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Old 13.11.2016, 00:31
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Taxes for UN spouses

As a spouse of a UN employee, I am liable to declare/pay Swiss income tax. Considering she is exempt, how would I file? Doesn't seem right as either a single person (since we are married and, as such, subject to different rates) or a married person (since I would then need to declare, and be taxed of, joint earnings). Any advice appreciated!
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Old 13.11.2016, 09:52
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Re: Taxes for UN spouses

I'd just drop a note to the tax office and ask. At least in Zürich and Zug, they've always been very helpful when I ask such questions.
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Old 13.11.2016, 13:01
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Re: Taxes for UN spouses

I have some friends in this situation. Married couples have to file together, but in the column for your spouse you list the income as zero (at least the UN income). You may still get taxed on your overall net worth, as there's not really a way to separate it if you share bank accounts.

Your spouse is supposed to get a letter each year from the UN agency that references the agreement Switzerland signed with the UN. It won't say how much she made, just that the income is not taxable. I'm told there's a UN office in Geneva that helps employees with tax matters but sorry, I don't know what it's called or the contact info.
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Old 13.11.2016, 14:01
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Re: Taxes for UN spouses

Yes, surely the UN admin will be the best to advise here.
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Old 13.11.2016, 19:17
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Re: Taxes for UN spouses

As I understand it the tax-paying spouse's rate of tax is based on the sum of the partner's income.

Vaud sticks to this rule, not so certain about Geneva.
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Old 13.11.2016, 19:53
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Re: Taxes for UN spouses

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As I understand it the tax-paying spouse's rate of tax is based on the sum of the partner's income.

Vaud sticks to this rule, not so certain about Geneva.
I think you're talking about "normal" couples. AFAIK, employees of the UN agencies don't have to pay income tax, whether they are single or married.

As you write it, a single person employed by the United Nations would not have to pay tax, because there's no combined income. However the married one would have to pay because couples file jointly. That doesn't make sense.
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Old 13.11.2016, 20:07
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Re: Taxes for UN spouses

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I think you're talking about "normal" couples. AFAIK, employees of the UN agencies don't have to pay income tax, whether they are single or married.

As you write it, a single person employed by the United Nations would not have to pay tax, because there's no combined income. However the married one would have to pay because couples file jointly. That doesn't make sense.
I think he was saying that the tax rate the Swiss employed spouse pays takes the UN employed spouse's income income into account. So whilst they may not actually be paying tax on the UN income they may be paying Swiss tax at a higher rate.

At least that's how I understood it.
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Old 13.11.2016, 20:09
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Re: Taxes for UN spouses

No, I was referring to couples, one of which's salary is exempt from Federal, Cantonal and Communal taxes. The other one pays taxes on their income at a rate applicable to the joint income.

No it doesn't make sense, but it's what they do in Vaud.

Belgianmum - that's exactly right, but as I said I'm not certain this applies in GE.
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Old 13.11.2016, 21:21
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Re: Taxes for UN spouses

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Yes, surely the UN admin will be the best to advise here.
LOL. UN admin. You would think!

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As I understand it the tax-paying spouse's rate of tax is based on the sum of the partner's income.

Vaud sticks to this rule, not so certain about Geneva.
Interesting, because ultimately we are trying to calculate whether it is better for us to move to GE or VD. But difficult to get clear answers on how much we/I will be taxed, so I thought I would start with how to file. Now even THAT may differ between cantons.

Will do some digging around in the corridors, I think...
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Old 14.11.2016, 10:31
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Re: Taxes for UN spouses

You can ask here:
https://www.eda.admin.ch/missions/mi...-taxation.html
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Old 14.11.2016, 10:38
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Re: Taxes for UN spouses

Cantonal Taxation administration
Rue du Stand 26, P.O. Box 3937
1211 Geneva 3
Tel. +41 (0)22 327 58 87
Fax +41 (0)22 327 55 97

Taxation Office of the District of Nyon (Office d’impôt du district de Nyon )
Avenue Reverdil 4-6
CH - 1260 Nyon
Tel. +41 (0)22 557 50 50
(or directly to the Taxation Office of the District where the person lives)

Specialist Contact
Permanent Mission of Switzerland to UNOG
Office of Privileges & immunities
Rue de Varembé 9-11
P.O. Box 194
CH-1211 Geneva 20
Tel. +41 (0)58 482 24 24
Fax +41 (0)58 482 24 37
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Old 17.11.2016, 09:55
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Re: Taxes for UN spouses

The Geneva authorities fixed this problem a few years ago after a few court cases and the federal authorities put pressure on them. Since several years, for Geneva you are definitely not taxed on spousal income, only your own. You put zero for spouse even if married. Prior to this fix, they did indeed tax unfairly the income of the UN spouse. Vaud does not have this jurisprudence, but last I knew they did not add it in, and the same priciple applies. But I guess you are in France, so not sure how the French authorities treat it, but probably not in your favour.
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