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Old 31.03.2011, 18:32
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B Permit holder - odd comment from tax adviser?

Dear all,


Having spent a good hour over the past two days reading this forum & previous threads on tax-at-source, and what you can deduct, I decided to email a tax adviser in Geneva (where my fiance & I live).


We received this reply, and I thought the last sentence was very curious...





"We normally invite potential clients to come in and have a free discussion so we can understand the requirements and also estimate our fees.

That way we can make a proposal that you can confirm (or not) at your leisure.

One comment – if you are both on B permits then there won’t be much you can do as it’s based on standard tax tables."


Can anyone verify if this is true, and that as B permit holders, we cannot offset our expenses that other Swiss people do?


It sounds very odd and I'm hesitant to trust a tax advisor who tells me this.


Many thanks
Melissa
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Old 31.03.2011, 20:37
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Re: B Permit holder - odd comment from tax adviser?

Well, yes and no.

Foreigners on a B permit pay "Tax at source" which is called "Quellensteuer". This is based on tax rates defined by the canton. The employer will deduct this out of the salary each month based on the rate which your gemiende steueramt (tax office of the area where you live) tells them. Rate is based on single, married, separated, kids or no kids, religion etc...

Now, you have the possibility to fill in a return at the end of the financial year if you earn more than 120K per year. You can do the return otherwise as well, but its not mandatory (and maybe also not worth the effort).

In this return, (known as Steuerklarung) you have the chance to declare many things to get a tax relief. Things like any debts, loans, interest on mortgages, travelling & daily expenses on food, medical bills and so on.

This form is then sent to the Cantonal Tax office through your local tax office. They take a look at it and decides whether you can get some money back.

So, yes you might get some money back. Or no you may not. The calculations behind are too complicated to get my head around. Basically this tax advisor is right in saying that you do not have much scope since you pay tax at source, but he is also wrong if he says that you cannot do anything.

Hope this helps.

Oh, and PS : An introduction post would be great. Thanks.

Also, search around on the forum and you should find a lot of good info about this. It has been discussed at length (such as in similar threads below).
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Old 31.03.2011, 22:59
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Re: B Permit holder - odd comment from tax adviser?

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Well, yes and no.

Foreigners on a B permit pay "Tax at source" which is called "Quellensteuer".
In French it's called "impot a la source".
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Old 31.03.2011, 23:56
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Re: B Permit holder - odd comment from tax adviser?

I agree, I wouldn't trust a tax advisor who gives such misleading and inaccurate advice.
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Old 01.04.2011, 13:00
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Re: B Permit holder - odd comment from tax adviser?

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I agree, I wouldn't trust a tax advisor who gives such misleading and inaccurate advice.
How do conclude that? You don't know the information upon which the advice was given. In many circumstances it is quite true.
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Old 01.04.2011, 13:03
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Re: B Permit holder - odd comment from tax adviser?

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So, yes you might get some money back.
Interestingly, if they owe you some tax rebate you will get it after about 12 mont. Conversely, should you owe them they not only want it now but they also add interest back to when the forms were submitted ot the extension applied for.
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Old 01.04.2011, 13:06
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Re: B Permit holder - odd comment from tax adviser?

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Interestingly, if they owe you some tax rebate you will get it after about 12 mont. Conversely, should you owe them they not only want it now but they also add interest back to when the forms were submitted ot the extension applied for.
I only now got a refund for 2008
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Old 01.04.2011, 13:47
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Re: B Permit holder - odd comment from tax adviser?

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Interestingly, if they owe you some tax rebate you will get it after about 12 mont if you are lucky.
fixed that for you.
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Old 01.04.2011, 13:58
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Re: B Permit holder - odd comment from tax adviser?

they also give you interest if they owe you money, which is a good thing as our first couple of rebates took 2 years to come through, last one was only a few months, the bill when we owed them was in record time though
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Old 01.04.2011, 14:00
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Re: B Permit holder - odd comment from tax adviser?

I don't understand this advice:

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Now, you have the possibility to fill in a return at the end of the financial year if you earn more than 120K per year. You can do the return otherwise as well, but its not mandatory (and maybe also not worth the effort).
When you say this...

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In this return, (known as Steuerklarung) you have the chance to declare many things to get a tax relief. Things like any debts, loans, interest on mortgages, travelling & daily expenses on food, medical bills and so on.
I've posted several times on this - so forgive me for those reading it again - but I had to do a tax adjustment over 10 years because of certain *ahem* irregularities. Over those 10 years, some years I did not do a tax return as tax was QS-based. Interestingly I would have been owed money for the first few years thanks to various deductions.

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Interestingly, if they owe you some tax rebate you will get it after about 12 mont. Conversely, should you owe them they not only want it now but they also add interest back to when the forms were submitted ot the extension applied for.
Although in the example above, and "credits" were zeroed, my year-to-year experience is that they also backdate interest owed on refund amounts.

Indeed if you have enough spare cash you should pay into your tax kitty on a monthly basis as it accrues interest at a better rate than sitting in a bank account.
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Old 01.04.2011, 14:20
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Re: B Permit holder - odd comment from tax adviser?

Thanks for the replies all.

Ashishshah - thanks for your tip, I'll do an introduction post on the forum.

I think I was a bit put off by the email reply from my prospective tax adviser, given that I have read in so many places that a B permit holder can offset all sorts of things against tax.

Some comments: the tax regime in Geneva is slightly different to other cantons; for example, the point at which you become a tax declarer is not 120K in Geneva, but 500K CHF.

My central question was - would you trust a tax advisor who told you this immediately? We're looking for someone we can trust, and who is competant. I have heard stories of people receiving the wrong information.

We're going to meet up with said advisor soon, and see what else he has to say. I'll post back with our findings...
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Old 01.04.2011, 17:04
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Re: B Permit holder - odd comment from tax adviser?

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My central question was - would you trust a tax advisor who told you this immediately? We're looking for someone we can trust, and who is competant. I have heard stories of people receiving the wrong information.

We're going to meet up with said advisor soon, and see what else he has to say. I'll post back with our findings...
YOU clearly don't trust him so I think you've answered your own question: Time to find a new one.
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Old 01.04.2011, 17:09
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Re: B Permit holder - odd comment from tax adviser?

I've been told by tax advisors (one in Geneva and one in Luzern), that as a B permit holder and taxed at source, I cannot file a tax return. Seems pretty strange, and am trying to get a 3rd opinion, and will post if i have better infoormation.

Now if only I could some how get out of paying US taxes; whatever happened to no taxation without representation !?!?
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Old 01.04.2011, 17:28
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Re: B Permit holder - odd comment from tax adviser?

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I don't understand this advice:
What I mean is simply that the effort to do the tax return and put in all required documents when you do not need to do a return depends on what you earn and whether you have enough investments/scope for getting back the taxes paid.

Maybe I forgot to mention that once you do a tax return, you HAVE to do it every year without fail. Otherwise it might lead to *irregularities* as maybe was your case.

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Over those 10 years, some years I did not do a tax return as tax was QS-based.
Doing or not doing a tax return depends on your earnings, and not on whether you are on QS or not. It is always safe to inquire from the tax office (local/cantonal) about whether you have to do it or not...when you have done it once and are not asked to do it the second time.

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Interestingly I would have been owed money for the first few years thanks to various deductions.
Again, as I said, if you think it is justified to do a return even when you do not have to, you are free to do it.
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