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Old 09.09.2011, 02:56
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Tax return requested after Change of Canton

Hello,

I have following situation:

-I live in Switzerland from 2009, but first two years I lived in Zurich, now (in May 2011) I moved to Geneva.
-After registering in canton of Geneva, I have received a bunch of papers (all in French) for filing tax return for years of 2009 and 2010.
-I kind of ignored them from the beginning, because I thought
a) it is not mandatory
b) I should be given some time for submitting the forms and I can look at them later

But now I have received a reminder letter, "inviting" me to file the forms in 10 days. It was in French (I translated it with Google translate, so some details might be missed).

So, I am a bit confused.
Why would canton of Geneva ask me to file the tax return for years I have not lived in Geneva ?

During my stay in Zurich, I was a student, working part-time and the tax was deduced from my monthly salary. I was not asked to file any tax return while I was in Zurich (and the amount of money I earned was too small).

Here is what I have got in a reminder letter
"Nous constatons en date du 19 aout 2011, que vous ne nous avez toujours pas fait parvenir la formule de declaration pour l'import communal, cantonal et federal direct.

Nous supposons qu'il s'agit la d'un oubli de votre part et vous invitons a y remedier dans les 10 jours en nous retournant ladite formule remplie, datee, signee et accompagnee des pieces justificaives requises."

Did anyone have similar experience ?

Thanks in advance for any help.

PS: In the field "Address as of 2009/2010" my current address in Geneva is printed.

Last edited by Tehhimora; 09.09.2011 at 03:22.
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Old 09.09.2011, 04:32
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Re: Tax return requested after Change of Canton

I don't know. But it sounds quite easy to me.

You need to write them and tell them that you only lived in Geneva from x date and that you were living in Zurich on the dates they require. Add any justification you have, ie, your permit, old leases, salary slips or whatever you think will prove what you say.

I mean, start there, with the most obvious thing, and then see what they say.

Just because you don't know what the papers say doesn't mean you can put your head in the sand and ignore it.

If you can't write in French write the letter in english and ask or hire someone to translate it for you.
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Old 09.09.2011, 10:52
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Re: Tax return requested after Change of Canton

You need to go to the tax office and ask them why. Take your tax papers from Zurich with you.

I suspect you have not made any tax returns for 3 years and Geneva (Not the brightest of cantons) has decided you are escaping the tax regime.

You cannot ignore these letters!

My ex-wife did when she was receiving social security, and refused to complete the forms they sent. The Bern authorities decided she was earning an average salary and sent her a tax bill, which she didn't pay. Then they sent her a fine. This was repeated the following year. She didn't pay anything and now she cannot return to see her children, as she owes Switzerland CHF 11'000 for two years theoretical taxes on income she never received!
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Old 09.09.2011, 11:23
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Re: Tax return requested after Change of Canton

Thanks all for replies.
I did not completely ignore these letters, I just thought I would have more time for filling such serious and tedious papers. 1 month is very short notice time. (What if I would be on vacation for the whole month when I got the letter ?).
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Old 09.09.2011, 11:32
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Re: Tax return requested after Change of Canton

Go and ask them. When they see your papers from Zurich, they will probably say they don't need the declarations.

Geneva always makes things bureaucratically difficult, maybe because they are close to France.

When I left Geneva I had to visit the tax office for a signature. The guy moaned like hell that he had to do my tax bill for the past 2 months immediately. I said well just sign this paper and I will go away. He did, and I left.
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Old 09.09.2011, 11:47
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Re: Tax return requested after Change of Canton

Good advice already given, just 1 thing to add:

I know it sounds patronising but: Never "just ignore" official communication from tax authorities. They may be in the wrong, but doing nothing sets you potentially back a few steps that cannot be repaired later on should things really go wrong.

In my experience it is comparatively easy to approach the tax authorities here.

ok, I'll get off me high horse now, (now where's that ladder)
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Old 09.09.2011, 16:39
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Re: Tax return requested after Change of Canton

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Thanks all for replies.
I did not completely ignore these letters, I just thought I would have more time for filling such serious and tedious papers. 1 month is very short notice time. (What if I would be on vacation for the whole month when I got the letter ?).
Then you write them and say "I'll be on holiday from x through x and thus need an extension until x. Thank you."

Anyway, since you didn't live in GE at the time they are requesting you fill tax forms for you only need write a letter or make a phone call asking them if they are crazy or what. Ok, don't use that exact phrase. LOL. Then let us know what happens. No tedious forms just yet.

Good luck!
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Old 10.09.2011, 01:46
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Re: Tax return requested after Change of Canton

That was my mistake certainly
When I was filling the form for the residence permit in Geneva, there probably was a field about arrival date and I probably thought it was arrival date to Switzerland and therefore put my arrival date to Zurich in 2009.
So, I was registered as arrived in 2009.

Now I have to go to the migration office, proof that I moved to Geneva only in May 2011 and make a new residence card. But tax people did not want to extend the deadline. They won't change anything until I get the official documents from the migration office

At least now is clear why they have requested the tax return but remains just one question.
It appears that it was absolutely fine for the migration office that I have arrived in 2009 and first time registering in Geneva only in 2011. Did they think I was an illegal immigrant during all these years ?

It is certainly my fault, I admit it, but people from immigration office, dealing with my papers ,could notice it and ask for corrections. Or they should have named the field as "arrival to Geneva". Then I would not mess the dates up.
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Old 10.09.2011, 02:47
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Re: Tax return requested after Change of Canton

I would just send the tax people a registered letter stating what you said here and tell them that you are working on fixing your permit with the migrations office. I wouldn't worry too much. It will all get fixed in the end, even if it takes some work.

Good luck!
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