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Old 08.04.2013, 10:10
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U.S. and Swiss tax situation help

hello, new to EF and wondering if anyone has any information on the following...
My spouse and I are both US citizens, moved to Zurich last year. He works for Switzerland, paid in chf, etc. I am a contractor, hired from the U.S., contracting with a U.S.company several months a year in countries overseas (but never in Switzerland), paid in USD. We are both now residents of Zurich. For whatever reason, we received an estimated tax bill last summer from Zurich, indicating that I am "self-employed" and therefore owe tax...I have never worked in Switzerland and I am guessing that when we moved here we filled out some form incorrectly? I understand that in Switzerland I am "unemployed".
Any ideas how to "undo" that?
Advisement about filing taxes together vs separate?
Ideas about what, if any, my obligation to Swiss taxes might be, since I have never worked here?
Finally....other than an internet ad, any personal recommendations for US and Swiss tax preparers (is it possible to have them done by one person)?
ANY info would be greatly appreciated.
Cheers
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Old 08.04.2013, 11:35
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Re: U.S. and Swiss tax situation help

Need to provide more detail... what exactly are they asking for you to pay? (does it have a name on the letter?)

Everyone must pay some AVS contributions, even if inactive. If its that they wrote about, it's correct, but that amount is usually small (and your husband may cbe paying enough for both of you).
If it's income tax on earnings, there should be a description of how they calculated it, no?
Finally I dont think there is any canton which allows you can file seperately, so it's compulsory to file together.
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Old 08.04.2013, 11:37
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Re: U.S. and Swiss tax situation help

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hello, new to EF and wondering if anyone has any information on the following...
My spouse and I are both US citizens, moved to Zurich last year. He works for Switzerland, paid in chf, etc. I am a contractor, hired from the U.S., contracting with a U.S.company several months a year in countries overseas (but never in Switzerland), paid in USD. We are both now residents of Zurich. For whatever reason, we received an estimated tax bill last summer from Zurich, indicating that I am "self-employed" and therefore owe tax...I have never worked in Switzerland and I am guessing that when we moved here we filled out some form incorrectly? I understand that in Switzerland I am "unemployed".
Any ideas how to "undo" that?
Advisement about filing taxes together vs separate?
Ideas about what, if any, my obligation to Swiss taxes might be, since I have never worked here?
Finally....other than an internet ad, any personal recommendations for US and Swiss tax preparers (is it possible to have them done by one person)?
ANY info would be greatly appreciated.
Cheers
There's a similar thread on here with a similar situation about working outside Switzerland - the general consensus seems to be that, if you are a resident of Switzerland, you pay taxes here. (Telecommuting from US while residing in CH) This would also lower your US tax burden - in the end, you probably pay about the same amount, it's just more complicated.

I use AIT, who do the American taxes - they will also take your forms and send the relevant ones to a Swiss tax person and coordinate with them (we use Colfina). http://www.americanincometax.com/
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Old 08.04.2013, 11:50
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Re: U.S. and Swiss tax situation help

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I understand that in Switzerland I am "unemployed".
Any ideas how to "undo" that?
There is nothing to undo, you are not unemployed, but are a self employed as a contractor. It does not matter where the income comes from, as as Swiss resident, you are subject to swiss taxes on your worldwide income. Thanks to unique situation for Uncle Sam taxing non-residents, you are also subject to US taxes. There are many threads on here on this subject, have a look, but it seems you are novices on this matter, so perhaps best to consult tax professionals on this subject.
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Old 08.04.2013, 15:48
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Re: U.S. and Swiss tax situation help

Thank you. It seems that we probably should never have registered me as a resident when we moved here. Previously, I was a US resident only, but due to my contract jobs, spent almost the entire year outside the US, and was therefore able to have my income free of federal taxes due to foreign earned income/being out of the US more than 330 or whatever the number is of days per year. Now, if what you are saying is correct, I will stil qualify for the break under the US code, but it will be made up by paying it to Switzerland. I thought that I only had to pay tax to Switzerland if I actually worked in this country. Live and learn. Thanks again.
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Old 08.04.2013, 15:50
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Re: U.S. and Swiss tax situation help

Thanks!
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Old 08.04.2013, 16:05
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Re: U.S. and Swiss tax situation help

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Need to provide more detail... what exactly are they asking for you to pay? (does it have a name on the letter?)

Everyone must pay some AVS contributions, even if inactive. If its that they wrote about, it's correct, but that amount is usually small (and your husband may cbe paying enough for both of you).
If it's income tax on earnings, there should be a description of how they calculated it, no?
Finally I dont think there is any canton which allows you can file seperately, so it's compulsory to file together.
Thank You. The bill is from Staats und Gemeindesteuern. I received it last May and we only moved here in February. I went there and they told me it was an estimate (based on what I don't know, they were not particularly helpful, but advised this was a low estimate, I think for someone who makes 25,000chf per year?). Anyway, it's more than 3,000chf for the year and reportedly related to my income, though what they base it on I don't know, as they have no records. I am more and more discouraged about the idea of living here. I replied to another that it seems I should never have registered as a resident, as previously, when I was only a US resident, doing contract work out of the country for the majority of the year, I did not have to pay federal taxes on that money. Now it seems I will have to take what I save from the US and pay it to Switzerland, not only for this miscellaneous bill, but to the swiss federal govt too. Yes, we are novices and will certainly seek advisement. thanks again
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Old 08.04.2013, 16:06
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Re: U.S. and Swiss tax situation help

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There's a similar thread on here with a similar situation about working outside Switzerland - the general consensus seems to be that, if you are a resident of Switzerland, you pay taxes here. (Telecommuting from US while residing in CH) This would also lower your US tax burden - in the end, you probably pay about the same amount, it's just more complicated.

I use AIT, who do the American taxes - they will also take your forms and send the relevant ones to a Swiss tax person and coordinate with them (we use Colfina). http://www.americanincometax.com/
Thank you very much. we obviously need this!
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Old 08.04.2013, 16:54
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Re: U.S. and Swiss tax situation help

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It seems that we probably should never have registered me as a resident when we moved here.
Um, you need to be registered here as resident as you live here.
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Old 08.04.2013, 18:24
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Re: U.S. and Swiss tax situation help

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Um, you need to be registered here as resident as you live here.
relatively speaking. To quote David Sedaris when he told a story about some kind of dreadful worm that was living in his partner's mother's leg...she said "I wouldn't exactly call it living"...
For several years I have yet to "live" here (or anywhere else) for more than 3 months at a time due to returning to work...if I had just kept my US residency and "visited" here when I was not working (typically less than 3 months per year total) it perhaps would have been a better decision. As a US citizen I can travel to Switzerland for 90 days without a visa. At least that's what I am told.
At any rate, good fortune can't last forever, so we will see what the tax damage ends up being.
Thank You again!
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Old 08.04.2013, 19:16
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Re: U.S. and Swiss tax situation help

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As a US citizen I can travel to Switzerland for 90 days without a visa.
Unless they ban you.

Tom
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Old 08.04.2013, 22:06
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Re: U.S. and Swiss tax situation help

So have you been paying tax in the countries where you perform your work?
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Old 08.04.2013, 22:59
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Re: U.S. and Swiss tax situation help

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So have you been paying tax in the countries where you perform your work?
No, I work for the US military under SOFA (Status of Forces Agreement). Any tax obligation is to the US and overseas it is (thus far) none. All work is performed on a US military installation.
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Old 08.04.2013, 23:14
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Re: U.S. and Swiss tax situation help

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No, I work for the US military under SOFA (Status of Forces Agreement). Any tax obligation is to the US and overseas it is (thus far) none. All work is performed on a US military installation.
So the regular FEIE says you need have a tax home outside the US, which you don`t seem to have. I don`t know exactly how the SOFA agreement works so I can not give you any advice other than seek a very qualified accountant. Do you have any colleagues with similar situations? Maybe they can recommend someone?
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