American move to Switzerland: taxes, who files and where?

I am American and hubbie is French. When we lived in Germany about 12 years ago, we continued to file taxes in the US, even though I did not have an income in Germany. it was necessary in order for hubbie to keep green card. During that time, he got a document, which was white and looked like a passport, to use whenever he traveled back to the US. I think he was not allowed more than 30 days each year in the US, or it would affect filing status (he would travel back for work purposes as well as family vacation). Unless you decide to forgo the choice to return to the US, I would file taxes! Gotta love the double taxation !! We actually had HR Block do our taxes while we were in Germany because the foreign tax credit was just too much for me to be willing to figure out and do. He has since gotten US citizenship, so we definitely file in both countries now.
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Old 13.03.2012, 16:43
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Re: Canadian and American move to Switzerland: taxes, who files and where?

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really? Since my husband only paid source tax when we were still unmarried he never had to declare anything..
Really on which part? If it's the Swiss bit about wanting all the account info, they appear to want it for something like a wealth tax. Thankfully, there's a professional tax person doing all this for us this year as I'd be a complete wreck by now.
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Old 15.03.2012, 08:49
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Re: Canadian and American move to Switzerland: taxes, who files and where?

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Since you said that you're both moving here from the US, I assume that your Canadian wife is not a Canadian resident anymore (for tax purpose). In such a case, she would only have to file Canadian tax return if she has income from "Canadian sources" (such as income from Canadian employment, taxable capital gains from Canadian property, etc.). Otherwise she will not have to file Canadian tax.

You mentinoed that she's a US resident - assuming this means that she has greencard and is intending on keeping it, then she'll be treated for US tax purpose no different than you, a US citizen. Meaning that you'll continue filing for US tax (either married jointly, or married separately) even after you move to Switzerland. Basically, if she's keeping her greencard, then your situation is the same as other married American couples. There are lots of discussions on this on EF.

For Swiss tax, you will have tax withholding at source from your salary (similiar to US). Then if your combined income is more than 120k a year, you will be getting a request from the tax authority to ask you the file for Swiss tax. The request might take a while to arrive for your first year though.
Hello!

I'm confused by the definition of the non-resident status. I'm Canadian and have been studying in Switzerland since 04.2011. I have income in Canada from 01.2011 to 07.2011. I'm going to be in Switzerland until 2014. Am I (or not) a Canadian resident, given that I don't live there now?

I received a "Lohnauswis - certificat de salaire" from my employer. In it, there are these numbers:

1. Lohn <40,000
8. Bruttolohn total
9. Beitrage AHV/IV/EO/ALV/NBUV
10. Berufliche Vorsorge, 10.1 Ordentliche Beitrage
11. Nettolohn
12. Quellensteuerabzug

Which number should I report as my total foreign income, and which as foreign tax paid, in my Canadian tax forms?

I heard that I also need to show proof to the Canadian government that I pay taxes in Switzerland. Will that exempt me from paying the Canadian taxes?

Any experience or help is greatly appreciated!!
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