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Old 09.09.2009, 19:58
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New to CH - where are the taxes lowest?

Hello all,
I'm looking at a move to Switzerland this year.

I'm an Irish citizen. Just turned 40. Business is funds. Most of my work is Germany-related and my better half has just been seconded to the UK so we're looking for someone new to base ourselves and also for a break from Ireland. I'm employed by an (Irish-registered) company that I control and also have self-employed income from a few different sources in Germany and Luxembourg.

Can anyone recommend a canton with
- a relatively low all-in income tax rate
- decent quality of life and airport connections
- relatively fast visa-processing (want to get it done before 31/12/09)

Zurich and Geneva seem to be the favourites, notwithstanding the higher income-tax rates. But should we be looking at alternatives, also bearing in mind what the individual cantons are offering by way of flat/forfait tax deals???

Would be really grateful for ideas.

Apologies if I've missed an existing thread.
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Old 09.09.2009, 22:22
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Re: New to CH - where are the taxes lowest?

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Hello all,
I'm looking at a move to Switzerland this year.

I'm an Irish citizen. Just turned 40. Business is funds. Most of my work is Germany-related and my better half has just been seconded to the UK so we're looking for someone new to base ourselves and also for a break from Ireland. I'm employed by an (Irish-registered) company that I control and also have self-employed income from a few different sources in Germany and Luxembourg.

Can anyone recommend a canton with
- a relatively low all-in income tax rate
- decent quality of life and airport connections
- relatively fast visa-processing (want to get it done before 31/12/09)

Zurich and Geneva seem to be the favourites, notwithstanding the higher income-tax rates. But should we be looking at alternatives, also bearing in mind what the individual cantons are offering by way of flat/forfait tax deals???

Would be really grateful for ideas.

Apologies if I've missed an existing thread.
Canton Zug
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Old 10.09.2009, 01:55
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Re: New to CH - where are the taxes lowest?

Thanks - is this due to a Forfait deal that Zug is offering at the moment, or just their standard rates? On paper, the standard rates for some other cantons particularly Obwalden look lower.
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Old 10.09.2009, 02:07
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Re: New to CH - where are the taxes lowest?

If your German is good enough, surf to www.firmendomizil.info - you might find some information relevant to your quest.

( Crude Eng translation here )
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Old 10.09.2009, 02:30
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Re: New to CH - where are the taxes lowest?

anywhere when you work cash in hand!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 10.09.2009, 09:01
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Re: New to CH - where are the taxes lowest?

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On paper, the standard rates for some other cantons particularly Obwalden look lower.
I thought you wanted an airport close by?

Or will you build your own chopper landing pad behind the house ?
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Old 10.09.2009, 13:38
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Re: New to CH - where are the taxes lowest?

Thanks for the replies, yes Obwalden does seem relatively inacessible and quiet.

Does anyone commute from there or somewhere similar (low taxes) to Zurich/Geneva airports? Experiences??

Aside from the 'rack'/standard income tax rates, does anyone know of any cantons that are offering attractive forfait/flat tax deals at the moment that might be less visible?
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Old 10.09.2009, 14:00
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Re: New to CH - where are the taxes lowest?

Zurich airport is more efficient and less stress than Geneva but neither is at all bad. I'd say Zurich has to be the easiest international city to get around.

Credit Suisse publishes a report on region attractiveness of Switzerland and the best spot after counting living costs and taxes etc is Appenzell Innerrhoden and next being Obwalden and then Thurgau and Aargau. Aargau is very central and only about 30min by train from Zurich/airport. Zug is great but the housing is very limited and very expensive. Thurgau is just on the Bodensee (Lake Contance) and probably lovely.
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Old 10.09.2009, 14:02
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Re: New to CH - where are the taxes lowest?

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Thanks - is this due to a Forfait deal that Zug is offering at the moment, or just their standard rates? On paper, the standard rates for some other cantons particularly Obwalden look lower.
OW is an attractive company location.
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Old 10.09.2009, 14:14
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Re: New to CH - where are the taxes lowest?

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Thanks for the replies, yes Obwalden does seem relatively inacessible and quiet.

Does anyone commute from there or somewhere similar (low taxes) to Zurich/Geneva airports? Experiences??
I live in Engelberg. It's about a 1:30 - 1:40 drive to the Zurich airport. Other parts of Obwalden (e.g. Alpnach and Sarnen) will be closer (maybe an hour). They are (or maybe it exists already?) planning a direct train route to Zurich from Sarnen that won't stop in Luzern which should make it a bit quicker. Also, the new highway construction up around Zug-Zurich should shave off some of the drive time. We like it here as it's far enough to feel remote but close enough to Luzern/Zurich. I'm used to US distances though (my 15 mile Bay Area commute used to take an hour or more).
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Old 10.09.2009, 14:30
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Re: New to CH - where are the taxes lowest?

Thanks all.

I found a link to the Credit Suisse report (2009) here: https://www.credit-suisse.com/news/e...e.jsp?ns=41293. It seems to rank Zug at number 1.

My understanding is that residents of Obwalden pay income tax at 24.1% in total (Federal, Cantonal plus any Municipal), whereas the effective rate on say USD300,000 for residents of Canton and Community Zurich is 31% (KPMG 2009 tax card at (http://www.kpmg.ch/docs/Individual-I...urvey-2009.pdf). Quite a difference.

Thanks for the info about Engelberg. Sounds like the average daily commute in Dublin for many!

If anyone has any hints about where/whether there may be good Forfait deals on offer, would really appreciate it.
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Old 10.09.2009, 15:28
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Re: New to CH - where are the taxes lowest?

You can also go on www.comparis.ch. It was a lot of help when we were deciding between Cantons. It will show you the difference of what you would pay in taxes. Good luck!
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Old 10.09.2009, 15:36
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Re: New to CH - where are the taxes lowest?

Thank you! Very interesting site.

The lump-sum/forfait/flat-tax issues seem to be harder to get at. I - perhaps wrongly - have the sense that there may be cantons (with decent qualities of life) offering very 'good deals'. At this site, I found a reference to deals of as low as USD70,000 per annum.

Is this a simplistic notion?

And, how in practice does the restriction (in the lump-sum tax law) related to working in Switzerland work? Is it considered ok to process emails and calls (related to a business outside CH) from a home office??
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Old 10.09.2009, 21:20
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Re: New to CH - where are the taxes lowest?

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Thanks all.

I found a link to the Credit Suisse report (2009) here: https://www.credit-suisse.com/news/e...e.jsp?ns=41293. It seems to rank Zug at number 1.

My understanding is that residents of Obwalden pay income tax at 24.1% in total (Federal, Cantonal plus any Municipal), whereas the effective rate on say USD300,000 for residents of Canton and Community Zurich is 31% (KPMG 2009 tax card at (http://www.kpmg.ch/docs/Individual-I...urvey-2009.pdf). Quite a difference.

Thanks for the info about Engelberg. Sounds like the average daily commute in Dublin for many!

If anyone has any hints about where/whether there may be good Forfait deals on offer, would really appreciate it.
The cited data are for the city of Zurich. The suburbs have much lower tax rates.
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Old 11.09.2009, 09:46
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Re: New to CH - where are the taxes lowest?

You might buy yourself a copy of this:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Worlds-Best-...2651539&sr=8-1

From memory, there is a large section detailing Switzerland, both in terms of standard tax and a negotiated rate.
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Old 11.09.2009, 12:24
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Re: New to CH - where are the taxes lowest?

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Thank you! Very interesting site.

The lump-sum/forfait/flat-tax issues seem to be harder to get at. I - perhaps wrongly - have the sense that there may be cantons (with decent qualities of life) offering very 'good deals'. At this site, I found a reference to deals of as low as USD70,000 per annum.

Is this a simplistic notion?

And, how in practice does the restriction (in the lump-sum tax law) related to working in Switzerland work? Is it considered ok to process emails and calls (related to a business outside CH) from a home office??
USD 70,000 per annum? Do you refer to the amount of taxes or to the taxable lump-sum? If you refer to the lump-sum, then I believe this belongs to the past. The lump-sum basis has been quite increased all over Switzerland following all the discussions about this taxation method.

And regarding your question about working from a home office: in theory, no. In practice, it will work as long as the tax authority finds it out or a good "friend or neighbour" of yours tells the tax guy that you are working from home. One thing you should never ignore with Swiss people, is that they have a "certain sense of good order", which means if they find out that something you are doing is wrong, they will tell the right people about it... nice no?
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Old 11.09.2009, 13:39
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Re: New to CH - where are the taxes lowest?

Thanks, the USD70,000 was the total amount of annual tax.

I've ordered the book on Amazon!

If anyone has any other experiences of the working from home question (my understanding is that in theory this is ok if you are managing your own investments, but not ok if you are doing other work even if the other work relates to a non-Swiss business) I'd appreciate an input.

Also, anyone know about any particularly good forfait deals on offer right now??
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Old 11.09.2009, 18:33
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Re: New to CH - where are the taxes lowest?

I thought it was a no brainer for tax sensitive businesses catered to the german market to consider either Zug or Schwyz. There are some minor differences in corporate tax and income tax in both places that determines which has an effectively lower burden. And with the new highway on its way from Zug, traffic is going to be no more of an issue.

Also there will be a huge influx of new apartments I heard in Canton Schwyz from Mar 2010 onwards, so good choice at good price for lodging options soon too for staff.
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Old 11.09.2009, 18:52
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Re: New to CH - where are the taxes lowest?

Thanks. Do you have any insights into negotiating a lump-sum deal in Schwyz?
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Old 11.09.2009, 19:12
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Re: New to CH - where are the taxes lowest?

Just a thought -- since you seem to be very interested in a negotiated deal but are getting little information here despite repeating in every other post you make, maybe you should contact a qualified tax advisor?

We have plenty of them here in Switzerland, and they're a much better source of reliable, up-to-date information than an internet forum (particularly one which is not full of millionaires looking for tax havens).

If your affairs are large enough that you can benefit from a negotiated tax deal, a few hours with a tax advisor will be a drop in the bucket and represent money well spent.

Also, not sure if you have seen this earlier thread: Lump-sum taxation ("forfait tax") of resident aliens
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