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Old 26.07.2012, 14:12
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Re: US IRS helps itself to Swiss income

You make it sound as if US citizens are paying double tax, and as if taxes are the only issue in which one would decide to come to Switzerland to work. Neither of which is true.

Yes, we pay higher taxes. If I were required to pay 30% tax in the US and already paid 10% tax here in Switzerland, then I have only to pay the remaining 20% to the US. Is it fair? No, not really. But as someone who spent most of my life living there, still has all my family there and will most likely one day return there, those taxes are my responsibility. If I don't like it, then yes, I am free to renounce my citizenship and become Swiss when I am allowed to apply for a passport here.

With the exception of a few large cities the difference in salary still makes it attractive for US workers to come here when they are offered decent packages. Hell, the 4 weeks vacation alone is enough to attract half of the US population!

And as already stated, if you have never set foot in the US and don't like the responsibilities that go along with having a passport from there, why bother holding onto it?
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Old 26.07.2012, 14:12
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Re: US IRS helps itself to Swiss income

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And many more used Switzerland as a safe tax haven to hide assets.

I do see your points, and I agree issues need to be raised but it was all going so well until that guy from UBS shopped everyone.

My point is, the US had every right to tax it's citizens how it sees fit. It's aggressive, yes, but you have a choice.
Some don't. Not me luckily as I'm seriously considering renouncing, but not every US citizen is a dual national who can fall back on the second citizenship. If you give up US without that you're effectively "stateless" with no access to passports, etc.

And yes, the Swiss govement is aware of it and essentially agreed to it, although I think they're now trying to mitagate it somewhat.

Also be aware that it isn't just Switzerland it's affecting. Similar agreements are in place in UK and quite a lot of other European countries regarding US citizens and these countries are eyeing up applying the same sort of tax rule to their own citizens wherever they live.
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Old 26.07.2012, 14:18
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Re: US IRS helps itself to Swiss income

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I stand by my statement. I know of several cases where 'American expats' are recruited here from countries other than the US.
The US taxes anyone designated as 'US person' WORLDWIDE. The thousands of francs that a US person has to hand over to the IRS is less money available for the Swiss economy. Therefore indirectly there is less money available to EVERYONE working and living here.

I can't imagine that would really make much of a difference to be honest. People will still have to eat, pay rent, health insurance etc. What they will cut back on, if anything, would be luxuries, such as foreign holidays, or trips back to the US to visit family, the latest MacBook etc .
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Old 26.07.2012, 14:22
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Re: US IRS helps itself to Swiss income

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You make it sound as if US citizens are paying double tax, and as if taxes are the only issue in which one would decide to come to Switzerland to work. Neither of which is true.

Yes, we pay higher taxes. If I were required to pay 30% tax in the US and already paid 10% tax here in Switzerland, then I have only to pay the remaining 20% to the US.
I beg to differ. Your analogy could be correct theoretically if the US/Swiss tax codes were the same. This is not the case. Americans living here pay DOUBLE tax in areas where there are differences in the tax code. One example is 2nd pillar pension contributions. You pay the US tax now and then again to Switzerland when you withdraw it. Same thing with 3a accounts. I could go on, I.e., you can't use your television or dog tax for your US tax credit...
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Old 26.07.2012, 14:44
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Re: US IRS helps itself to Swiss income

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I could go on, I.e., you can't use your television or dog tax for your US tax credit...
And you really believe that these things are enough for an US citizen to up and leave CH, or to turn down good employment opportunities?

Each country has its own tax burdens. If I enjoy making the salary I make, and the lifestyle I live here then I am willing to pay a (albeit stupid) television tax. If I don't agree with it, I am free to leave at any time.

Most people would feel lucky to have a second or even third pillar pension. There is a large majority of US citizens that are required to TRY to live off of their state pensions only. I think they would be happy to pay the extra taxes if it meant they didn't have to try to live off of $1000 a month.
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Old 26.07.2012, 14:59
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Re: US IRS helps itself to Swiss income

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And you really believe that these things are enough for an US citizen to up and leave CH, or to turn down good employment opportunities?

Each country has its own tax burdens. If I enjoy making the salary I make, and the lifestyle I live here then I am willing to pay a (albeit stupid) television tax. If I don't agree with it, I am free to leave at any time.

Most people would feel lucky to have a second or even third pillar pension. There is a large majority of US citizens that are required to TRY to live off of their state pensions only. I think they would be happy to pay the extra taxes if it meant they didn't have to try to live off of $1000 a month.
I haven't taken a poll so I can't say what criteria tax plays in an American's decision to take on an employment opportunity here or not. Increased taxation does make an American overall more expensive than a citizens of any other country. I also agree with your other points and I am more than happy to pay taxes here where I live and work even a television tax. I'm getting less commercials than in America ! What I'm contesting is the insane US additional citizenship based taxation. And it isn't only the taxes, but the whole compliance issue. Do you realize if you make a mistake on a FBAR or FACTA form you can get fined USD 50'000. Do you know that if you have a signing authority in the company where you work you have to report the company's finances to the IRS. If you go on a joint venture, as an American you have to report everything as well?
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  #27  
Old 26.07.2012, 15:16
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Re: US IRS helps itself to Swiss income

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A bit of a misleading OP - or at least, it confused me in the beginning.

The people who have "never set foot in America" are not likely to be getting the tax deductions here that apply to temporary expat workers.
Depends on if they are also American and Irish for example and coming here for the first time.
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Old 26.07.2012, 15:19
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Re: US IRS helps itself to Swiss income

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Also be aware that it isn't just Switzerland it's affecting. Similar agreements are in place in UK and quite a lot of other European countries regarding US citizens and these countries are eyeing up applying the same sort of tax rule to their own citizens wherever they live.
Well France has floated the idea for discussion, but who else in this 'quite a lot'?
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Old 26.07.2012, 15:19
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Re: US IRS helps itself to Swiss income

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I stand by my statement. I know of several cases where 'American expats' are recruited here from countries other than the US.
The US taxes anyone designated as 'US person' WORLDWIDE. The thousands of francs that a US person has to hand over to the IRS is less money available for the Swiss economy. Therefore indirectly there is less money available to EVERYONE working and living here.
No one is forcing the Americans to leave the USA. I don't mind if Americans stay at home. Switzerland can meet its labour needs from the 30 EU/EEA countries that surround it and generally already have employment authorization to work in Switzerland as a result of the CH-EU bilaterals which extends to the EEA.
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Old 26.07.2012, 15:21
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Re: US IRS helps itself to Swiss income

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I haven't taken a poll so I can't say what criteria tax plays in an American's decision to take on an employment opportunity here or not. Increased taxation does make an American overall more expensive than a citizens of any other country. I also agree with your other points and I am more than happy to pay taxes here where I live and work even a television tax. I'm getting less commercials than in America ! What I'm contesting is the insane US additional citizenship based taxation. And it isn't only the taxes, but the whole compliance issue. Do you realize if you make a mistake on a FBAR or FACTA form you can get fined USD 50'000. Do you know that if you have a signing authority in the company where you work you have to report the company's finances to the IRS. If you go on a joint venture, as an American you have to report everything as well?
Cry a river to your congressperson or senator. Is that dual signing authority or single signing authority. Sarbanes-Oxley and Basel2/3 have brought in similar compliance requirements. If you have problem with dual citizenship and it's implications, renounce the problematic one. The time period you're no longer affected can start to run then sooner rather than later. Otherwise, be patriotic! Remember as Pres. Bush said in Congress "either you're with us or against us"

Last edited by magyir; 26.07.2012 at 15:26. Reason: Context
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  #31  
Old 26.07.2012, 15:23
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Re: US IRS helps itself to Swiss income

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Well France has floated the idea for discussion, but who else in this 'quite a lot'?
Also the 60 years of. Age retirement etc. let's see how much gets done when France and Germany lose their AAA status.
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Old 26.07.2012, 15:33
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Re: US IRS helps itself to Swiss income

Possibly a bit off topic but the Brits are changing the rules a bit, but essentially if you work here you will not usually pay extra taxes to britgov inc.

http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/d/cond...or_summary.pdf

There are of course exceptions. check section 2.11ff for a summary.
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  #33  
Old 26.07.2012, 16:00
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Re: US IRS helps itself to Swiss income

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13) The US is making it increasingly diffcult to renounce. Wait over a year for an appointment, handover 15% of all assets(above a certain threashold) etc. One person I know can't afford it because she would have to sell her property to pay this.
The governments need to be made aware that extraterriortial taxation is not in anyone's interest, or at least by anyone that has a sense of fairness. Most Americans abroad are hard-working, proud of their country and want to promote it but this is being made increasingly difficult.
I feel a link to first world problems coming on.

They can afford it, they chose not to. You want a US passport you pay for it, is it really that hard to understand??
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  #34  
Old 26.07.2012, 16:15
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Re: US IRS helps itself to Swiss income

And let's not forget the effect it's having on getting/holding on to a bank account. This from a Forbes article:



From an American with a spouse working in Germany – “…when he went to create an account, he discovered that the bond fund could not be sold to US citizens.”
  • o From a non-profit group operating in Europe – “…we received notification from [bank redacted] that they were terminating our account.”
  • o From an American working in Switzerland – “I’m in the process of having my…accounts with [bank redacted] forced closed, except for the mortgage. I’ve been unable to open an account with any other Swiss bank.”
  • o From an American living in Belgium – “…my portfolio of investments held at their bank was blocked. …He advised me that as of that date, I could no longer trade, but could only hold, sell or transfer my portfolio. I was banned from trading in either US stocks or all others.”
  • o From a retired teacher in Germany – “I was denied the policy because I am an American citizen. My agent very clearly said that he could sell the policy that I wanted to any other nationality, except me-because I was American!”
  • o From an American working in Saudi Arabia – “As a resident of Saudi Arabia, I have twice been rejected as a customer, purely on the basis of my US citizenship. In both instances, I was told that increased administrative and compliance burdens imposed by US authorities have led the banks in question to refuse to open securities accounts for American citizens.”
  • o From an American in Japan – “All of these banks and institutions are cutting me off from participation in any but the most simple of basic bank account. Why? Because they do not want to take the time and instill the systems and carry the cost of reporting the income of each of their US citizen clients to the US government.”
  • o From an American married to a European – “I have been unable to gain legal advice in Switzerland regarding US Wills and Guardianships because [bank redacted] lawyers are ‘not permitted to speak to Americans about legal, tax or banking matters in specific terms.’”
  • o From an American married to a European – “The company who has been holding my modest UK share portfolio wrote to me in September 2010 saying they were closing my account. They were removing all US persons from their client base due to the increased reporting and audit costs placed on them by the Fatca legislation.”
  • o From an American in Europe with a foreign spouse – “They sent me a letter saying: Our records show that you are an American citizen. Because of various strict new American rules regarding securities accounts held by American shareholders, we are closing such accounts including yours.”
  • o From an American assigned overseas by his company – “I was extremely surprised and outraged by the fact that not one bank (including foreign branches of US banks!) would allow me to open a simple savings account to pay my rent and bills. All of the banks cited my US citizenship and the difficulties they experience with the US government.”
  • o From an American in Spain – “I have been forced to close a U.S. bank account due to being an overseas citizen and cannot open new bank or brokerage accounts in the U.S. I am also being denied the opening of new brokerage accounts in Spain.”
Countries entered into agreements with US so far re tax compliance are UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Switzerland and Japan. There may be more, but those are the ones I found on a quick Google search. Given the state of their economies is there any doubt that they will be looking to implement something similar to fill their empty coffers?
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Old 26.07.2012, 16:30
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Re: US IRS helps itself to Swiss income

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I feel a link to first world problems coming on.

They can afford it, they chose not to. You want a US passport you pay for it, is it really that hard to understand??
Not all of us want it, smartass. But as already pointed out, some of us simply don't have a choice in renouncing (as we lack a second passport), and are burdened with an extra 5 or 10% of our salary going to fund Uncle Sam's latest military adventure. Who knows, maybe your country will be the next lucky winner.

Jordan, you pointed out that the American government can tax its citizens as it likes, but that's a bit like saying the Sudanese can treat their citizens however they like, or that Saudia Arabian women aren't allowed in public without a leash being held by their men, it's none of our business (obviously nowhere near that scale, before anyone jumps down my throat). We have an ethical obligation to support what is right for people everywhere - and with M. Socialist proposing the same next door, how long before the budget-concious British government starts looking into it as an option?

For all that I'm up in arms over the concept though, I'm not sure it has quite the local economic impact that is implied. Sure, that money would in many cases be spent locally - but in many other cases, the expats are on temporary assignment abroad and would simply save that money to rock their retirement fund when they get home. So I'm not convinced that it is a huge enough drain to concern other governments.
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  #36  
Old 26.07.2012, 16:36
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Re: US IRS helps itself to Swiss income

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I feel a link to first world problems coming on.

They can afford it, they chose not to. You want a US passport you pay for it, is it really that hard to understand??
Yes, it is. The only other country who taxes its citizens worldwide is Eritera I believe. And the hypocritical US has admonished them for doing so.

Do you expect to pay taxes to the UK if you don't have anything to do with the country anymore except happen to have dual nationality with another country. I hold both and do file taxes in the UK but only because of being a director of a dormant company there. If I wasn't I wouldn't expect or need to. Yet, apart from holding a US passport, I haven't worked or lived there since 1969 and they still expect me to pay tax!
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Old 26.07.2012, 16:47
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Re: US IRS helps itself to Swiss income

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For all that I'm up in arms over the concept though, I'm not sure it has quite the local economic impact that is implied. Sure, that money would in many cases be spent locally - but in many other cases, the expats are on temporary assignment abroad and would simply save that money to rock their retirement fund when they get home. So I'm not convinced that it is a huge enough drain to concern other governments.
If I'm not mistaken its about 5 Billion which isn't large compared to the entire US budget but 2 points:
1) Due to the foreign tax credits allowed, the double taxation hits the countries with low income tax harder. This includes Switzerland, the Gulf countries, etc.
I.e., the less income tax in country of residence, the more to the US
This is not fair as we have in addition a national VAT which the US doesn't have. Because of the large number of high qualified US expats here, I think there is a cost to the Swiss economy.
2) The US has gradually increased the taxes for overseas residents already(i.e., stacking taxation concept) and this could get worse. Eliminate of the Foreign Exclusion has already been proposed in the US Congress.
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Old 26.07.2012, 16:52
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Re: US IRS helps itself to Swiss income

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Not all of us want it, smartass. But as already pointed out, some of us simply don't have a choice in renouncing (as we lack a second passport), and are burdened with an extra 5 or 10% of our salary going to fund Uncle Sam's latest military adventure. Who knows, maybe your country will be the next lucky winner.
attack your motherland, never

My point is, you know the score, yet you still work abroad, there is a reason for that (better lifestyle? more money? less americans?) you make your choices and pay for them

as for the uk gov, lol, they don't know who is there, who isn't and can't collect tax properly from the people who want to pay it,so I wouldn't be losing any sleep on them finding me here
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Old 26.07.2012, 17:04
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Re: US IRS helps itself to Swiss income

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Some don't. Not me luckily as I'm seriously considering renouncing, but not every US citizen is a dual national who can fall back on the second citizenship. If you give up US without that you're effectively "stateless" with no access to passports, etc.

And yes, the Swiss govement is aware of it and essentially agreed to it, although I think they're now trying to mitagate it somewhat.

Also be aware that it isn't just Switzerland it's affecting. Similar agreements are in place in UK and quite a lot of other European countries regarding US citizens and these countries are eyeing up applying the same sort of tax rule to their own citizens wherever they live.
I am all to aware, I have to live and breath this stuff.

UK system somewhat works, with the whole arising vs remittance basis.

I have to agree with BigBlue on something, many come here for a reason and that reason is they are better off.

Better pension, just have to pay the tax upfront, not deferred

Better equity

Better lifestyle

Etc

Some are just surprised when they sell their US home, stop paying state taxes, that they no longer benefit from itemized deductions, fall into Standard deduction, this increasing their taxable income further without seeing any real additional cash in their pocket right now.
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Old 26.07.2012, 17:05
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Re: US IRS helps itself to Swiss income

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Actually, after a certain income, there isn't much difference in your net pay between Zurich and NYC.
Really? what level is that then?

I lived in NY and now Zug ( I know not Zurich) but theres a big difference in taxes. Im just curious at what point Zurich taxes would match Fed plus NY state plus NY city. Because if I hit that level I would really move to a lower tax canton.

(PS IM not trying to be a know it all smart ass I would be curious as to where the break even is)
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