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Old 26.07.2008, 13:11
Butimi Butimi is offline
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Basel
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Tax issues - Withholding tax; advance tax; taxed pro-rata; and moving cantons

Good Morning!

I've been reading the forums for a few months now and thought it was time i should sign up, introduce myself, and post my first post. I do have an ulterior motive though... I have a specific question that I can't find the answer to in the forums. I have scoured the internet for many hours also, but without success so far. (I am somewhat limited in the fact that i don't speak much German - something i aim to remedy as soon as possible).

Ok, so here is a bit of background. I moved to Basel in June in order to start a new job here at the beginning of July 2008, so I've been here for a little over a month. I'm from the UK originally. Everything has been going well, I'd say i have integrated very well so far (as well as someone can do in 6 weeks!), and i'm generally loving been here in Schweiz! I received my first months salary and pay-slip yesterday. I consider myself a relatively intelligent human being, however, i think even Einstein would have trouble getting his head around the Swiss tax system for foreign workers!

So, my question (a multi-part question) concerns paying taxes as a B permit holder, currently living in Basel-stadt, and, additionally, who will (most likely) move to Aargau (specifically Rheinfelden) in approx. 2 months time.

So, in my first pay slip i can see that i paid "withholding tax" for the money i have earned in the first month (i understand the principle behind "withholding tax" - the tax authority worry that as a foreigner the recipient/payee might "run off" without paying taxes owed to the state/council/etc.). Additionally, i also payed "advance tax" on my proposed next months salary (at least that is what i assume the deduction merely labelled "advance" is referring to in my pay-slip - i assume this is correct, right??? If someone can confirm this, that would be great).

I understand the principle behind "advance tax" too - i.e. that as a foreigner i don't spend all my money such that i can't pay my tax bill when it is due. Makes sense.

I am also aware of the 120k threshold for having to file a tax return.

I am also aware that in some cantons you pay tax in "advance" and in other cantons you pay tax in "arrears" (retrospectively).

Ok, so here are my specific questions;

1) Is the above situation normal? Paying "withholding" AND "advance" tax in my very first months salary?

2) In the future, will I pay only the "advance tax"?

3) What will happen if i move to Aargau? I assume i need to contact the Basel-stadt tax office, and when i do will i receive a rebate on my "advance" or "withholding" tax, (assuming/if people in Aargau pay tax in "arrears")

3a) Does anyone know if B permit holders pay tax in advance or in arrears in Aargau??

To complicate matters even more, I received some additional "bonuses" in my first months salary (such as a reimbursement for expenses accrued in relocation, and also for accommodation). I will also receive a smaller yet similar bonus in month 2 for my temporary accommodation. Therefore my tax burden was higher than "normal" based on my base salary alone. This brings me to my final question(s).

4) Is everything done "pro-rata" here in Schweiz?

4a) Are taxes calculated pro-rata? I will have only worked for 6 months of the tax year (July - December) and I was unemployed (studying) for the first 6 months of the year (back in the UK). So, i'm curious if my tax level will be calculated by the amount earned in the year (approx. half my annual salary) or will i be taxed as if i earned my complete annual salary (pro-rata)?

4b) My company pay salaries using the 13 month system (with the 13th payment late in the year), and, assuming i don't get the sack beforehand, i'll be employed during the month in which the 13th payment is made. Now, is this calculated "pro-rata" in most companies?

(I do realise each company may be different)

Apologies for the really, really long post. Like i said i've already spent a significant amount of time investigating this with little success. In due course i will of course contact the relevant tax offices. However, from reading the posts in this forum i can see there are some very well-informed and enlightened people present here, and i thought they might like to share their wisdom! Many thanks for reading, and more so for any replies i might receive.

Butimi (a nickname, of course!)
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