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Old 04.05.2014, 12:13
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Tax/Pension refund on leaving Switzerland

Hi all,

I left Switzerland in May 2012.

I was working there for two years where my tax and pension was stopped at source.

Could I be entitled to a refund of the last years tax and/or pension?

Cheers
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Old 04.05.2014, 12:22
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Re: Tax/Pension refund on leaving Switzerland

Depends on your nationality/home country...
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Old 04.05.2014, 12:32
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Re: Tax/Pension refund on leaving Switzerland

Irish and returning to Ireland.....
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Old 04.05.2014, 13:06
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Re: Tax/Pension refund on leaving Switzerland

I don't think so. You need to contact your firm's pension plan to confirm though. But this is what the www.ch.ch website has to say:

"Permanent departure from Switzerland
You may draw on your pension if you can prove that you are leaving Switzerland permanently to settle abroad.

Payout of the pension fund to persons moving to an EU / EFTA member state

Anyone leaving Switzerland to settle in an EU/EFTA member state, may generally not cash in their pension from the compulsory pension plan as persons in the new country of domicile are insured by law to receive old age, survivors' and invalidity benefits. The mandatory portion of your pension assets must therefore remain in a blocked account (vested benefits account or policy) in Switzerland and can only be paid out when you reach retirement age. The extra-mandatory portion of your pension, however, may be paid out in cash. The mandatory and extra-mandatory portions of your pension are listed on the personal insurance certificate under the heading ‘Retirement provision information’.

What you need to do

Contact the pension fund you paid into with your last employer or the vested benefits institution where you have an account or a policy. Notify them of your departure from Switzerland and provide them with the necessary documents."
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Old 04.05.2014, 13:31
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Re: Tax/Pension refund on leaving Switzerland

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I don't think so. You need to contact your firm's pension plan to confirm though. But this is what the www.ch.ch website has to say:

"Permanent departure from Switzerland
You may draw on your pension if you can prove that you are leaving Switzerland permanently to settle abroad.

Payout of the pension fund to persons moving to an EU / EFTA member state

Anyone leaving Switzerland to settle in an EU/EFTA member state, may generally not cash in their pension from the compulsory pension plan as persons in the new country of domicile are insured by law to receive old age, survivors' and invalidity benefits. The mandatory portion of your pension assets must therefore remain in a blocked account (vested benefits account or policy) in Switzerland and can only be paid out when you reach retirement age. The extra-mandatory portion of your pension, however, may be paid out in cash. The mandatory and extra-mandatory portions of your pension are listed on the personal insurance certificate under the heading ‘Retirement provision information’.

What you need to do

Contact the pension fund you paid into with your last employer or the vested benefits institution where you have an account or a policy. Notify them of your departure from Switzerland and provide them with the necessary documents."
I don't think Ireland require compulsory insurance so probably can be cashed in, same for UK.
Google Swiss LOB guarantee fund for details.

Last edited by fatmanfilms; 04.05.2014 at 13:56. Reason: Spelling
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Old 04.05.2014, 14:40
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Re: Tax/Pension refund on leaving Switzerland

Ireland do require a compulsary pension payment so I reckon I am not eligible for the pension refund, no harm in applying all the same....


As for tax paid, how do I go about getting a refund on that?
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Old 04.05.2014, 19:02
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Re: Tax/Pension refund on leaving Switzerland

Hi Boostleak,

normally, when you leave Switzerland, your pension money goes to a compte de libre passage/vested benefits account - I suggest you to call the LPP/BVG institute and ask them what is the amount that you can take back: Tél. +41 21 340 63 33/ http://www.chaeis.net/en/fzk-vested-...-accounts.html
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Old 04.05.2014, 19:21
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Re: Tax/Pension refund on leaving Switzerland

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As for tax paid, how do I go about getting a refund on that?
You don't.

Tom
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Old 04.05.2014, 19:29
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Re: Tax/Pension refund on leaving Switzerland

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You don't.

Tom
Yeah the OP has probably paid based on quellensteuer so she'll be due a refund if she didn't complete a full year....happened to me, took me 4 years to get it back.
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Old 07.05.2014, 00:00
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Re: Tax/Pension refund on leaving Switzerland

Hi treesarehalal,

What advice can you give me to get the tax back?
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Old 07.05.2014, 18:58
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Re: Tax/Pension refund on leaving Switzerland

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Yeah the OP has probably paid based on quellensteuer so she'll be due a refund if she didn't complete a full year....happened to me, took me 4 years to get it back.
Why would she be due a refund. Swiss split-year tax treatment uses a pro-rata approach to define the tax rate and then applies that to the actual earnings. The Quellensteuer system basically does this anyway by taking a monthly view of earnings and applying the relevant tax rate to each month's earnings.

If you were used to filling in a full Swiss tax return each year - you'll still need to do so for your final year when you leave, and may get a refund that way.

If you didn't earn enough (over 120k p.a., pro-rata-ed for split-years) or beacuse you were an international commuter, then you are not entitled to fill in a tax return. But you can file for a tarif correction (Tarifkorretur) which has a very similar effect and allows you to offset various deductions.
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Old 07.05.2014, 19:04
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Re: Tax/Pension refund on leaving Switzerland

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Hi treesarehalal,

What advice can you give me to get the tax back?
Sorry, my accountant does it
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Old 08.05.2014, 11:48
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Re: Tax/Pension refund on leaving Switzerland

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Why would she be due a refund. Swiss split-year tax treatment uses a pro-rata approach to define the tax rate and then applies that to the actual earnings. The Quellensteuer system basically does this anyway by taking a monthly view of earnings and applying the relevant tax rate to each month's earnings.

If you were used to filling in a full Swiss tax return each year - you'll still need to do so for your final year when you leave, and may get a refund that way.
You are correct that you cannot a refund here (irrespective if you are taxed at source or via tax return), unlike the UK or Ireland, for working only partial year. The tax is pro-rated for the time you were resident.

You can however in some cases have the salary payment "evened out" across the year. For example, if you have volatile salary (eg different amounts every month) then each monthly tax at source will be based on the amount received in the month. At the end of the year you can ask (some cantons do it automatically on Dec paysip) to even out the salary in 12 equal installements and then re-calculate tax so you get a fairly tiny tax refund.

In the case of the OP, if you left in May 12, and were working Jan-May 2012 with fairly stable salary each month, there is no refund. But if you stopped working in April, then there may be a possibility of having the 4 month's salary spread onto 5 months, and recaclulate the tax on that basis so get a small sum back. But I think that you probably missed the deadline for this, or if you need to get an accountant the fees will be higher than the refund.

But you cannot claim tax refund (unlike UK/ireland) on the basis of not working June-Dec 12, because you were not Swiss resident that time.

For pensions, the Pillar 1 you cannot get anything back, but the time you worked in CH will count as extra years when you get an Irish (or EU) state pension. (So, if you stay in Ireland, the irish should add the time working here in their calculations).

For Pillar 2, you have 2 options: you can get it back if you want (minus a fair bit of tax), or alternatively, leave it here until you get to retirement age and receive a (probably small) Swiss pension, on top of other pensions you may have. It depends on the amoutn really, if it's 2 years work only, then make sense perhaps to take the $, as any future pension will be tiny; if it's a big sum maybe better to leave and get the pension when time comes.
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Old 08.05.2014, 12:22
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Re: Tax/Pension refund on leaving Switzerland

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You are correct that you cannot a refund here (irrespective if you are taxed at source or via tax return), unlike the UK or Ireland, for working only partial year. The tax is pro-rated for the time you were resident.
I asked a tax expert from the Basel tax authorities and this is what I was told, so I think Slingb is correct. You do not get to pay less tax for working less than a full year, because they effectively tax you "by month", rather than by year. I was a bit surprised about this when I learned about it, as I don't know any other country doing it this way (but there may be).
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Old 08.05.2014, 12:36
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Re: Tax/Pension refund on leaving Switzerland

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You do not get to pay less tax for working less than a full year, because they effectively tax you "by month", rather than by year.
This is only true for tax at source.

Tom
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Old 08.05.2014, 13:05
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Re: Tax/Pension refund on leaving Switzerland

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In the case of the OP, if you left in May 12, and were working Jan-May 2012 with fairly stable salary each month, there is no refund. But if you stopped working in April, then there may be a possibility of having the 4 month's salary spread onto 5 months, and recaclulate the tax on that basis so get a small sum back. But I think that you probably missed the deadline for this, or if you need to get an accountant the fees will be higher than the refund.

But you cannot claim tax refund (unlike UK/ireland) on the basis of not working June-Dec 12, because you were not Swiss resident that time.

For pensions, the Pillar 1 you cannot get anything back, but the time you worked in CH will count as extra years when you get an Irish (or EU) state pension. (So, if you stay in Ireland, the irish should add the time working here in their calculations).

For Pillar 2, you have 2 options: you can get it back if you want (minus a fair bit of tax), or alternatively, leave it here until you get to retirement age and receive a (probably small) Swiss pension, on top of other pensions you may have. It depends on the amoutn really, if it's 2 years work only, then make sense perhaps to take the $, as any future pension will be tiny; if it's a big sum maybe better to leave and get the pension when time comes.
Just thinking about this a little more. If you were previously required to fill in a tax return as you were earning over the limit in the past then there is a chance you'd get a refund or need to make an additional payment - this will depend on whether your Commune tax level is above or below the average value used for the Quellensteuer (which is taken at a flat rate by Canton). In this case you would need to fill in a tax return for your final year (by law). I seem to remember needing to submit one before being allowed to de-register last time I left CH.

As for the pensions. Depending on where you are going you can remove some (the extra-mandatory payments) or all of your 2nd pillar and all of your thrid pillar. The tax on this varies dramatically and is based upon the Canton in which your bank is registered. You will need confirmation of your de-registration and fill in a simple form available from your bank. It is worth while shopping around before you do this - you can move your pensions to another bank and then extract them. We found that the low tax Cantons (e.g. Zug) tend to lead to high bank fees for cashing-in, approx 2.5kCHF, whereas the NAB only had a 200CHF-ish fee and the Aargau tax was not much more than Zug tax on the amounts in question. Bear in mind that you will pay a fee per account - so in the case of a couple with 2nd and 3rd pillars each - that's 4 fees and I think the tax is per account so you may even be better off with different bank for different bits of your pension!
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Old 22.02.2016, 15:44
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Re: Tax/Pension refund on leaving Switzerland

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You can however in some cases have the salary payment "evened out" across the year. For example, if you have volatile salary (eg different amounts every month) then each monthly tax at source will be based on the amount received in the month. At the end of the year you can ask (some cantons do it automatically on Dec paysip) to even out the salary in 12 equal installements and then re-calculate tax so you get a fairly tiny tax refund.
I received contrary information for Canton Zurich: the Kantonales Steueramt told me that Quellensteuer is calculated based on monthly incomes, so no correction is possible.

Rather annoying since I receive two much larger salary payments a year (one aggregated payment for extra work, one "13th month" salary) that get very heavily taxed.
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Old 22.02.2016, 16:56
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Re: Tax/Pension refund on leaving Switzerland

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I received contrary information for Canton Zurich: the Kantonales Steueramt told me that Quellensteuer is calculated based on monthly incomes, so no correction is possible.

Rather annoying since I receive two much larger salary payments a year (one aggregated payment for extra work, one "13th month" salary) that get very heavily taxed.
Yes you can get a tax adjustments we did, in kanton Zürich where we lived for 5 years before my wife got her C permit and came off QS. it's not done on a monthly basis but on tax paid at the end of the tax year. Process was to complete a tax return and the tax payed at the Kantonal average, will be recalculated according to where you live if, you have deductions etc.... be aware though that if your commune is taxable at a rate higher than the kantonal average you will get a bill, if lower, you get a credit.... sometime.
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