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Old 06.08.2013, 13:26
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100K threshold as a couple

Dear all,

Regarding Quellensteuer, married coupledom and an apparent 100K earnings threshold for comign off source tax and doing a tax return:

I (Brit, EU(B) permit) moved here in November 2012, ultimately working in three different jobs at the same time and paying source tax. I registered first in Zurich and then moved to Zollikerberg in March (lower tax but I still pay Zurich tax until the end of the year as that's where I was registered on Jan 1st). Averaged over the year so far I earn just under 100K.

My wife (German, EU(B) permit) moved here in March 2013 when we moved as a family to Zollikerberg (she's never been registered in Zurich). She is starting a new job next week after having time off to have our baby.

Unless I have not understood other posts on here, once she's back at work we'll be treated as one "earning unit" and be earning well over the 100K limit to switch from tax at source to doing a tax return. My questions are thus:

Is there such a thing as a 100K threshold to come off source tax?
Who do we need to notify and within what timescale?
Will we be taxed in Zurich, Zollikon or both?

We both understand German so please feel free to point us towards sources in either language.

Many thanks in advance for your pointers.

T&S
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Old 06.08.2013, 13:33
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Re: 100K threshold as a couple

You don't come off tax at source until you get a C permit (or Swiss nationality). You must fill in a tax return at the threshold which is threshold is 120K except in Geneva which is 500K. Moving to a lower tax commune won't help. You'll pay the canton average which is the tax at source rate.
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Old 06.08.2013, 13:39
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Re: 100K threshold as a couple

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You don't come off tax at source until you get a C permit (or Swiss nationality). You must fill in a tax return at the threshold which is threshold is 120K except in Geneva which is 500K. Moving to a lower tax commune won't help. You'll pay the canton average which is the tax at source rate.
Thanks - that makes sense. Are there any advantages to having to fill in this tax return (deductions etc.) or is it just pure, extra bureaucracy?
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Old 06.08.2013, 14:01
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Re: 100K threshold as a couple

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You don't come off tax at source until you get a C permit (or Swiss nationality). You must fill in a tax return at the threshold which is threshold is 120K except in Geneva which is 500K. Moving to a lower tax commune won't help. You'll pay the canton average which is the tax at source rate.
But then once the tax return is done, wouldn't the difference be refunded? We owe tax this year and I am trying to figure out why . In 2011 we got a refund, but OH was only working for a part of that year in Switzerland
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Old 06.08.2013, 14:18
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Re: 100K threshold as a couple

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You don't come off tax at source until you get a C permit (or Swiss nationality). You must fill in a tax return at the threshold which is threshold is 120K except in Geneva which is 500K. Moving to a lower tax commune won't help. You'll pay the canton average which is the tax at source rate.
We've always been on normal taxation, not Quellensteuer, taxed at the Gemeinde rate - even when on a B permit in canton ZH. This was years ago - have the rules since changed?
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Old 06.08.2013, 14:31
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Re: 100K threshold as a couple

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We've always been on normal taxation, not Quellensteuer, taxed at the Gemeinde rate - even when on a B permit in canton ZH. This was years ago - have the rules since changed?
We're on normal taxation at commune rate too, EU B permits in canton Neuchatel.
Suits us as we live in the lowest taxed commune in the canton which is still higher than any other canton in Switzerland.
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Old 06.08.2013, 15:25
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Re: 100K threshold as a couple

Interesting - it's not immensely clear regarding the averaged commune taxation, but the cantonal tax website seems to suggest most of the deductions available to the Swiss are also available to us B-permit Auslaenders via a tax return (training courses and childcare looking to be good ones for us). I'll take my boss up on his offer of an hour with his tax adviser and get back with the final answers.

Thanks again!
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Old 06.08.2013, 16:02
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Re: 100K threshold as a couple

Well, it's clearly not clear at all. I even looked it up before I answered! lol.

Not sure why MC & BM are on regular taxation.

Either I have to go back to school or the heat is frying my brain!

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Thanks - that makes sense. Are there any advantages to having to fill in this tax return (deductions etc.) or is it just pure, extra bureaucracy?
Yes. You get deductions but all your assets get thrown in as well.

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But then once the tax return is done, wouldn't the difference be refunded? We owe tax this year and I am trying to figure out why . In 2011 we got a refund, but OH was only working for a part of that year in Switzerland
The at source is an estimate. You get a refund or pay more when you do the full return.
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Old 06.08.2013, 16:06
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Re: 100K threshold as a couple

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Interesting - it's not immensely clear regarding the averaged commune taxation, but the cantonal tax website seems to suggest most of the deductions available to the Swiss are also available to us B-permit Auslaenders via a tax return (training courses and childcare looking to be good ones for us). I'll take my boss up on his offer of an hour with his tax adviser and get back with the final answers.

Thanks again!
You can deduct all these things you mention as well as commuting costs via a tax return, you still pay tax at source though.
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Old 06.08.2013, 16:24
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Re: 100K threshold as a couple

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Not sure why MC & BM are on regular taxation.

Either I have to go back to school or the heat is frying my brain


The at source is an estimate. You get a refund or pay more when you do the full return.
Homeowners ?
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Old 06.08.2013, 16:37
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Re: 100K threshold as a couple

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Homeowners ?
We are now but we weren't at the time.

The tax accountant employed by OH's employers said we had to move from tax at source to regular taxation. I'd have to dig out the paperwork to find out the reason but I know it started the first full year we lived here.

I remember being a bit concerned at the time but in fact we ended up paying less tax because of the commune we're in.
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Old 06.08.2013, 16:40
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Re: 100K threshold as a couple

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Not sure why MC & BM are on regular taxation.
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Homeowners ?
1998-2003, renters, non-EU, canton ZH, B permit. Normal taxation from day 1.

(Perhaps rules have changed in the meantime, but honestly... sometimes I think decisions are made completely at random.)
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Old 06.08.2013, 16:42
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Re: 100K threshold as a couple

I am on a B and I did tax return for last year because... I wanted

Steueramt told as that anyone can do it (with quellenstueuer) if they want.

I put childcare costs, commuting and some other things...
Did hear back from them but apparently they have a lot of time to go through it.
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Old 06.08.2013, 16:58
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Re: 100K threshold as a couple

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We are now but we weren't at the time.

The tax accountant employed by OH's employers said we had to move from tax at source to regular taxation. I'd have to dig out the paperwork to find out the reason but I know it started the first full year we lived here.

I remember being a bit concerned at the time but in fact we ended up paying less tax because of the commune we're in.
It used to be the case that if you were having to produce a tax return anyway employers could guarantee your tax liability and you would be released from the monthly deduction and move onto the same payment basis as those taxed directly. This was advantageous eg for employees with a significant portion of income from bonus falling in a given month. I think this option was removed though.

Nevertheless as others have said, you were still under the "tax at source regime" even if you had an exception in terms of payment method. This only really comes into play in special situatons like change of canton, but there is no way you were moved to the "direct tax regime". Especially not in NE canton.
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Old 06.08.2013, 17:01
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Re: 100K threshold as a couple

It seems to be not clear to the officials, either, last year someone at our bank was telling us we could get off quellensteuer and be "normal" steuer. Personally, I like it. That is, when we get something back. I don't like that we have to pay this year. I think. But we haven't gotten a bill yet. Just our tax return back from the accountants (luckily OH's company provides this for us...)
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Old 06.08.2013, 17:05
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Re: 100K threshold as a couple

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It seems to be not clear to the officials, either, last year someone at our bank was telling us we could get off quellensteuer and be "normal" steuer. Personally, I like it. That is, when we get something back. I don't like that we have to pay this year. I think. But we haven't gotten a bill yet. Just our tax return back from the accountants (luckily OH's company provides this for us...)
Believe it or not, Swiss bank officials tend to be pretty clueless about how the taxation of foreigners works, but they like to sound helpful to newbs. Added to that the application of these rules is done at a cantonal level. I would take with a giant pinch of salt.
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Old 06.08.2013, 17:24
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Re: 100K threshold as a couple

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Believe it or not, Swiss bank officials tend to be pretty clueless about how the taxation of foreigners works, but they like to sound helpful to newbs. Added to that the application of these rules is done at a cantonal level. I would take with a giant pinch of salt.
So far i've ignored him
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Old 06.08.2013, 18:17
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Re: 100K threshold as a couple

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but honestly... sometimes I think decisions are made completely at random.)
Bingo!
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Old 06.08.2013, 19:23
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Re: 100K threshold as a couple

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Nevertheless as others have said, you were still under the "tax at source regime" even if you had an exception in terms of payment method. This only really comes into play in special situatons like change of canton, but there is no way you were moved to the "direct tax regime". Especially not in NE canton.

No we are not. We are on the direct tax regime. I can assure you that I know exactly what regime we are on, we are after all the ones filling out the tax returns, receiving the calculations from the tax authorities and paying the taxes.

We were NOT under the 'tax at source regime' once myself and my son moved here and have made three declarations so far under the direct tax regime.
I have all the paperwork to to prove it.
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