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Old 28.04.2011, 18:31
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Is it worth fighting the tax man?

Hi,
A bit long winded, but here goes:-

I previously paid quellensteuer and this was deducted automatically including for 2008. My 1st tax return here (2005) was done by the management company in Zurich because I was on their payroll. The next year they refused because they 'don't offer that service' and so I did it. I also did it for 2007.

Now I have received a demand for an extra 6.5K from the taxman for 2008 based on a tax return filed by this same management company. The tax office say it was filled in by the company but signed by me. I do not have a copy of this or any other forms relating to 2008. I do not remember signing anything. 2009 I also did because the tax form came directly to me and also for 2010.

I have appealed to the taxman for the 6.5K because it seems all the figures are wrong - i.e. they didn't give me any allowances for the kids, maintenance etc.

It seems that the management company sent all the forms from the tax office etc to an old address in England and hence I knew nothing about them, including reminders for non payment etc. Now the tax man says I signed the form and that I didn't appeal in time and have to pay.

My history shows that I always paid tax on time and normally too much. I know for a fact that I overpaid in 2010 by about 4k.

Does anybody have any advice? Can I fight this 6.5k based on the fact that I never received anything because I have proof it was all going to the wrong address? Can I sue the management company for not filling it in correctly (assuming I did sign it - which I cannot be sure). Or am I better off just paying it and walking away. I have insurance which I can check and they would probably pay legal costs for suing the management company.

I am not rich but I can pay the 6.5k if I really need to, but it would hurt as this was money put aside for our first holiday in 4 years.

Suggestions please?

Thanks.
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Old 28.04.2011, 18:38
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Re: Is it worth fighting the tax man?

Call your insurance
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Old 28.04.2011, 18:53
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Re: Is it worth fighting the tax man?

I have found the Swiss "tax man" (and woman) to be very reasonable.

I dare say that your tax has been handles at various levels (Afoltern and then on to the Canton). I would start locally and pop in have a chat, explaining how the 'experts' made a pigs ear of it from omitting allowances to giving the wrong/old address.

It's like this: how long do you have to work to earn CHF6,500 NET? If it's a few hours work, then you can forget it. But if that's a month or more's hard graft, it's worth trying...
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Old 28.04.2011, 19:05
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Re: Is it worth fighting the tax man?

My wife wrote a long letter to the Kantonal taxman (in German) explaining the situation and offering to fill in the correct tax return retrospectively but they just say that they already have a tax form signed by me and that the time to question it ran out last year.

Because she is Swiss maybe she will go in person to the Affoltern tax office and see if they can help. In 2008 we lived in Zurich so I'm not sure if they can help or not.
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Old 28.04.2011, 19:12
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Re: Is it worth fighting the tax man?

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My wife wrote a long letter to the Kantonal taxman (in German) explaining the situation and offering to fill in the correct tax return retrospectively but they just say that they already have a tax form signed by me and that the time to question it ran out last year.

Because she is Swiss maybe she will go in person to the Affoltern tax office and see if they can help. In 2008 we lived in Zurich so I'm not sure if they can help or not.
Ask to see that. Maybe it wont be your signature on it and there was a major screw up at some point
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Old 29.04.2011, 05:41
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Re: Is it worth fighting the tax man?

I would ask to see the signature, but if your signature is on it I wouldn't fight it.

It could well end up costing more- tread carefully!
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Old 29.04.2011, 09:30
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Re: Is it worth fighting the tax man?

I've had some experience with a problem like this, as has a good friend of mine. Up-shot is, she had to pay, I did not.
hth
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Old 29.04.2011, 14:58
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Re: Is it worth fighting the tax man?

Thanks to all of you who replied.

We had a long conversation this morning with the taxman in Zurich and it seems that while they were very nice about it, there's nothing I can do. I have to pay the 6.5k and consider whether it is worth suing the management company.

Basically my signature is on the form, but the problem is that the taxman asked a series of questions regarding the children, day care costs etc. I never responded to their questions because the management company sent them to my old UK address, even though they had previously acknowledged my correct address and sent some letters to me there.

Because I never responded in a timely manner the taxman changed my taxable income to the exact same figure as my gross income on the lohnausweiss. There is now no legal basis to challenge that decision because they sent the letters etc, etc and the case is closed.

I will just have to write it off to experience and be careful which companies I work with in the future. This is not the only problem that I have had with them, but it is the most costly.

It is still much less tax than I would pay in the UK so I can't moan too much. Once again thanks for your replies.
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Old 29.04.2011, 16:06
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Re: Is it worth fighting the tax man?

I had a very similar situation with a management company I was working through here in Zurich in 2008. Im also paying quellensteuer but I made the mistake of trying to do my own tax return that year and in January this year I got a huge bill from the tax man. The management company had made a mistake when deducting my quellensteuer and I had underpaid by about 20%

They sent me a letter last august but I was away for a month and they only give you 20 days to appeal against it. If you dont reply then you have to pay. I couldnt pay the bill in the time they gave me but I went to speak to them and they said I could pay it over 3 or 4 months which was ok.

I would recommend getting an local accountant to do your next tax return even if you are quellensteuer, mine only charges 350 francs and has a very good relationship with my local steueramt. They deal directly with him and Its worth the money to know Im not going to get anymore big surprise bills in the future.
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Old 16.06.2011, 13:23
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Re: Is it worth fighting the tax man?

Sent you PM. A Revision seems possible.
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Old 16.06.2011, 18:30
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Re: Is it worth fighting the tax man?

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Sent you PM. A Revision seems possible.
Really? Tell us about it because Nigel said he talked to the tax man who denied a revision. I'd sure like to hear about your strategy.
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Old 16.06.2011, 19:54
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Re: Is it worth fighting the tax man?

well. it seems possible. not saying he succeeds. this proceeding is called Revision. He stated he has proof that he wasn't in the know of the questions being sent to the wrong adress and was thus hindered to reply timely. And he raised the subject to the taxman in Zurich.
What they refuse to him is the 'Einsprache' and 'Rekurs'. His tax bill 2008 is 'rechtskräftig'. (is the english term in vigor or enforced?). This isn't arguable. But, he has the possibility to file in a Revison for his taxes 2008. It has to happen within 90 days upon the exact date the reason for that additional income tax became apparent. Google for: Rechtsmittel gegen Einkommens- und Vermögenssteuer- veranlagungen
The leaflet is published by Schweizer Steuerkonferenz SSK. If this info is published in English - dunno

What is a bit out in the blue whether the tax authority will grant. Think it depends upon a legal interpretation whether Nigel should haven taken necessary precaution - to have informed the company of his new permanent adress. I don't know how they are going to interpret to whom imcombs responsibility that communication failed.

A Revision is filed in with the cantonal tax authority. In Zurich there are regional divisions. It applies the one that issued the tax assessment 2008.
Form: written Content: states reason for Revision, proof (the facts), and what changes (deductions) are required on the tax assessment in order to be correct.

I hope he can find a person that will accompany the procedure. This is as far as I can get with my English translation attempts. ;-)
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Old 16.06.2011, 20:15
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Re: Is it worth fighting the tax man?

Please advise if the Revision process is successful - it is useful for future users.

From my experience, in situations like this, where the tax authorities have the wrong address and you are too late to appeal, the chances of any successful fight against the taxman (or any other official body) are almost zero.

If you have not heard something for a long time from the tax guys, you can always phone them and ask if everything is in order.
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Old 16.06.2011, 20:16
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Re: Is it worth fighting the tax man?

§ 157 - 159 LS 631.1. http://www2.zhlex.zh.ch/appl/zhlex_r.nsf/0/2500DE26F63DED2FC12577FB0026015B/$file/631.1_8.6.97_71.pdf
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