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Old 26.02.2013, 17:38
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Odd US Citizen tax question about Swiss taxes

I'm a US citizen who got married to a Brit living in Switzerland; and I moved into Switzerland in the middle of the year. I'm trying to answer this question: do I need to file a Swiss tax return (and how do I do so if necessary) if I made no money in Switzerland in fiscal year 2012?

I've searched EF several times looking for insights to no avail. This - Help with US tax question -- was helpful but not quite on point.

I am perfectly prepared to pay and file my US taxes. I know I do not get the exclusion (too many days in the US). I know that I do not get a Swiss tax credit (I didn't pay any Swiss taxes or make any Swiss income). I know that my EU husband has no US green card and no need to file in the US. I have no Swiss bank account (or even a power of attorney over my husband's account). My US-based accountant has taken care of all the critical US filings for my US income, and I'm filing as married filing separately.

But I'm now so used to filing tax returns in countries where I have lived -- and simultaneous filings when I worked in the UK -- that now I am wondering what I need to give Mr Swiss Taxman.

Is there anything special that _I_ need to do for Switzerland tax authorities? Is there anything unique that my husband might need to do for his tax return? He mentioned something about having to acknowledge my existence on his 2012 tax forms. But beyond this, bless his cotton socks, he is clueless.

Any guidance greatly appreciated... I do _not_ want to be on the wrong side of Swiss tax authorities.
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Old 26.02.2013, 18:10
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Re: Odd US Citizen tax question about Swiss taxes

No is the short answer. Unless your OH earns over CHF120,000 a year there's no need to fill in a Swiss tax form. He will have withholding tax taken out of his monthly pay packet so the Swiss tax side is dealt with that way. If after 5 years here you switch to a C permit, then you'll have to start filling in the Swiss forms.

If he is filling in a Swiss tax form then it's a joint filing, but apart from you both having to sign the form and putting the relevant personal details needed on it, there's nothing more he needs to do as far as you're concerned. Although come to think of it, you might need to put figures in for your US bank accounts if you have any. They'd go in the wealth/fortune side of the form, converted into Swiss Francs.
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Old 26.02.2013, 18:13
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Re: Odd US Citizen tax question about Swiss taxes

In Switzerland, you always file as a family, never separately. So if your husband doesn't file, you don't file.

If he does file then, you would just add any income you just add your income and his income together.

Since you made no income it's a non-issue. You will be included on your husband's tax returns as his spouse.
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Old 26.02.2013, 18:59
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Re: Odd US Citizen tax question about Swiss taxes

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In Switzerland, you always file as a family, never separately. So if your husband doesn't file, you don't file.

If he does file then, you would just add any income you just add your income and his income together.
These replies are most useful. Am I correct to presume that, US-sourced income (taxed in the US under US rules) need not be included in the Swiss tax return?

I hadn't realized that we would need to list all my US bank accounts - presumably retirement accounts as well. We will certainly keep our eyes pealed for this wrinkle.
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Old 26.02.2013, 19:17
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Re: Odd US Citizen tax question about Swiss taxes

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These replies are most useful. Am I correct to presume that, US-sourced income (taxed in the US under US rules) need not be included in the Swiss tax return?

I hadn't realized that we would need to list all my US bank accounts - presumably retirement accounts as well. We will certainly keep our eyes pealed for this wrinkle.
Presuming it was income you made before you settled in Switzerland, then no
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Old 26.02.2013, 19:20
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Re: Odd US Citizen tax question about Swiss taxes

Um, not sure on that one. I don't think the income as such would need to be included, just what's sitting in any bank accounts. But I'm no expert so hopefully someone else will have a definitive answer for you.

There is a limit figure on wealth tax before it starts to kick in taxwise. The figures should be in the info booklet that comes with the tax form. The limit here in Fribourg canton is CHF35,000 for couples, but yours is probably different. If all the various figures in the wealth/fortune column add up to less than the figure given then it won't have any effect on the tax calculations; you'll just be taxed on the income part.
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Old 26.02.2013, 19:53
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Re: Odd US Citizen tax question about Swiss taxes

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These replies are most useful. Am I correct to presume that, US-sourced income (taxed in the US under US rules) need not be included in the Swiss tax return?

I hadn't realized that we would need to list all my US bank accounts - presumably retirement accounts as well. We will certainly keep our eyes pealed for this wrinkle.
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Presuming it was income you made before you settled in Switzerland, then no
For income, Wheels is right. If you made it before you came to Switzerland you don't need to file it here.

The bank accounts need to be listed in the wealth section. But I'd read up on which ones, why and how, etc.

Does your husband file a return? If he doesn't, then you don't do anything at all.


PS, sorry for all my typos. I REALLY have no idea how they get there. Something happens between the time I write the perfectly composed post and when I hit "post".
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Old 26.02.2013, 20:19
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Re: Odd US Citizen tax question about Swiss taxes

Don't forget it's not just the US accounts. If you have any bank accounts in other countries they need to be included to. Use currency conversion figures for 31st December 2012 for making conversions into Swiss Francs.
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Old 26.02.2013, 20:38
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Re: Odd US Citizen tax question about Swiss taxes

According to the Zurich Steueramt, you don't have to list your US retirement accounts.

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These replies are most useful. Am I correct to presume that, US-sourced income (taxed in the US under US rules) need not be included in the Swiss tax return?

I hadn't realized that we would need to list all my US bank accounts - presumably retirement accounts as well. We will certainly keep our eyes pealed for this wrinkle.
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Old 26.02.2013, 20:56
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Re: Odd US Citizen tax question about Swiss taxes

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According to the Zurich Steueramt, you don't have to list your US retirement accounts.
That is correct - I'd forgotten that - 401ks, IRAs are not subject to wealth tax.
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Old 26.02.2013, 22:26
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Re: Odd US Citizen tax question about Swiss taxes

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According to the Zurich Steueramt, you don't have to list your US retirement accounts.
What a wealth of useful information! Thank you to all the posters.

And yes, my husband must file a return. Aside from the fact that he is eligible for a C permit (but hasn't been able to put together the paperwork given inter-cantonal confusion), he must file anyway. So we will sort this out one way or another.

Part of the challenge is reading the "Steuerklarung" and trying to understand what it says with only college level German. If there are any translations readily available, I'd love to know of them. But I would be surprised to learn that they published it in English.
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Old 27.02.2013, 05:35
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Re: Odd US Citizen tax question about Swiss taxes

He will still have to file one then when he has the C - just taxes won't won't be withheld at source, I believe. We put all bank account info in ours but my OHs company provides an accountant for us (thank goodness!) so I am not sure if they put the info in our return. Will flip through last year's encyclopedia of a book that is our tax return!
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Old 27.02.2013, 07:47
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Re: Odd US Citizen tax question about Swiss taxes

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Will flip through last year's encyclopedia of a book that is our tax return!
Thank you for this. I'd love to learn what you did ... and if only we were so lucky to have his employer provide an accountant for us! Good on you.
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Old 27.02.2013, 08:19
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Re: Odd US Citizen tax question about Swiss taxes

Usually the cantonal tax people are quite helpful in getting the forms sorted out for you too. They often have evening info sessions in various towns where you can go along and ask questions, etc. I'd try contacting the office and see if you could set up a meeting with one of the staff to help you fill in the forms.

Once it's done then it's pretty easy to do the following years as not too much changes from year to year apart from allowances/deductions. So you should be able to use the previous year's form as guidance for doing the next one. That's what I do anyway.

Just be glad your filing date's a bit later than mine. Here in Fribourg canton it has to be returned by 1st March and, as usual, I've only just finished mine this morning.
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Old 27.02.2013, 10:40
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Re: Odd US Citizen tax question about Swiss taxes

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What a wealth of useful information! Thank you to all the posters.

And yes, my husband must file a return. Aside from the fact that he is eligible for a C permit (but hasn't been able to put together the paperwork given inter-cantonal confusion), he must file anyway. So we will sort this out one way or another.

Part of the challenge is reading the "Steuerklarung" and trying to understand what it says with only college level German. If there are any translations readily available, I'd love to know of them. But I would be surprised to learn that they published it in English.
There is some information available in English from Zurich: http://www.steueramt.zh.ch/internet/..._location.html
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Old 27.02.2013, 11:21
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Re: Odd US Citizen tax question about Swiss taxes

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There is some information available in English from Zurich: http://www.steueramt.zh.ch/internet/..._location.html
Thank you for this. I'd seen it already -- but it helps confirms to me that I am doing my homework.

I also checked the local Gemeinde and hadn't found anything relevant, although I did find some interesting tidbits about the local sustainability plan that I had originally thought was about taxes because of the root word Steuer!
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Old 27.02.2013, 11:56
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Re: Odd US Citizen tax question about Swiss taxes

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Just be glad your filing date's a bit later than mine. Here in Fribourg canton it has to be returned by 1st March and, as usual, I've only just finished mine this morning.
And I just finished mine as well, albeit the 2011 one.

Tom
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Old 27.02.2013, 12:09
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Re: Odd US Citizen tax question about Swiss taxes

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Thank you for this. I'd love to learn what you did ... and if only we were so lucky to have his employer provide an accountant for us! Good on you.

I have flipped through the return from last year and I did not see the IRAs or 401k listed...
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Old 27.02.2013, 12:50
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Re: Odd US Citizen tax question about Swiss taxes

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And I just finished mine as well, albeit the 2011 one.

Tom
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Old 27.02.2013, 12:53
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Re: Odd US Citizen tax question about Swiss taxes

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And I just finished mine as well, albeit the 2011 one.

Tom

will you get in, like, trouble for this? Or do you have an extension? (the use of like was on purpose, I feel like sounding like a dumb American teenie after reading the insulting a person thread )
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