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Old 21.08.2012, 13:54
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Working in Switzerland, Living in Italy (20km frontier zone question).

Hello,

My wife and i are looking to move to the Lugano area later this year due to her new job (which is on the Swiss side). We are looking online at housing costs and notice it appears to be cheaper to live on the italian side and commute in, thankfully her job is based only a few km inside Switzerland so it appears that living in either country is a real option.

We understand** that it is possible to live in Italy, within 20 KM of the Swiss border, and work in Switzerland, commuting every day, and pay only Swiss income tax. Grateful if anyone could please confirm;

1. is our understanding stated above correct ?
2. is it 20km as the crow flies from the official border or some other definition? (distance via road etc)
3. We understand this (working in Switzerland and living in Italy within 20km of the border) would mean we would not pay italian social security and therefore not be entitled to Italian healthcare etc. We have been advised that on the downside, we would would have to have our own private medical policy covering both countries (which we are told is very expensive). Also, that tax on capital gains on share/stock sales require some sort of payment to both countries.
4. What are the financial disadvantages other than those mentioned in point 3?
5. Any other thoughts please or things to consider?


Thank you sincerely,

Sam


** - http://www.europarl.europa.eu/workin..._en.htm#Annex2
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Old 21.08.2012, 14:30
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Re: Working in Switzerland, Living in Italy (20km frontier zone question).

You can if you are an EU national. If you are non-EU it's unlikely.
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Old 21.08.2012, 14:34
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Re: Working in Switzerland, Living in Italy (20km frontier zone question).

Thankyou miniMia,

My wife is indeed an EU national and the employment question refers to her, so I believe this scenario applies. Would you know of anyone in the same situation and what they decided to do?

The benefits/problems associated do not appear to be well documented online (at least in english).

Best regards,

Sam
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Old 21.08.2012, 14:40
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Re: Working in Switzerland, Living in Italy (20km frontier zone question).

If she is an EU citizen, it's no problem. However you might have a problem finding work in Switzerland.

The benefits/problems depends on many many things not just how much rents are across the border.
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Old 21.08.2012, 14:48
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Re: Working in Switzerland, Living in Italy (20km frontier zone question).

miniMia,

Your second sentence is the focus of my post. Would you be kind enough to expand on it?

We know very little about the factors that deserve consideration in this situation, and we are due to fly for our "look see visit" next week to begin arrangements for housing etc. This trip would be more efficient if we knew ahead of time if cross-border commuting within the frontier zone is beneficial financially.

Thankyou,

Sam
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Old 21.08.2012, 14:52
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Re: Working in Switzerland, Living in Italy (20km frontier zone question).

I don't see any problem on the job finding side (depend upon personal skills, however one could even say that commuters find jobs more easily than Swiss residents),

rather on CHF/EUR exchange rates, housing market in Italy and even more important, traffic issues.

If one likes to get up in Italy every morning at 5 a.m. to be at work at 8 something, no big deal.
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Old 21.08.2012, 14:57
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Re: Working in Switzerland, Living in Italy (20km frontier zone question).

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... if we knew ahead of time if cross-border commuting within the frontier zone is beneficial financially.
...
It probably is if you plan to buy a house in Italy and/or if the CHF/EUR rate keeps on being at 1.20.
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Old 21.08.2012, 15:14
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Re: Working in Switzerland, Living in Italy (20km frontier zone question).

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miniMia,

Your second sentence is the focus of my post. Would you be kind enough to expand on it?

We know very little about the factors that deserve consideration in this situation, and we are due to fly for our "look see visit" next week to begin arrangements for housing etc. This trip would be more efficient if we knew ahead of time if cross-border commuting within the frontier zone is beneficial financially.
If you are non-EU you'll have to look into if you can actually get a G permit to work in Switzerland. I'm not sure it's that straightforward. But it may be no problem because of your wife's status. You should look into this. If you are not looking to work then it's a non-issue.

When living over the border you need to think of taxes, unemployment insurance, health insurance, pensions, if you want to buy a home Italy can be a mine field. That's what I can think of off the cuff.

There are lots of threads on here that will help you. Just be aware that each border country has a slightly different set up with Switzerland so what someone says about living near Geneva will be a bit different to you living in Italy. Start by checking here and see what you come up with.
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Old 21.08.2012, 15:28
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Re: Working in Switzerland, Living in Italy (20km frontier zone question).

Sam, as you are non-EU and may want to do some business, I would go for Switzerland personally, if commuting is OK there are lots of nice villages in Tessin to check out, this will save a fortune in rent too. Otherwise everything will get more complicated. I think furnished/serviced apartments are a great idea when first coming over. This gives you a few weekends to explore both countries.
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Old 21.08.2012, 15:55
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Re: Working in Switzerland, Living in Italy (20km frontier zone question).

Bucentaure:
The exchange rate is certainly an area of interest, if the other shoe ever drops regarding the breakup of the eurozone, it is likely to make rental/purchase costs of italian property more attractive on paper.

The idea of a three hour commute is certainly not palatable, though I struggle to imagine that ever arising, as Lugano is very close to the border, and the frontier zone dictates that we must be within 20km in Italy - Is crossing the swiss border inordinately time consuming?

miniMia:
I am currently studying online, and plan to be a stay at home parent in the not-too-distant future, so work permits are not of immediate concern. That said, due to my wife's EU status, I can work without obstruction in EU countries, so living across the border may actually benefit me here.

Taxes is an area I do not yet understand, but as per my OP, currently assume that my wife would only pay swiss tax on her income if living inside the 20km frontier zone.

p42:
As above, I am not looking to work in the foreseeable future, and as my wife is "EU" I don't believe Tessin offers an advantage to me if I did decide to look for work.

I appreciate you suggestion to consider villages, and serviced apartments on arrival. The first three months of the contract are paid for by the company and this may very well be a good choice to give us time to explore the area.

The inclination to explore cross border commuting has in part been prompted by the assumptions that day-to-day living costs will be lower across the border (eating out, shopping etc) and the lower cost of rental properties when looking online. To achieve these things while still paying swiss income tax seemed like a good combination - but curiously no employees in this new company choose to take this route, thus my OP to find out why.

Thankyou all for your advice so far, I appreciate it.

Sam
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Old 21.08.2012, 16:08
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Re: Working in Switzerland, Living in Italy (20km frontier zone question).

The border zone has been abolished for EU citizens. EU citizens can live anywhere in the EU and work in CH with a G permit.

As for day to day cost, TI is the least expensive canton and Italy is close enough even from Lugano that when we visit family we hop over the border to shop and have dinner then go back. Of course it depends where in TI she is working.

I'm not sure the difference in price between IT and TI is that great as in other parts of the country for it to be worth the trouble. But for sure having your veggie dealer in Italy is important!

I wouldn't be sure you'll have no tax liability in Italy. You should double/triple/quadruple check that.

What has your wife's employer said about it? I'm sure they'll know what's what.
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Old 21.08.2012, 16:09
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Re: Working in Switzerland, Living in Italy (20km frontier zone question).

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Bucentaure:
The exchange rate is certainly an area of interest, if the other shoe ever drops regarding the breakup of the eurozone, it is likely to make rental/purchase costs of italian property more attractive on paper.
...
If the euro breaks, the Frank will, too.

What however is more likely to happen is that NSB will not be able/willing to spend 2 and a half billion franks a day for keeping the actual 1.20 exchange rate.


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The idea of a three hour commute is certainly not palatable, though I struggle to imagine that ever arising, as Lugano is very close to the border, and the frontier zone dictates that we must be within 20km in Italy - Is crossing the swiss border inordinately time consuming?
...
It is. Not 3 hours per trip but round trip, yes, might happen (of course depending upon the location one can be much more lucky). Local infrastructure is from the mid 60ies +-, Ticino faces more than 55.000 Italian commuters a day, and the biggest portion - unlike Basel and Geneva's situation - of their taxes go to Italy i.e. poor Swiss municipalities rich Italian, ugly Swiss villages nice Italian (of course there are exceptions from that).


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The inclination to explore cross border commuting has in part been prompted by the assumptions that day-to-day living costs will be lower across the border (eating out, shopping etc) and the lower cost of rental properties when looking online.
...
The problem is that Italy has no real renting market (as most Italians live in their own homes of property), so relatively restricted.

Many products in Italy are cheaper than in CH now (until 2 years ago - due to exchange rate, price level was +- the same maybe even cheaper in CH), but not all.

Which can easily change again.
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Old 21.08.2012, 16:11
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Re: Working in Switzerland, Living in Italy (20km frontier zone question).

Commuting by train is OK (my wife's cousin commutes from Monza by train daily), but otherwise you can figure a least an hour, sometimes more, unless you do it by motorcycle, in which case you can half that.

My wife used to live in Stabio, which is already 30 minutes in the best of cases (i.e. via motorcycle with not much traffic), 20km into Italy from there will at least double that.

Best is if you have flexible hours, the frontaliers that work here arrive at 7AM and leave at 4PM, to avoid the really heavy traffic.

When I'd go to my wife's in Stabio, I'd never leave Lugano before 6:30-7PM.

Tom
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Old 21.08.2012, 16:11
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Re: Working in Switzerland, Living in Italy (20km frontier zone question).

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As for day to day cost, TI is the least expensive canton ...
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Wouldn't say that, at least not as a general rule for all kind of products.

However, less expensive than Zurich and Geneva, for sure.
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Old 21.08.2012, 16:23
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Re: Working in Switzerland, Living in Italy (20km frontier zone question).

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The border zone has been abolished for EU citizens. EU citizens can live anywhere in the EU and work in CH with a G permit.
Thankyou! This is brand new information to us, the head of HR has given us some outdated/incorrect advice regarding the 20km restriction. This opens up our choices of residence greatly and I really appreciate you clarifying that.

Sam
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Old 21.08.2012, 16:36
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Re: Working in Switzerland, Living in Italy (20km frontier zone question).

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Wouldn't say that, at least not as a general rule for all kind of products.

However, less expensive than Zurich and Geneva, for sure.
I'm not sure about all cantons but taxes are less than NE, BE, ZH, VD. So is health insurance, property insurance, rent, house purchase prices... That's not a bad start.
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Old 21.08.2012, 16:37
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Re: Working in Switzerland, Living in Italy (20km frontier zone question).

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The border zone has been abolished for EU citizens. EU citizens can live anywhere in the EU and work in CH with a G permit.
...
Yes, for EUs (except EU-2).

http://www4.ti.ch/di/di-di/spop/stra...ontalierig-ce/



But not for non-EUs.
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Old 21.08.2012, 16:40
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Re: Working in Switzerland, Living in Italy (20km frontier zone question).

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I'm not sure about all cantons but taxes are less than NE, BE, ZH, VD. So is health insurance, property insurance, rent, house purchase prices... That's not a bad start.
For taxes, yes (but only regarding your listed cantons), less for health insurance, rent or house purchase, at least if one considers "only" the Lugano area - where Ticino's majority lives - and NE and BE main areas.

Et surtout: Costs do not consist in taxes but rather in expenditure.
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Old 21.08.2012, 16:41
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Re: Working in Switzerland, Living in Italy (20km frontier zone question).

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Yes, for EUs (except EU-2).

http://www4.ti.ch/di/di-di/spop/stra...ontalierig-ce/


But not for non-EUs.
My link for the English translation seems to be outdated. You are right. EU25.
http://www.bfm.admin.ch/content/bfm/...g_eu_efta.html
http://www.bfm.admin.ch/content/bfm/...g_eu_efta.html
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Old 21.08.2012, 16:44
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Re: Working in Switzerland, Living in Italy (20km frontier zone question).

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For taxes, yes (but only regarding your listed cantons), less for health insurance, rent or house purchase, at least if one considers "only" the Lugano area - where Ticino's majority lives - and NE and BE main areas.

Et surtout: Costs do not consist in taxes but rather in expenditure.
No one wants to live in any of those other cantons. :P
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