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Old 26.05.2020, 13:30
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why do some tax consultants charge high?

I moved to switzerland last year . I have received my tax forms from Basel and i have to file the taxes. I was going through someonline websites.
Some of the tax consultants charge as less as 120 or sometimes 49chf (dein deal) .
But some others are charging 300- 400 chf.
Why is this difference?
What is the harm in filing the taxes with this cheap services.

Example :
Contas - 300
Expattax.ch - 400 chf

Whereas :
WEST Beratungszentrum GmbH (charge 49chf ) via deindeal
Alpha Finanzplanung (69chf ) via poinz

Why is the difference. And whom should we rely on ?

Any suggestion for cheap tax consultants?
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Old 26.05.2020, 13:56
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Re: why do some tax consultants charge high?

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I moved to switzerland last year . I have received my tax forms from Basel and i have to file the taxes. I was going through someonline websites.
Some of the tax consultants charge as less as 120 or sometimes 49chf (dein deal) .
But some others are charging 300- 400 chf.
Why is this difference?
What is the harm in filing the taxes with this cheap services.

Example :
Contas - 300
Expattax.ch - 400 chf

Whereas :
WEST Beratungszentrum GmbH (charge 49chf ) via deindeal
Alpha Finanzplanung (69chf ) via poinz

Why is the difference. And whom should we rely on ?

Any suggestion for cheap tax consultants?
Something doesn't add up. Average consultant fee starts at 120CHF/hour. 49 CHF means the job is done in half an hour, no way. 400 CHF means ~3 hours, still not enough time to do much work.

Could these prices be fixed initial costs and then work hours are added as needed?
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Old 26.05.2020, 14:08
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Re: why do some tax consultants charge high?

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I moved to switzerland last year . I have received my tax forms from Basel and i have to file the taxes. I was going through someonline websites.
Some of the tax consultants charge as less as 120 or sometimes 49chf (dein deal) .
But some others are charging 300- 400 chf.
Why is this difference?
What is the harm in filing the taxes with this cheap services.

Example :
Contas - 300
Expattax.ch - 400 chf

Whereas :
WEST Beratungszentrum GmbH (charge 49chf ) via deindeal
Alpha Finanzplanung (69chf ) via poinz

Why is the difference. And whom should we rely on ?

Any suggestion for cheap tax consultants?
Those look cheap, the 49 chf most be a hobby consultant, no way could you cover any overheads at that rate.
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Old 26.05.2020, 14:08
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Re: why do some tax consultants charge high?

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Something doesn't add up. Average consultant fee starts at 120CHF/hour. 49 CHF means the job is done in half an hour, no way. 400 CHF means ~3 hours, still not enough time to do much work.

Could these prices be fixed initial costs and then work hours are added as needed?
They'll add prices for extra work and/or protests, and those cheap ones are mostly small companies or single persons working from a desk at home, so low costs. You contact them and they send you a default email with everything you have to hand in. When they received this all they have to do is take over some numbers from one form to another after which they send it back to you and you are responsible for checking the data and sending it to the tax-agency.

No reason why it should cost hundreds for default simple cases.
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Old 26.05.2020, 14:11
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Re: why do some tax consultants charge high?

Be very careful is what I'd say.. I was stung first time around with hourly fees that were not made clear..

You know,
"it's 250 per hour"
"we'll do it all by email"
"if we need any docs we'll ask"

Couple of months and a bunch of emails later a five figure bill listing things things like Writing email, checking, reading reply, checking documents, filing documents, checking figures, colleague check, bla bla bla.

Just be very clear on what is included and what is hourly etc.
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Old 26.05.2020, 14:44
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Re: why do some tax consultants charge high?

Some tax consultants charge the correct amount and others are just p*ssing about.

Last edited by Kittster; 26.05.2020 at 15:04.
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Old 26.05.2020, 14:48
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Re: why do some tax consultants charge high?

Someone with one job, no assets, no other income, one bank account... - which I'd venture is most people - the going rate is about 100CHF. But it's unlikely to be someone who's qualified. Since it's dead easy, you don't even need a qualified person really.

A big company will do your tax return for you for 2000CHF - but it's the same flat fee. Obviously if your tax affairs are super complex, they'll charge more.

My affairs are around a medium level, I'd guess. I paid my accountant about 1000CHF a year for a few years, then started doing it myself. And he did save me more in tax than I paid him.
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Old 26.05.2020, 14:51
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Re: why do some tax consultants charge high?

Ideally check if your bank can support this.
Also remember that good preparation is important.
Else you will have challenges with the tax authorities later.
The fees quoted (300-400) are reasonable. Depends also on how complicated it is.
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Old 26.05.2020, 15:47
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Re: why do some tax consultants charge high?

I am also shocked by the prices and the differences. I aim for 100-150 for someone to do mine. I do have the documents well prepared and presented, which I think helps a lot, the person doing the return doesnt have to chase for anything, in most cases I provide too much detail.

There seems to be a difference between a tax return service and a treuhand. Now this is something I have not found out the difference. A truehand does include their details on the front of the tax form so I guess takes some sort of ownership but otherwise I see no difference. I would be ok to pay more if I thought they were saving me more. But no one has really explained the difference so currently I will go for cheapest.

Where things do become a bit of a con in this process. Its if you are a returning customer. The tax return folks have your details and assuming not much has changed over the year, they basically up date the last years form with the new numbers. But you will never get charged less than an hour, although they will charge an hour and 15 mins if an email is sent, its a bit one sided the billing process
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Old 26.05.2020, 17:59
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Re: why do some tax consultants charge high?

My "tax guy" takes around 80 chf for my taxes, and this includes going to the office (Zurich), looking at all the documents, then coming back to pick up the taxes and he explains a bit the numbers.
I'm also surprised how some charge so high and how some charge so low, the only explanation I can give to myself is that the "standard" taxes are dead simple and fast for them, so some agree to do it for under 100 chf, and some overcharge you like hell (if you charge 10 times more and 1 out of 5 people stay - your win).
Of course if your tax situation is complex - it's a different story.
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Old 27.05.2020, 07:43
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Re: why do some tax consultants charge high?

I always found the hardest bit was to collect all the documents. This needs to be done regardless of who does the taxes. Putting the numbers in the form is pretty easy.

We tried a consultant once hoping for some magic tax saving but realized it was the same as when we did it so then when back to doing it ourselves.

I think the lower end one are for single person, one income, one bank account type of situation. If you have all the docs, just do it yourself as the time spent checking will be similar.

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Old 27.05.2020, 10:04
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Re: why do some tax consultants charge high?

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Where things do become a bit of a con in this process. Its if you are a returning customer. The tax return folks have your details and assuming not much has changed over the year, they basically up date the last years form with the new numbers. But you will never get charged less than an hour, although they will charge an hour and 15 mins if an email is sent, its a bit one sided the billing process
It's not a con. The contract you agreed with them is probably along the lines of x for the first hour or part thereof, x/4 per subsequent 15 minutes or part thereof. It's fairly normal.

And if nothing has changed, why you're using a tax return specialists beats me.
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Old 27.05.2020, 17:02
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Re: why do some tax consultants charge high?

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It's not a con. The contract you agreed with them is probably along the lines of x for the first hour or part thereof, x/4 per subsequent 15 minutes or part thereof. It's fairly normal.

And if nothing has changed, why you're using a tax return specialists beats me.
There is a bit of give and take. If one year they spend 5 mins sending an email above the quoted hour, call me old fashion but I would appreciate them taking that on the chin, if the following year they get paid one hour for 30 mins work

And why am I using a tax completion service if not much has changed, well simple really. If its 150 bucks or my time, my time is worth more to me than a 150 bucks
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Old 27.05.2020, 21:42
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Re: why do some tax consultants charge high?

I think an employee with a few simple accounts (including savings accounts) and perhaps a few stock/funds/ETFs shouldn't expect more than 100-150, assuming all documents are ready.

However, OP's
- expattax.ch targets a different clientele, it's in their domain name. The price may include both domestic filings and abroad, and be overseen by a lawyer. Of course specialist knowledge costs more.
- Contas looks like the work will be done by a lawyer, they may target corporations
- Alpha Finanzplanung sounds like they focus on financial planning. They may see the tax declaration as a way to get a foot in the door, the discount may be seen as inexpensive advertising
- WEST Beratungszentrum, using deindeal.ch, may be new and just building a clientele. Many people let vouchers from deindeal et al lapse in the first place. And their name sounds like they may have the same intent as Alpha above.

Some company filling out your tax form (which is what you get for 100-150) just fills in the figures, not more. Signature and responsibility will still be yours.

Treuhand OTOH, in its full meaning, means the company will act in the client's stead (think power of attorney), not just with full power but also with the responsibility that brings. So if they act against generally accepted standards they may well be liable for the damages. This comes with increased requirements for the employees, also higher risk, both translate to higher fees.
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Old 27.05.2020, 21:46
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Re: why do some tax consultants charge high?

We pay just over 1000 francs a year to a tax guy based in Solothurn but he's worth it as he's really good. We just email him all the paperwork and he gets on with it. I assume it costs this much because we have 2 properties and some other things to declare back in Scotland and until January 2019 we had a company registered back there.

Last year OH was offered a free tax return service via his employers, then it would be chargeable if he wanted to use them every yer It was with one of the big global accountancy companies and the tax consultant assigned to him was lousy, didn't seem to fully understand what she was handling so there were constant emails pinging back and forth. Needless to say we're using the guy in Solothurn again this year.
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Old 27.05.2020, 21:48
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Re: why do some tax consultants charge high?

Look at the provider, not the hourly rate.

In Switzerland anyone can be a tax preparer. Now there are even some startups who have automated the whole thing with AI.

If you really want to hire a professional (for complex cases), look for the professional certification "expert fiscal diplômé" / "Dipl. Steuerexperte". Difficulty is hardcore high and those few who have it are in a completely different league!

For straight forward cases do it yourself. 90% of the work is collecting the documentation and you will have to do it in any case. For complex cases, always choose a professional based on their credentials and your specific circumstances.
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Old 29.05.2020, 00:36
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Re: why do some tax consultants charge high?

Maybe I am wrong, but I was told that (apart from the tax return complexity) their fee also depends on the taxable income, e.g.it is different if you declare 1,000,000 or if you declare 100,000 CHF.
Also, 300-400 CHF seems like a fair price to me.
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Old 29.05.2020, 01:08
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Re: why do some tax consultants charge high?

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And he did save me more in tax than I paid him.
How is that possible? There are rules explaining what can be deducted and what cannot, what the rates are, etc.
I wonder whether it is a matter or reading the manual instead...
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