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Old 10.02.2020, 22:32
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Have to pay tax "at source" again, as it was lost

Dear all,
I hope no one has faced the same situation as I did, but still any ideas would be welcome.
I recently found out that the tax office in Neuchatel, where I live, did not receive "at source" tax from the company XXX where I work (located in Geneva). And I have to pay it now.

The issue appeared, as in October I obtained my C permit, and now I am paying my taxes myself. In theory, I should pay tax only for November and December 2019, but the tax office requested me to pay as of February 2019, the day when I started at XXX.

In brief: the XXX was taking the "at source" tax from my salary and sending it... to Santa Clause I believe? But definitely not to the Neuchatel tax office. (I can't believe the money as of February 2019 still have not reached the beneficiary, so the only conclusion I can make - they were not transferred).

I am now obliged to pay the whole sum again by March, and it's around 9k.

For sure, the first thing I did was the email to the accountant, responsible for the salary. Asking for any document that would confirm that the taxes were paid. But I have no clue how to proceed further, and what is actually possible to do in this situation. I don't have a feeling that XXX will just make a (X-mas present) transfer to the correct tax office with the correct sum.

Looks it's the responsibility of myself, but I have sent an email to the accountant in the beginning of the year, pointing out that I live in NE, and my taxes should go there. She replied it was taken into account, and my % was the NE rate. So definitely the fault of accountant?

Any thoughts welcome.
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Old 10.02.2020, 23:01
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Re: Have to pay tax "at source" again, as it was lost

If they paid you as though you were already off tax at source, then it's on you. You probably can arrange to pay in installments, but you'll have to pay interest.

That's the easy bit. Now for the hard bit:

If your employer paid you as though they had deducted the tax, but didn't pass it on, then it's fairly clear they've done something wrong.Either they must give the money to you so that you can pass it to the tax office, or they must pay it.

If that's the case, then you need some advice from an independent accountant or even a lawyer. The question is whether your employer is deliberately trying to defraud (you or the tax office), or if they're just incompetent. Probably a good time to start looking for a new employer either way.
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Old 10.02.2020, 23:05
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Re: Have to pay tax "at source" again, as it was lost

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If your employer paid you as though they had deducted the tax, but didn't pass it on, then it's fairly clear they've done something wrong.Either they must give the money to you so that you can pass it to the tax office, or they must pay it.
.

I am really, really hoping it would be the case!
However, I found this tread:



https://www.englishforum.ch/finance-...ouble-tax.html


It looks some companies pay taxes to the canton where they are located, and then canton is supposed to transfer those money to the correct canton. This would mean I will receive the money from Geneva closer to my retirement.
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Old 10.02.2020, 23:09
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Re: Have to pay tax "at source" again, as it was lost

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Probably a good time to start looking for a new employer either way.

you won't believe it, but I am working in a well-known high-tech super-pooper Swiss Contract Research Organization, doing stuff for companies like Novartis, Roche, etc.... Not an unknown firm based in the cellar...


So shocked myself actually.


and many thanks for your thoughts. it is always helpful.
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Old 10.02.2020, 23:17
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Re: Have to pay tax "at source" again, as it was lost

When you switch from withholding to normal, the company needs to refund you all payments (NOT the canton).

This happened to me twice, first when I married a Swiss in ZH, and second time in TI when being married to a Swiss did not auatomatically make me liable for normal taxes, but I made over their threshold. In both cases the money was returned before I got the new bills.

Two different companies, two different cantons.

Tom
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Old 10.02.2020, 23:21
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Re: Have to pay tax "at source" again, as it was lost

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When you switch from withholding to normal, the company needs to refund you all payments (NOT the canton).

This happened to me twice, first when I married a Swiss in ZH, and second time in TI when being married to a Swiss did not auatomatically make me liable for normal taxes, but I made over their threshold. In both cases the money was returned before I got the new bills.

Two different companies, two different cantons.

Tom

Many thanks, Tom!!!


The company where I work, definitely has no clue about that. But if it's a rule, it should be written somewhere, so then I need to find it out!
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Old 10.02.2020, 23:25
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Re: Have to pay tax "at source" again, as it was lost

If you have legal insurance, use that.

Tom
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Old 10.02.2020, 23:39
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Re: Have to pay tax "at source" again, as it was lost

You've been in touch with the tax office, right? This apparently isn't an unusual situation.
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Old 10.02.2020, 23:56
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Re: Have to pay tax "at source" again, as it was lost

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You've been in touch with the tax office, right? This apparently isn't an unusual situation.

they just ignore my mails, where I am describing the situation. official, registered mails.
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Old 11.02.2020, 00:10
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Re: Have to pay tax "at source" again, as it was lost

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they just ignore my mails, where I am describing the situation. official, registered mails.
Go in person.

Tom
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Old 11.02.2020, 00:18
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Re: Have to pay tax "at source" again, as it was lost

The monthly payslips show what was deducted. If tax at source was deducted, the company owes it to the state and you have prove.

If the change of permit/way of being taxed happened during last year, the company most likely paid in the tax at source this January (AHV/IV is also only paid once a year by the companies).

If the company did not pay in an attempt of cheating, this will be a "Offizialdelikt" (criminal offence liable to public prosecution) and the tax-people will chase them once you handed in the evidence and the detailed amounts deducted.

If things get complicated, you could try seeing an" Ombudsman" before employing a lawyer.
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Old 11.02.2020, 01:04
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Re: Have to pay tax "at source" again, as it was lost

It may be that the wheels are turning, just slowly. Perhaps the date is relevant, depending on the canton, and in your case cantons. Perhaps the employer(s) (especially if tax-important companies) have special arrangements with the tax office about the date by which it has to pay in those contributions. Perhaps the tax offices of the two cantons have a comparable arrangement.

As a general principle, the following seems to get things working in Switzerland. Write letters on paper in envelopes. Only once given permission to do so, use mail.

1.
Do not do nothing. Immediately write to the office making a demand of you, acknowledging the letter, saying that you are currently collecting the relevant documents from your employer(s), and will write to them soon, and ask them to please stop any system of reminders, penalties and interest.

2.Get all your papers in order, from when you first arrived here, up until the present. Your permits, proof of residence at each address, your employment contract(s) showing your remuneration and deductions, all the monthly pay-slips, the annual summary, your bank account statements reflecting the incoming moneys, and all your tax forms, if any, and all correspondence with the tax office.



Now write to each employer and tax office in turn, using that same info. The following suggestions include more than the tax, but if there is anything irregular, asking about the other aspects, too, may well help to clear it up, so you may as well do it all in one go.

3.
Write to the each employer. Ask each one to provide you with proof that
  • you were registered at the social security office (called SVA in German)
  • that they paid your and their your social security contributions (those contributions are called AHV in German),
  • of all pension plan (so-called Second Pillar) contributions paid by you and them, and
  • where those pension contributions now are
  • proof that they paid in your tax, to which tax office,and when, with the tax office's reference number (this may very likely be your AHV number, but might not be).

4.
Write to the Social Security office and ask for your statement of contributions, from arrival, up till now. This costs a small fee, probably less than Fr. 20. And employer who has done this correctly is less likely to be one who has sent the tax deductions to Santa Claus.

5.
Once you have replies from the employers, double-check all the dates. You may then be able to see, for yourself, when and to whom your tax payments were made. If you can figure out how the gap arose, so much the better. If you can't, then write asking the question.

6.
Write to each separate tax office to which the employers refer. Submit copies of the documents that the employer sent to you, (showing to where they paid your tax). And this, I think, might help: send the information you get from the employers and from any tax office, to all the other involved tax offices, including those referring to a tax office in a different canton.


You are very likely not the first person to get into a tax pickle when changing cantons. The tax offices have set procedures for this. They may be blocked from seeing what the other canton is doing, through data protection regulations. You can be instrumental in bringing about the transparency.

Good luck, and I wish you tenacity, and a lot of inner calm.
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Old 11.02.2020, 11:14
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Re: Have to pay tax "at source" again, as it was lost

First thing, it's not personal. It's not the accountant, your whole previous employer/company is failing.

If you have document from service des contributions of canton Neuchâtel telling "no tax received" and your pay slips that say "tax deducted", the law was broken (loi d'impôt à la source). Then, it is quite simple to go to the office de poursuites and start a debt collection process against XXX.

If you want to go nuclear, talk to a lawyer about the possibility of making a complaint about travail au noir. This will motivate any apathetic pencil pusher from XXX to work in your case, if not the company will get interesting sanctions. Read this about travail au noir https://www.seco.admin.ch/seco/fr/ho...arzarbeit.html
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Old 11.02.2020, 11:19
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Re: Have to pay tax "at source" again, as it was lost

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they just ignore my mails, where I am describing the situation. official, registered mails.
Use some initiative and either pick up the telephone or even better go in person. If the situation was even half as important as you are making out then common sense dictates that you would have already done these things to get peace of mind.

Last edited by Chuff; 11.02.2020 at 11:35.
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Old 11.02.2020, 11:57
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Re: Have to pay tax "at source" again, as it was lost

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Use some initiative and either pick up the telephone or even better go in person. If the situation was even half as important as you are making out then common sense dictates that you would have already done these things to get peace of mind.

For sure, I will go. The mail that clearly states that they did not receive taxes from XXX was received by me only yesterday evening. Before, they were sending preliminary estimate, I sent my salary slips, they sent the recalculated bill (which was 3.5K and which I paid). So before yesterday I was sure all is fine.



It is not so easy to go in person, as the office is located in another city, and I would need my husband who speaks French (for sure they don't speak English). Currently, my husband is search around and asking the lawyers as well. So for sure we will visit them, but not as fast as it could happen in Zurich.



So please don't blame me for not doing anything
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Old 11.02.2020, 11:59
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Re: Have to pay tax "at source" again, as it was lost

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Good luck, and I wish you tenacity, and a lot of inner calm.

Thank you really very much for the advice and encouragement! We will follow shortly! This looks like a good plan
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Old 11.02.2020, 11:59
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Re: Have to pay tax "at source" again, as it was lost

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For sure, I will go. The mail that clearly states that they did not receive taxes from XXX was received by me only yesterday evening. Before, they were sending preliminary estimate, I sent my salary slips, they sent the recalculated bill (which was 3.5K and which I paid). So before yesterday I was sure all is fine.

It is not so easy to go in person, as the office is located in another city, and I would need my husband who speaks French (for sure they don't speak English). Currently, my husband is search around and asking the lawyers as well. So for sure we will visit them, but not as fast as it could happen in Zurich.

So please don't blame me for not doing anything
Ok then so why has your husband who speaks French at least given them a call yet to find out the situation and explain? That takes 10 minutes and doesn't require travelling to the next town.
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Old 11.02.2020, 12:05
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Re: Have to pay tax "at source" again, as it was lost

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Ok then so why has your husband who speaks French at least given them a call yet to find out the situation and explain? That takes 10 minutes and doesn't require travelling to the next town.

you do not live in the French canton, right?
He was already calling them before, once we received the crazy estimate. And it took half a day
AS I have said, he is now consulting the tax lawyers to ask for a professional advice.


Besides that: how would this call help, if they have already told him during the last call: they did not receive anything from my company. If the taxes are stuck in Geneva, I still need to pay them now. The person over the phone does not care about my budget.


And please stop blaming both myself and my husband, ok?
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Old 11.02.2020, 12:31
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Re: Have to pay tax "at source" again, as it was lost

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you do not live in the French canton, right?
He was already calling them before, once we received the crazy estimate. And it took half a day
AS I have said, he is now consulting the tax lawyers to ask for a professional advice.


Besides that: how would this call help, if they have already told him during the last call: they did not receive anything from my company. If the taxes are stuck in Geneva, I still need to pay them now. The person over the phone does not care about my budget.


And please stop blaming both myself and my husband, ok?

Mary_dobr,
For some folks blaming is a knee jerk reaction; for others, a way of life, unfortunately. Best of luck to you and your husband. It can be very intimidating to get these kinds of demands in the mail, alas. But you seem to be doing the right things so far and have some good advice here for next steps.

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Old 11.02.2020, 12:42
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Re: Have to pay tax "at source" again, as it was lost

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Ok then so why has your husband who speaks French at least given them a call yet to find out the situation and explain? That takes 10 minutes and doesn't require travelling to the next town.
You haven’t had dealings with the Neuchâtel tax office have you?
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