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Old 24.06.2012, 10:32
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Tax authorities are demanding I pay them

Hi Guys and Girls,

I am new to this forum so hello all. As I am not sure where to place this message I will post it here.

The tax authorities of Zurich are demanding that I pay them 9000CHF when in fact my tax return shows 2500CHF in my favour, verified by tax accountant.

Their reasoning is this. Although I have sent my tax return to them, they claim that they did not receive it. They have since told my accountant whom I gave 'power of attorney' that they have sent me a registered letter with the initial calculation with 30 days in which to react and get it reviewed. I have never picked up such a letter from the post office and they have also said that subsequent reminders have been posted. It is the fact that they said I had 30 days to react is the sticking point.

It is a totally unfair amount as I have only worked for 6 months of that year(2010) in Switzerland and am being taxed for the full year. On top of that my contract in Switzerland has just ended.

Can anyone please help me to sort this out.
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Old 24.06.2012, 10:36
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Re: Tax authorities are demanding I pay them

Hello and welcome to the English Forum.

Sounds like your 'advisor' and you ought to arrange a visit to the tax office. When things get a bit ropey with your accountant I'd start being a bit suspicious.
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Old 24.06.2012, 10:46
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Re: Tax authorities are demanding I pay them

Thank you for this. I was peeved with my original accountant and I got a new accountant highly recommended by a friend. She called the tax authorities also and was told by the same lady that I would have to pay the 9000CHF.

My accountant told me that the lady at the tax authority said that several reminders and I failed to react and told me that she was really 'Angry'. It just does not seem legal that they can just create a figure and then make me pay it based on me not objecting to letters that I have not seen and because this lady is 'Angry'.
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Old 24.06.2012, 10:52
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Re: Tax authorities are demanding I pay them

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Thank you for this. I was peeved with my original accountant and I got a new accountant highly recommended by a friend. She called the tax authorities also and was told by the same lady that I would have to pay the 9000CHF.

My accountant told me that the lady at the tax authority said that several reminders and I failed to react and told me that she was really 'Angry'. It just does not seem legal that they can just create a figure and then make me pay it based on me not objecting to letters that I have not seen and because this lady is 'Angry'.
Swiss law works by appealing the decision within 30 days, nobody is angry except you!

By working 6 months they are probably grossing up yearly income & deviding the tax by 2, which would be far more than just 6 months income declaired over a 12 month period.

I suspect the tax liability is way less than it would have been in Germany or the UK......
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Old 24.06.2012, 10:55
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Re: Tax authorities are demanding I pay them

The tax liability being much lower than the US or UK is irrelevant here. Please refrain from posting unhelpful posts.
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Old 24.06.2012, 10:59
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Re: Tax authorities are demanding I pay them

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The tax liability being much lower than the US or UK is irrelevant here. Please refrain from posting unhelpful posts.
That won't help you get help from people in here...
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Old 24.06.2012, 11:02
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Re: Tax authorities are demanding I pay them

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The tax liability being much lower than the US or UK is irrelevant here. Please refrain from posting unhelpful posts.
In the UK or US they would have not grossed up the earnings to be 'fair'. I will remember not to bother to answer any more tax questions you have in the future.
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Old 24.06.2012, 11:02
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Re: Tax authorities are demanding I pay them

I do not want this to be a tit for tat thread. This is a serious thing and this tax bill has come at a time when I have been made redundant and I have a wife and child to support. If there is no support here then so be it, I will look elsewhere.
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Old 24.06.2012, 11:05
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Re: Tax authorities are demanding I pay them

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I do not want this to be a tit for tat thread. This is a serious thing and this tax bill has come at a time when I have been made redundant and I have a wife and child to support. If there is no support here then so be it, I will look elsewhere.
You will get 80% of your earnings upto 10500 a month for 400 days if you have been working since 2010. Sounds like your salary is way higher than the majority of people here.

Your out of time to appeal, however I doubt the demand was sent registered post, if the claim it was investigate if it was ever signed for......
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Old 24.06.2012, 11:10
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Re: Tax authorities are demanding I pay them

Get in contact with the official mediator of the Canton:
http://www.ombudsmann.zh.ch
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Old 24.06.2012, 11:30
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Re: Tax authorities are demanding I pay them

Thank you very much for this prof. taratonga.

I just read this post

Are the Swiss Ombudsman to be trusted?

This scares me. I might as well go myself to the tax authority.
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Old 24.06.2012, 11:41
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Re: Tax authorities are demanding I pay them

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You will get 80% of your earnings upto 10500 a month for 400 days if you have been working since 2010. Sounds like your salary is way higher than the majority of people here.

Your out of time to appeal, however I doubt the demand was sent registered post, if the claim it was investigate if it was ever signed for......
There was a demand that I have been told to be sent but this was registered and never signed for.
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Old 24.06.2012, 11:42
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Re: Tax authorities are demanding I pay them

Just to clarify, if you earn 80k in 6 months, your tax is not calculated as if you earn 80k in a year, but half the tay payable as if you had earnt 160k in a year. I suspect this is why you thought you were due a 2.5k refund when the tax office wants more money. Even without a return, unless your travel costs were huge , the tax office assumptions are likely to be close to reality.

I have never received tax demands by registered post, someone is bluffing here-
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Old 24.06.2012, 11:43
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Re: Tax authorities are demanding I pay them

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I might as well go myself to the tax authority.
This might actually be your best next step.

I have found that the tax authorities are quite friendly and helpful when you deal with them face to face.

What I would do is arrange a meeting with the person in the tax office responsible for your file. Bring along your accountant. Be friendly, positive, non-accusatory - set the tone that you wish to understand where the difference lies. If your German is good enough, conduct the meeting auf Deutsch. If not, appologize for your lack of language skills in the best German you can muster, and have your accountant translate. Again, set the tone.

Do NOT go in guns a-blazing, that will only result in digging-in of heels.

Negotiate.

Often the right approach clears up problems quickly.

Good luck.
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Old 24.06.2012, 11:43
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Re: Tax authorities are demanding I pay them

If they tell you that they have send you registered letters they should have proof that you received it as you will have to subscribe when you receive it.

You should also have a copy of your tax return with the dates on it.

The question is;
Why didn't you personally never receive any of these letters? You received the invoice so they know your actual address.

And going directly to them to sort it our is ok. I had very pleasant contact once I went to the Steueramt. If you really did nothing wrong you should have enough proof that you send the tax return and didn't receive their letters. If it doesn't work out, go to the ombudsmann and make sure you bring all relevant paperwork.

If they send a "Betreibung" you can reject it (Rechtsvorschlag) and they will have to go to court.
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Old 24.06.2012, 11:45
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Re: Tax authorities are demanding I pay them

It's unclear from your post what the underlying problem is. What tax period is the bill related to ? Did you pay tax at source (Quellensteuer) - did your employer forward your tax payments properly. Do you have all your paperwork in order ?

I recently got 'adjustment' notifications like you, and they were not 'registered' post - sounds like someone misplaced the mail - and we received the information twice - once a preliminary notice, once an actual declaration, and then finally after the 30 day period had expired, the actual bill.

What postal address does the tax office have ? Is it possible it went to your tax agent instead - did you give your 'accountant' this responsibility ?

Whether you are now redundant and unemployed now is irrelevant to last year's tax return, although you can always ask for a payment plan...

As for 'proving' you submitted your tax return, I took a copy of all our documents and then sent the tax office theirs by registered post - if only to have evidence of the date it was submitted...
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Old 24.06.2012, 11:47
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Re: Tax authorities are demanding I pay them

PS. I also went personally with my husband to the tax office in Zurich, unannounced. The front desk were able to summon assistance from within the bowels of that big building, who could answer our questions, clearly and concisely, and certainly of all the beaurocracies, theirs is the one that doesn't want to make mistakes and have arguments with anyone.
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Old 24.06.2012, 12:21
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Re: Tax authorities are demanding I pay them

First of all welcome to the forum!

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The tax authorities of Zurich are demanding that I pay them 9000CHF when in fact my tax return shows 2500CHF in my favour, verified by tax accountant.
Assuming you are an IT contractor, working in Zurich for 6 months, I find it hard to see how any tax accountant would come up with a calculation that results in a tax refund of 2.5K! A professional paying 9K for six months sounds not at all unreasonable, so before going any further I would suggest that you get the calculation explained to you and perhaps verified by someone else...

In 23 years dealing with the tax authorities for both corporate and personal taxes, I have never received a registered letter and I have been in arrears, return outstanding etc... at different times. So I'm not sure that you are getting the full story from your tax accountant here...

I've had countless dealings with the tax people over the years and I have always found them to be reasonable and helpful, so as someone else suggested direct contact might not be a bad way to go... however be as reasonable as possible with them, as if you really do owe this money then it sounds like you will need to negotiate a repayment plan with them...

Good luck,

Jim2007
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Old 24.06.2012, 12:32
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Re: Tax authorities are demanding I pay them

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PS. I also went personally with my husband to the tax office in Zurich, unannounced. The front desk were able to summon assistance from within the bowels of that big building, who could answer our questions, clearly and concisely, and certainly of all the beaurocracies, theirs is the one that doesn't want to make mistakes and have arguments with anyone.
I always go unannounced & find they will speak in English, it's really very simple.

I don't get the registered post thing, we have not heard the full story.
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Old 24.06.2012, 12:38
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Re: Tax authorities are demanding I pay them

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There was a demand that I have been told to be sent but this was registered and never signed for.

An important technicality: When you get registered mail, you either get it directly from the postman (signing it) or you get an invitation to go and get it at the post office (smallish/yellowish slip of paper) within a few days. If you fail to get it within that time period, it still counts as received even if you didn't sign it.
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