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Old 15.11.2006, 06:27
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Taking money out of Switzerland

Hi all,

I am compiling a FAQ for contractors wishing to work in CH.

One question regards taking money out of CH. i.e., someone lives and works here for a period of time, and accumulates a large amount of money in their bank account.

If they want to transfer that money to (e.g.) their home country, are there any restrictions or pitfalls one needs to be aware of.

I am in the process of Googling around but not really come up with anything. Any pointers to relevant links etc would be welcome. If I come up with something in the meantime I will be sure to post it here.

As an aside, compiling this FAQ is becoming a bit of a life's work - getting all the facts straight. Particularly when it involves going to one of the admin.ch websites and trawling through information that is only in German. I think Mark mentioned elsewhere that Englishforum should start charging the Swiss government for doing their translation for them.

Cheers,
Nick
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Old 15.11.2006, 06:51
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Re: Taking money out of Switzerland

There are no restrictions on removing money from Switzerland. You can bring in or take out as much as you wish. Your own bank can confirm this for you.

It might also be useful for expat workers to have a Swiss bank account in their 'home' currency, which is quite easy with Swiss banks - providing it is a 'major' currency.
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Old 15.11.2006, 08:21
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Re: Taking money out of Switzerland

are you also considering Pillar3 removal too (obviously to countries where it can be taken as cash and not have to be reinvested in a pension scheme)?
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Old 17.11.2006, 15:15
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Re: Taking money out of Switzerland

And don't forget that the type of bank account will also play a role in how much money one can take out per year without a penalty. For example, I have an e-Deposito account with PostFinance. This account gives a better interest rate than normal savings accounts but if I had a money emergency I could only take out a maximum of 50,000 francs out per year. If I were to need to take more out, I could but would have to pay a penalty to do so. If your friend has his money deposited in a regular checking account, he should have no problem transferring the money out of the country, regardless of the amount.
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Old 26.11.2006, 23:21
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Re: Taking money out of Switzerland

I am considering moving from Zurich to the US on a permanent basis, and I have accumulated a sizable pension here during the last 10 years. Can i transfer my pension money out of Switzerland when i leave ?
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Old 27.11.2006, 00:33
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Re: Taking money out of Switzerland

As far as I know, UBS offers the lowest handling fee (around 10CHF) for outbound money transfers. And the money will be in your home currency once you check your account at home.

Post Finance and Credit Suisse charge higher.

Why not transfer everything into your credit card if you don't care how much handling fee is involved?
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Old 27.11.2006, 04:10
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Re: Taking money out of Switzerland

Quote:
I am considering moving from Zurich to the US on a permanent basis, and I have accumulated a sizable pension here during the last 10 years. Can i transfer my pension money out of Switzerland when i leave ?
If you are a non-EU person, you may take your 2nd and 3er pillar money out of the country. Be aware that as this is money you have been accumulating on a tax free basis, you will be charged a "quellensteuer" on the money you withdraw.

If you are Swiss moving to the US, I am not sure if you can withdraw money accumulated under either of the aforementioned savings plans.

If you are an EU person, you may withdraw the money provided you move before new bilateral laws go into effect next year.

You may find the actual info (albeit in german) here:
http://www.pkzh.ch/internet/pkzh/pk/home.html
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Old 27.11.2006, 06:08
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Re: Taking money out of Switzerland

Maybe western union ?!
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Old 27.11.2006, 06:40
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Re: Taking money out of Switzerland

Western Union is fast, convenient and dependable, but a bit too expensive.

Depends on whether you care about a cost-effective approach or not
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Old 27.11.2006, 06:53
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Re: Taking money out of Switzerland

I will quickly mention that one can get his/her bank to write them a bank check for whatever amount of funds they have available and wish to withdraw. And such bank check can be cashed anywhere in the world.

That said, let us not forget that Nick's original question did not have to do with how to get money out of Switzerland but rather asking about any restrictions or pitfalls one might face when trying to withdraw large amounts of money.

Quote:
If they want to transfer that money to (e.g.) their home country, are there any restrictions or pitfalls one needs to be aware of.

Cheers,
Nick
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Old 30.11.2006, 22:41
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Re: Taking money out of Switzerland

Quote:
If you are a non-EU person, you may take your 2nd and 3er pillar money out of the country. Be aware that as this is money you have been accumulating on a tax free basis, you will be charged a "quellensteuer" on the money you withdraw.

If you are Swiss moving to the US, I am not sure if you can withdraw money accumulated under either of the aforementioned savings plans.

If you are an EU person, you may withdraw the money provided you move before new bilateral laws go into effect next year.

You may find the actual info (albeit in german) here:
http://www.pkzh.ch/internet/pkzh/pk/home.html
Doktor.S. Thanks for your reply. I am an EU (i.e. a Brit) looking to leave CH during 2008 to emigrate to the land of Bush (the USA). it would be great if you could tell me where exactly you saw those points in the pkzh website. I can read German, but there is so much on that website.
Thanks
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Old 30.11.2006, 23:10
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Re: Taking money out of Switzerland

Quote:
There are no restrictions on removing money from Switzerland. You can bring in or take out as much as you wish. Your own bank can confirm this for you.

It might also be useful for expat workers to have a Swiss bank account in their 'home' currency, which is quite easy with Swiss banks - providing it is a 'major' currency.
Ho ho ho not quite true. While Switzerland does not have a problem the country you are going to or crossing the border into might well. Germany for example does not allow crossing the border with more than 10K Euro. Best to find this out before they confiscate it...
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Old 30.11.2006, 23:13
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Re: Taking money out of Switzerland

Quote:
Doktor.S. Thanks for your reply. I am an EU (i.e. a Brit) looking to leave CH during 2008 to emigrate to the land of Bush (the USA). it would be great if you could tell me where exactly you saw those points in the pkzh website. I can read German, but there is so much on that website.
Thanks
I do not think it is relevant where the points are but you might be interested to know that if you are an EU citizen going to a non-EU country to live and can prove it then you can take the lot no problem even after 01.06.07.

Furthermore when you are leaving for an EU country you can also take the über obligatorisch part as well. It is only the obligatory part that causes the problem. Note that dependent on where you are going it would be VERY wise to put this in a locked account in Switzerland for the five years you need to...
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Old 01.12.2006, 04:54
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Re: Taking money out of Switzerland

Quote:
Note that dependent on where you are going it would be VERY wise to put this in a locked account in Switzerland for the five years you need to...
Why is this?
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Old 01.12.2006, 08:53
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Re: Taking money out of Switzerland

Quote:
Why is this?
The law actually states (and by the way there are versions in every EU language - dont ask me where but there are as it is bilateral ie EU and Switzerland) that the obligatory savings part of your pension will be paid into the state pension scheme where such a scheme exists or can be placed in a locked vested interest account in Switzerland until you reach retirement age or wait 5 years. Now lets take the examples of France, Italy or Germany. Pay the 10 years obligatory pension money lets say 100K into the state scheme and you have just said "hasta la vista baby" to a fat wad

I cannot remember the exact level but the obligatory part is the pension savings on the first ca 84800 of your salary. Over this amount is over obligatory and you can cash in. Hence my guess of 100K after ten years 84.8*(15-3)%*10.

84.8 because I seem to recall it is 80% of 106K - the unemployement figure, 15 because it is normalish to have a 10 +5 pension scheme and the 3% is your life insurance part of it.
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Old 01.12.2006, 09:00
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Re: Taking money out of Switzerland

God knows if it fits here but hey it is related.

The 3rd pillar is also cash-in-able. This you can fully take with you when you leave Switzerland.

Note also that the 3rd pillar can and maybe should be cashed in every five years to reduce the capital borrowed on property. The reason for this is:

The 3rd pillar when cashed is seen as income. This means it has an EET status. Exempt on paying in, Exempt on interest paid and Taxable when paid out.

If you take a look at the tax tables in Switzerland you will see the tax is progressive. This means that the tax you pay has an increasing percentage the more you earn. If you let the 3rd pillar grow then the amount in there becomes substantial and when you cash it in you get whacked for tax. If however you actually bit for bit use it to reduce your mortgage then the tax rate, because the cashed in amount is smaller, is much less. This more than compensates for the tax advantage of debt unless you are earning over 300K per year in which case you probably should not be worrying about the tax you pay anyway ;-)
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Old 01.12.2006, 10:51
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Re: Taking money out of Switzerland

Please correct me if I am wrong, but is there not a 20% "withholding" tax on money transferred out of Switzerland? I believe this law was made to appease the EU on banking secrecy. I am not sure at what threshold the alarm goes off for this one.
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Old 02.01.2007, 20:43
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Re: Taking money out of Switzerland

I have a very simple question related to the original question above. One that my bank refuses to answer.

Let's say I start investing in funds at some bank in Switzerland now that I live here.

A few years down the line I leave this country. Clearly depending on how the funds have performed this may not be a good time pull out these investments.

My question: can I keep this account open in Switzerland when I leave Switzerland (I am non-EU)?

Note that I am not talking about pensions. This is my own money that I am investing. Further I have no interest in banking secrecy (after all, if I did, I probably would be rich enough to hire people to help me)

I asked two of the biggest banks this question. No answer. One said yes/maybe / no depening on the person who answered. And no one could answer why.
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Old 08.01.2007, 00:31
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Re: Taking money out of Switzerland

Quote:
Please correct me if I am wrong, but is there not a 20% "withholding" tax on money transferred out of Switzerland? I believe this law was made to appease the EU on banking secrecy. I am not sure at what threshold the alarm goes off for this one.
I transferred €200K out of Switzerland last year and 200K arrived at the other end so make of that what you will. Ask yourself also how they would be able to impose this!?
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Old 08.01.2007, 06:05
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Re: Taking money out of Switzerland

Quote:
Please correct me if I am wrong, but is there not a 20% "withholding" tax on money transferred out of Switzerland? I believe this law was made to appease the EU on banking secrecy. I am not sure at what threshold the alarm goes off for this one.
If you are resident in an EU country then it's only on interest earned in European "off-shore" places such as Switzerland, Isle of Man etc.

It's to help stop EU residents having "off-shore" cash avoiding EU countries tax systems.

Here (Wikipedia, info)
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