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Old 02.06.2011, 01:36
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Best time of year to move from UK to CH to simplify tax

Hi,

I'm planning to move from the UK to Switzerland in the next year or so - currently working as an employee for a UK company and going to find another job still as an an employee in Switzerland.
Since I don't have any specific plan for now, I was wondering which time of the year would be the best to move, if there is any, when things would be simpler regarding paying income tax to each of the two countries, so that I could try to make my plans fit into that.

What I want to do in particular is the following:
1) not having to pay the UK 40% income tax on any average Swiss income that I'm likely to get;
2) avoiding any sort of headaches in communicating with the bureaucracies of two different countries together, including asking tax refunds and repaying taxes again.

I would have expected that, if only the UK had a tax year that would make any sense , moving residence and changing job on the switch of the tax year would make things simpler in avoiding to overlap the residence in the two countries within the same tax year...

I'm not sure how to interpret the double taxation agreement in this case... additionally, to complicate things even further, I have the citizenship of another country which is Italy - would I need to apply the UK-CH agreement, or instead the UK-IT plus IT-CH agreements?

Hope I'm not asking a too silly question - but I previously had headaches when moving from Italy to UK in trying to figure out how to deal with a small student job that I did before the move, in trying to read a few lines of the double taxation agreement in hard bureaucratese which were changing their meaning in my head at every read, and the different answers that I was getting at each phone call to the Italian income tax office...

Thanks a lot for your help.
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Old 02.06.2011, 07:36
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Re: Best time of year to move from UK to CH to simplify tax

If you leave the UK for CH, intending to stay for an extended period, then there is a concession where you switch over to the CH tax system on the day of your move. Check www.hmrc.gov.uk for details. There's a form to fill in. The Swiss will only tax you on income accrued since arrival. (Though on your global assets, if you tell them).

For the most part, and in your case, citizenship is irrelevant to taxation. It's residency that matters. I.e. where you live.
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Old 03.06.2011, 00:39
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Re: Best time of year to move from UK to CH to simplify tax

That sounds quite easy and straightforward, thanks NotAllThere.
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Old 03.06.2011, 14:23
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Re: Best time of year to move from UK to CH to simplify tax

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Hi,

I was wondering which time of the year would be the best to move, if there is any, when things would be simpler regarding paying income tax to each of the two countries, so that I could try to make my plans fit into that.

What I want to do in particular is the following:
1) not having to pay the UK 40% income tax on any average Swiss income that I'm likely to get;
2) avoiding any sort of headaches in communicating with the bureaucracies of two different countries together, including asking tax refunds and repaying taxes again.

I would have expected that, if only the UK had a tax year that would make any sense , moving residence and changing job on the switch of the tax year would make things simpler in avoiding to overlap the residence in the two countries within the same tax year...

I'm not sure how to interpret the double taxation agreement in this case... additionally, to complicate things even further, I have the citizenship of another country which is Italy - would I need to apply the UK-CH agreement, or instead the UK-IT plus IT-CH agreements?

Hope I'm not asking a too silly question - but I previously had headaches when moving from Italy to UK in trying to figure out how to deal with a small student job that I did before the move, in trying to read a few lines of the double taxation agreement in hard bureaucratese which were changing their meaning in my head at every read, and the different answers that I was getting at each phone call to the Italian income tax office...

Thanks a lot for your help.

From the UK side, it is oftenbest to move before April 5, in order for you to be UK non-resident for a complete tax year - if you moved on 15 April, you might have to be abroad for two years to qualify as non-resident were you to go back to the UK. However, as long as being abroad for a complete tax year is your intention, HMRC say they generally accept that you're non-resident from the date that you move. (this is

On the other hand, if you move earlier in the UK tax year, I think* you can use a whole year's personal allowances (c. £6k) before any tax is due that year - so you would pay a lower tax rate on that income. The only bureacracy really is to file a P85, from what I remember, then wait a long time for a response from HMRC.

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/incometax/tax-leave-uk.htm

From a Swiss perspective, it might be be best to move early in the (calendar=tax) year, especially if you receive some relocation / temporary accomodation allowances which would be taxable in Switzerland. Because allowances and tax rates are calculated monthly at an annualised rate, there shouldn't* otherwise be much difference from a Swiss perspective. However, if you arrived in December and got free (but taxable) housing benefit in that month, you'd pay a high effective tax rate for that year.

Finally, being Italian should make no difference at all. Technically, it is the UK-CH treaty that would apply, though the actual treatment by HMRC is slightly more generous, as they lose interest once you leave the UK.


* Obviously, get these things confirmed properly instead of relying on random people on EF!
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Old 03.06.2011, 16:40
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Re: Best time of year to move from UK to CH to simplify tax

Don't do it in the winter, it means you have the most stress of trying to change countries in the most miserable season. That's my advice and what I would do differently next time. I've changed countries a number of times and it takes me 6 months to adjust. So give yourself 6 nice months and no the pace by the time it turns colder and wetter (I won't say cold and wet as it is most of the year, but I came from sunny places ). Hope that helps.
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Old 03.06.2011, 16:54
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Re: Best time of year to move from UK to CH to simplify tax

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Don't do it in the winter, it means you have the most stress of trying to change countries in the most miserable season. That's my advice and what I would do differently next time. I've changed countries a number of times and it takes me 6 months to adjust. So give yourself 6 nice months and no the pace by the time it turns colder and wetter (I won't say cold and wet as it is most of the year, but I came from sunny places ). Hope that helps.
Nonsense. Do it in winter and offset the usual relocation stress by experiencing one of the greatest benefits that moving here has to offer - going skiing each weekend.
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Old 03.06.2011, 17:20
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Re: Best time of year to move from UK to CH to simplify tax

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Nonsense. Do it in winter and offset the usual relocation stress by experiencing one of the greatest benefits that moving here has to offer - going skiing each weekend.
We did it in January- coming form the UK. Everything was new and exciting, snow was a welcome change from constant rain. We didn't return to the UK so tax was not a factor in when we moved.
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Old 04.06.2011, 14:21
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Re: Best time of year to move from UK to CH to simplify tax

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On the other hand, if you move earlier in the UK tax year, I think* you can use a whole year's personal allowances (c. £6k) before any tax is due that year - so you would pay a lower tax rate on that income.
That would be quite good, and it seems confirmed by this document http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/cnr/hmrc6.pdf :
6.7 Allowances when coming to or leaving the UK
If you become or if you cease to be resident in the UK during a tax year, you will still be able to claim full allowances and reliefs in the year of your arrival or departure.
The personal allowance is currently £7.5k and will be £8.1k in the next tax year. So, a careful planning of the UK departure at some point around early summer for an average wage should effectively result in not paying any income tax for those months! (just a bit of national insurance)

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From a Swiss perspective, it might be be best to move early in the (calendar=tax) year, especially if you receive some relocation / temporary accomodation allowances which would be taxable in Switzerland. Because allowances and tax rates are calculated monthly at an annualised rate, there shouldn't* otherwise be much difference from a Swiss perspective. However, if you arrived in December and got free (but taxable) housing benefit in that month, you'd pay a high effective tax rate for that year.
This would happen if this relocation/accomodation allowance is a one-off lump sum paid all at once at the beginning? So that just means that, if I start in December with an annual salary of CHF100k plus a relocation allowance of CHF10k, on my December pay of CHF18333 (=CHF8333+CHF10000) I would pay the same percentage of taxes of someone earning CHF220k (=CHF18333*12) per year, right?
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Old 04.06.2011, 14:32
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Re: Best time of year to move from UK to CH to simplify tax

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Don't do it in the winter, it means you have the most stress of trying to change countries in the most miserable season. That's my advice and what I would do differently next time. I've changed countries a number of times and it takes me 6 months to adjust. So give yourself 6 nice months and no the pace by the time it turns colder and wetter (I won't say cold and wet as it is most of the year, but I came from sunny places ). Hope that helps.
Yeah, my intention was to avoid the cold months, I'm not used to the continental cold winters any more. I would also not need to worry too much about needing proper heating and hot water in order to survive when looking for a flat initially (but that's Switzerland not UK, so you usually get those things working properly, right? )
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Old 04.06.2011, 14:37
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Re: Best time of year to move from UK to CH to simplify tax

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Nonsense. Do it in winter and offset the usual relocation stress by experiencing one of the greatest benefits that moving here has to offer - going skiing each weekend.
I'm not quite sure though about starting to try skiing at the venerable age of 30...
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Old 04.06.2011, 14:48
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Re: Best time of year to move from UK to CH to simplify tax

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I'm not quite sure though about starting to try skiing at the venerable age of 30...
Why not? You're never too old to learn.

I started around 26 IIRC and all I say to you is get a private lesson or two.
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Old 04.06.2011, 14:51
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Re: Best time of year to move from UK to CH to simplify tax

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We did it in January- coming form the UK. Everything was new and exciting, snow was a welcome change from constant rain. We didn't return to the UK so tax was not a factor in when we moved.
I suppose that you haven't been in the UK in the last couple of winters or in the Easter before? Not much of a change nowadays
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Old 04.06.2011, 15:02
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Re: Best time of year to move from UK to CH to simplify tax

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That would be quite good, and it seems confirmed by this document http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/cnr/hmrc6.pdf :
6.7 Allowances when coming to or leaving the UK
If you become or if you cease to be resident in the UK during a tax year, you will still be able to claim full allowances and reliefs in the year of your arrival or departure.
The personal allowance is currently £7.5k and will be £8.1k in the next tax year. So, a careful planning of the UK departure at some point around early summer for an average wage should effectively result in not paying any income tax for those months! (just a bit of national insurance)
This source confirms it explicitly:
http://www.aoline.co.uk/uk-expatriat...n-leaving.html
If you time your departure early in the tax year you may be due a refund and can claim tax back.
By leaving early in the tax year, you are still entitled to a full UK personal allowance and this is used against your earnings for that short period. This often results in a tax refund simply because PAYE drip feeds your personal allowance over the whole tax year to calculate your monthly tax due.
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Old 04.06.2011, 15:06
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Re: Best time of year to move from UK to CH to simplify tax

I arrived (London to Basel) in mid January, and hated it here. It really is a misserable time of year unless you like skiing, or have the time and energy to immediately start, and do research into where to go.

I'd recommend coming in April - not for tax reasons (don't think it makes too much difference if you're not planning to return in a hurry) but because April seems to be when this place starts to wake up.

Then by the time winter comes, you'll be read for it.

Edit: Went skiing for the first time ever in February. I'm 40. Didn't break anything! Didn't go very fast or far though ;)

Last edited by adrianlondon; 04.06.2011 at 15:30.
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Old 04.06.2011, 15:17
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Re: Best time of year to move from UK to CH to simplify tax

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Why not? You're never too old to learn.

I started around 26 IIRC and all I say to you is get a private lesson or two.
I was advised by a friend that started skiing around the age of 5 that when you start at that age you fall and roll and just bounce back up, but when you get older you don't bounce so flexibly any more and you might break instead
But I'll definitely keep it in mind and see when I get there.
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Old 04.06.2011, 15:46
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Re: Best time of year to move from UK to CH to simplify tax

I'm too fluffy to help with the tax business - I moved in July last year and my brilliant UK accountant sorted everything with the UK side, employers and free accounting help here with the Swiss side, so have been v lucky.

But from the weather perspective, I would recommend moving in the summer months - Basel was so grey and miserable in January, like adrianlondon said, and you can't be in the mountains all the time. Also, looking for apartments in the summer is best, you'll get a sense of how noisy it is around you with the windows open, kids playing, people out on their balconies etc., and how much light/sun the apartment gets. You'll be able to explore and find your way around in good weather and enjoy all the summer events. Plus it'll be light in the evenings, which when you have no light fittings in your apartment (seriously, bare wires sticking out of the ceiling is normal) is helpful until you can get it fixed.

Skiing - my sister started at 40, I started at 30, dancing at 36, snowboarding and downhill mountain biking at 39 (haven't kept the latter up mind you, bit freaked by first experience on Commonwealth course) - you're a mere kitten!
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Old 04.06.2011, 16:26
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Re: Best time of year to move from UK to CH to simplify tax

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I'm not quite sure though about starting to try skiing at the venerable age of 30...
yeah. i'd be more thinking about booking a retirement home, or something.
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Old 04.06.2011, 16:35
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Re: Best time of year to move from UK to CH to simplify tax

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I'm not quite sure though about starting to try skiing at the venerable age of 30...
I started aged 35, and am now hooked. Each season I see people who must be in their sixties also learning. Many people I know who started when age 5, gave up by the time they were thirties. Thereby missing the most enjoyable age to ski at.
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Old 04.06.2011, 19:00
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I started aged 35, and am now hooked. Each season I see people who must be in their sixties also learning. Many people I know who started when age 5, gave up by the time they were thirties. Thereby missing the most enjoyable age to ski at.
.
My sister started at 58
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Old 06.06.2011, 01:01
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Re: Best time of year to move from UK to CH to simplify tax

Ok, about skiing you convinced me that I'm not that old

My conclusion about the time to move is that basically anytime should be fine from a tax perspective (for a permanent move, and not considering relocation bonuses received at the wrong time).
By moving early in the UK tax year you could spare yourself from all/most of the UK income tax for some months - but this would actually be a false economy since by moving those few months earlier the extra Swiss pay would overwhelm the saved UK tax (especially with the falling pound now at 1.37 ).
So, the best time to move would then mostly depend on the job opportunities, and the weather...

Thanks everybody!
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