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Old 14.01.2010, 14:33
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Claiming for car usage, when no car is used

I live in Basel-Land and work outside Zürich. I travel there and back every day by public transport, a total of 4 hours per day. A friend tells me that his Treuhand assures him that, when long distances are involved, it is legitimate to claim expenses for a car as a tax deduction, even though a car is not used. This sounds slightly suspicious to me. Anyone know?
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Old 14.01.2010, 14:55
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Re: Claiming for car usage, when no car is used

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I live in Basel-Land and work outside Zürich. I travel there and back every day by public transport, a total of 4 hours per day. A friend tells me that his Treuhand assures him that, when long distances are involved, it is legitimate to claim expenses for a car as a tax deduction, even though a car is not used. This sounds slightly suspicious to me. Anyone know?
Almost fraudulent I would say . But then I'm not a tax advisor...
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Old 14.01.2010, 15:24
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Re: Claiming for car usage, when no car is used

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Almost fraudulent I would say . But then I'm not a tax advisor...
Or a UK politician!
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Old 14.01.2010, 15:26
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Re: Claiming for car usage, when no car is used

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Or a UK politician!
LOL

Wouldn't that be claiming for a drive from a house you didn't use that was the furthest point from Parliament?
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Old 14.01.2010, 15:47
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Re: Claiming for car usage, when no car is used

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I live in Basel-Land and work outside Zürich. I travel there and back every day by public transport, a total of 4 hours per day. A friend tells me that his Treuhand assures him that, when long distances are involved, it is legitimate to claim expenses for a car as a tax deduction, even though a car is not used. This sounds slightly suspicious to me. Anyone know?
Sure you can, but only if you really do own a car... In any case you have a choice how you get to work, especially with such a commute by private or public transport, you can justify either and nobody can check.
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Old 14.01.2010, 16:11
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Re: Claiming for car usage, when no car is used

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I live in Basel-Land and work outside Zürich. I travel there and back every day by public transport, a total of 4 hours per day. A friend tells me that his Treuhand assures him that, when long distances are involved, it is legitimate to claim expenses for a car as a tax deduction, even though a car is not used. This sounds slightly suspicious to me. Anyone know?

I had a similar problem. After doing a lot of research I finally concluded that there isn't a clear cut answer but that it depends on the policy of the individual company and their relative generosity.

In my case it was that I had a GA which I had payed for with my own money. However, I was using it for company travel. The company said they couldn't reimburse anything seeing i had no real expenses. I thought this a bit unfair as most of the others were using their cars and getting reimbursement and my initiative was actually saving costs for the company. I raised this with some more people and they offered to buy me a halbtax. I said thanks but that won't really be that useful seeing I already have a GA. Could I have the money instead? They said no. After a bit more squabbling they agreed to reimburse me for the value of halbtax train tickets equivalent to the journeys made. So on my expense claims I would print out the page from the SBB website that quotes you the price for your selected journey and they would reimburse me for that sum on the basis of a halbtax I didn't have. Later a different accountant said he didn't see any reason why I shouldn't charge car expenses seeing he himself did the same. So on the whole it was a matter of keep on asking until you get the answer you want. The problem is now solved anyway as the company now pays my GA - the best of all possible solutions.

So in summary, you have the right to nothing but you can negotiate anything.
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Old 14.01.2010, 16:12
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Re: Claiming for car usage, when no car is used

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Sure you can, but only if you really do own a car... In any case you have a choice how you get to work, especially with such a commute by private or public transport, you can justify either and nobody can check.
Thanks, Charlie, I think that's the basis for the whole deal, which is why I don't intend to do it. It was presented to me as a perfectly normal and acceptable thing to do, but then, there is an infinite spectrum of "perfectly normal and reasonable".

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Heinrich Himmler: Ja, a perfectly normal and reasonable thing to do, mein Führer.
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Old 14.01.2010, 16:15
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Re: Claiming for car usage, when no car is used

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Sure you can, but only if you really do own a car... In any case you have a choice how you get to work, especially with such a commute by private or public transport, you can justify either and nobody can check.
A lot of people I know have company cars but are claiming expenses in full. I assume this means the company is paying some stuff twice over. So no, owning a car doesn't come into it.
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Old 14.01.2010, 16:17
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Re: Claiming for car usage, when no car is used

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I had a similar problem. After doing a lot of research I finally concluded that there isn't a clear cut answer but that it depends on the policy of the individual company and their relative generosity.

In my case it was that I had a GA which I had payed for with my own money. However, I was using it for company travel. The company said they couldn't reimburse anything seeing i had no real expenses. I thought this a bit unfair as most of the others were using their cars and getting reimbursement and my initiative was actually saving costs for the company. I raised this with some more people and they offered to buy me a halbtax. I said thanks but that won't really be that useful seeing I already have a GA. Could I have the money instead? They said no. After a bit more squabbling they agreed to reimburse me for the value of halbtax train tickets equivalent to the journeys made. So on my expense claims I would print out the page from the SBB website that quotes you the price for your selected journey and they would reimburse me for that sum on the basis of a halbtax I didn't have. Later a different accountant said he didn't see any reason why I shouldn't charge car expenses seeing he himself did the same. So on the whole it was a matter of keep on asking until you get the answer you want. The problem is now solved anyway as the company now pays my GA - the best of all possible solutions.

So in summary, you have the right to nothing but you can negotiate anything.
I also have a GA, for which I pay myself (the company has always refused to pay it, saying that it pays me sufficiently). I have the usual allowance for a GA on the annual tax form. I don't use the train (or the car) for business travel at all, so in my case it's purely a matter of personal expense and taxation. I am told, "they never check", but with my luck, they'd start and I'd be the first!
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Old 14.01.2010, 17:23
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Re: Claiming for car usage, when no car is used

Hi,

There is usually section on the tax form for "Berufskosten" (professional costs) which allows you to deduct a certain amount for transport to work and for the cost of lunch (a bigger amount if your employer has no subsidised canteen).

Cheers,
Nick
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Old 14.01.2010, 17:43
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Re: Claiming for car usage, when no car is used

One of my staff had a GA, and it was agreed with the finance bods that he could reclaim the car usage.

That was Novartis.
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Old 14.01.2010, 18:00
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Re: Claiming for car usage, when no car is used

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A lot of people I know have company cars but are claiming expenses in full. I assume this means the company is paying some stuff twice over. So no, owning a car doesn't come into it.
If the company is doing their job properly company cars appear on your end of year pay summary....
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Old 14.01.2010, 18:05
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Re: Claiming for car usage, when no car is used

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If the company is doing their job properly company cars appear on your end of year pay summary....
Not necessarily. If the car is strictly for work use only it doesn't appear.
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Old 14.01.2010, 18:25
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Re: Claiming for car usage, when no car is used

As I understand it, you can claim the equivalent cost of an annual pass to commute to work by public transport.
If you have a long, or complex commute, you can claim mileage, or something similar for using your car.
If you do this, the cantonal tax folks might want to see your log book etc to verify your claim. It can happen...
If you can justify it, then fine. If you can't get the price of the ticket from the SBB and claim that.
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Old 14.01.2010, 18:48
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Re: Claiming for car usage, when no car is used

oos, deleted because previous post misread

Last edited by amogles; 14.01.2010 at 20:21.
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Old 14.01.2010, 20:16
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Re: Claiming for car usage, when no car is used

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One of my staff had a GA, and it was agreed with the finance bods that he could reclaim the car usage.

That was Novartis.
Ha, The Other Big N, eh? Well, I guess if they can pay Dan Vasella that much... However, my problem is that it is purely to and from work, not business car use (of which I have precisely none). It is purely an individual thing. For years, I've claimed only the GA (and, as another poster has said, the canteen costs). However, this colleague said that a long and complex commute (3 trains, 2 hours each way) could justify charging the cost of a car (the use of which would halve the time).
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Old 14.01.2010, 20:33
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Re: Claiming for car usage, when no car is used

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I live in Basel-Land and work outside Zürich. I travel there and back every day by public transport, a total of 4 hours per day. A friend tells me that his Treuhand assures him that, when long distances are involved, it is legitimate to claim expenses for a car as a tax deduction, even though a car is not used. This sounds slightly suspicious to me. Anyone know?
If you have a car, you can try and claim a mileage deduction on your tax return. This is usually granted when using public transport results in excessive travel time.

However, if you live in a small commune, then everyone and the tax officer knows that you actually travel by train. Then your deduction gets rejected and your tax declarations are forever put under a microscope.
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Old 14.01.2010, 21:40
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Re: Claiming for car usage, when no car is used

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Ha, The Other Big N, eh? Well, I guess if they can pay Dan Vasella that much... However, my problem is that it is purely to and from work, not business car use (of which I have precisely none). It is purely an individual thing. For years, I've claimed only the GA (and, as another poster has said, the canteen costs). However, this colleague said that a long and complex commute (3 trains, 2 hours each way) could justify charging the cost of a car (the use of which would halve the time).
hmm. I see where your problem lies. Who to trust - your colleague or random unqualified strangers on a forum? What can you do? Who can you turn to? Maybe,... just maybe...

Talk to an accountant.
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Old 14.01.2010, 21:42
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Re: Claiming for car usage, when no car is used

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hmm. I see where your problem lies. Who to trust - your colleague or random unqualified strangers on a forum? What can you do? Who can you turn to? Maybe,... just maybe...

Talk to an accountant.
Don't worry, I'll check it out with my Treuhand, come taxing times. My colleague has the tendency to believe people who tell him things that increase his net worth, so I tend to trust him roughly as far as I can throw the Queen Mary. However, the possibility that he might be right for a change prompted me to ask the question.
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