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Old 12.01.2013, 10:29
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Optimizing Pillar 3a

Hi,

There may be posts out there on this already but I did some digging and could not find them.

I would like to get a Pillar 3a for my wife and eventually myself. She is Italian and I am American.

My thought was to get one of the fixed interest rate products that has a life insurance component. They may be expensive but it is a nice tax savings and its ok since we have savings in shares elsewhere.

The question is how do you set these things up? I asked my bank (Postfinance) but they actually did not respond. Comparis shows the one with the best rates but I'm not sure if the insurance features are good.

Also, what if we move out of Switzerland which of course means we don't need the tax break anymore. I don't want to continue to contribute each year.

Finally, to reduce taxes I had thought about spreading out the "payout year". It seems that they all pay out at 65. Can you have multiple 3as?. As in, I set one up each year for the next couple of years and therefore get paid a smaller amount in years we are 65, 66, 67, 68, etc. That would make more sense since we would avoid the high tax rates for the 250K or so paid out.

Thanks
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Old 12.01.2013, 11:56
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Re: Optimizing Pillar 3a

Before you even think of getting into this, please make sure you are fully aware of the US tax implications involved with opening a Pillar 3.

As a US citizen, you are still under the worldwide tax net, regardless of country of residence, and a Pillar 3, in principle, is not advantageous in this case. Lowering your Swiss Tax liability will increase your US Tax liability if you make enough money above the FEIE and FHE. The US does not recognize Pillar 3 as a tax deferred pension scheme (narcissism alright)!

Also, Pillar 3 could fall under PFIC reporting rules (separate forms to be filed) and would be viewed as a Foreign Trust (3520s to be filed), on top of FBAR and the FATCA forms.

In a nutshell, you probably won't be getting any tax savings and you will have to file a lot more burdensome forms every year under the threat of draconian IRS penalties for one tiny mistake or delays. In fact, it could become an unwanted Tax Liability since any depreciation of the US dollar would be taxed on the entire Pillar 3 balance (which the IRS narcissistically would recognize as a gain; essentially you are being taxed for America's fiscal incompetence).

Worth the hassle? I'm keeping my investments as simple as possible until I ditch my US passport.

Last edited by brusch; 12.01.2013 at 12:06.
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Old 15.01.2013, 14:43
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Re: Optimizing Pillar 3a

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Hi,

There may be posts out there on this already but I did some digging and could not find them.

I would like to get a Pillar 3a for my wife and eventually myself. She is Italian and I am American.

My thought was to get one of the fixed interest rate products that has a life insurance component. They may be expensive but it is a nice tax savings and its ok since we have savings in shares elsewhere.

The question is how do you set these things up? I asked my bank (Postfinance) but they actually did not respond. Comparis shows the one with the best rates but I'm not sure if the insurance features are good.

Also, what if we move out of Switzerland which of course means we don't need the tax break anymore. I don't want to continue to contribute each year.

Finally, to reduce taxes I had thought about spreading out the "payout year". It seems that they all pay out at 65. Can you have multiple 3as?. As in, I set one up each year for the next couple of years and therefore get paid a smaller amount in years we are 65, 66, 67, 68, etc. That would make more sense since we would avoid the high tax rates for the 250K or so paid out.

Thanks
You can set up a pillar 3a account any bank and choose between the different accounts. You can even apply online (at Credit Suisse). According to this website, you can have multiple accounts that get paid out to you in different years: https://mymoneypark.ch/en/information/pension-account/
They, in fact, recommend this for the very reason you suggest.
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