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Old 09.06.2020, 21:17
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Wealth tax on property held abroad + how to estimate values

Hi, first year here and trying to get my tax return sorted out in time, and am struggling with foreign property held abroad. I own a property in London which I bought back in 1999. What with the impact of COVID I have no idea of the true value of the property now short of using an online property value estimator which I think is way off. Any suggestions as to what formula I might use? And does anyone know what evidence the canton would want to see? Thanks in advance!
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Old 09.06.2020, 21:53
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Re: Wealth tax on property held abroad + how to estimate values

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Hi, first year here and trying to get my tax return sorted out in time, and am struggling with foreign property held abroad. I own a property in London which I bought back in 1999. What with the impact of COVID I have no idea of the true value of the property now short of using an online property value estimator which I think is way off. Any suggestions as to what formula I might use? And does anyone know what evidence the canton would want to see? Thanks in advance!
I don't know how you should do the valuation but in my opinion go for a lower one. If they are not happy with it they will ask - probably after a year+ when you will have a better idea.

I have not received any feedback on any returns yet so others' experience may be more reliable.
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Old 09.06.2020, 22:23
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Re: Wealth tax on property held abroad + how to estimate values

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I don't know how you should do the valuation but in my opinion go for a lower one. If they are not happy with it they will ask - probably after a year+ when you will have a better idea.

I have not received any feedback on any returns yet so others' experience may be more reliable.
I believe zoopla.co.uk can provide a valuation for you. That said, Foxtons, Douglas and Gordon and other estate agencies can do so as well. Go with the lowest estimate as minimimi suggested
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Old 09.06.2020, 22:32
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Re: Wealth tax on property held abroad + how to estimate values

I provided the purchase value for a property in Germany and the tax office accepted that, and have been for about 7 years now.

The first time round I actually wrote them an email asking for guidance and they told me this approach was OK.

I sold the property in 2019 so it won't be an issue for my 2020 tax declaration.

I also have a Spanish property and for that I provide the valuation that the Spanish tax office provide me with for purposes of the community tax I pay there. This value changes slightly every year, and I always use the latest figure.
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Old 10.06.2020, 09:29
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Re: Wealth tax on property held abroad + how to estimate values

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Spanish tax office provide me with for purposes of the community tax I pay there. This value changes slightly every year, and I always use the latest figure.
In Greece the real market value of many properties are far lower (maybe 50%) than the valuation of the tax office for property tax purposes.
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Old 10.06.2020, 09:38
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Re: Wealth tax on property held abroad + how to estimate values

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In Greece the real market value of many properties are far lower (maybe 50%) than the valuation of the tax office for property tax purposes.
I think in Spain it’s more the other way round. Similar to Switzerland. At least in my community it is.
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Old 10.06.2020, 10:39
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Re: Wealth tax on property held abroad + how to estimate values

Think it depends on the canton but in mine if you bought >15 years ago then you need to submit an "official document" stating the value, the location (ie the precise address, registry details etc) and when you bought it, that's all in the the wording. "Official" implies a zoopla screenshot won't cut it, you'd need a surveyor or an agent to state the value based on this... but you could talk to your tax office and see what they say, usually they're helpful, they don't bite.
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Old 10.06.2020, 10:58
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Re: Wealth tax on property held abroad + how to estimate values

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Hi, first year here and trying to get my tax return sorted out in time, and am struggling with foreign property held abroad. I own a property in London which I bought back in 1999. What with the impact of COVID I have no idea of the true value of the property now short of using an online property value estimator which I think is way off. Any suggestions as to what formula I might use? And does anyone know what evidence the canton would want to see? Thanks in advance!
You could show the purchase price. Market Value at midnight 31/12 will always be a huge discount to what can be achieved with 3 months of expensive marketing, it's more like a probate valuation.
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Old 10.06.2020, 11:00
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Re: Wealth tax on property held abroad + how to estimate values

Speaking from personal experience: Vaud Tax did not demand an official (eg like UK "blue book") valuation of our UK properties when filing our taxes. We declared what we believed was correct and they did not question it.

However be careful, in our case we had two UK properties and when we sold one in a later year and we had to declare an increase in our cash wealth they questioned the source. We were able to point to one less overseas property and the new cash number was close enough to the previously declared value that there were no issues. Again written explanation was enough, and since the numbers matched there were no questions.

My advice; don't over-work the evidence you submit, but do be sufficiently truthful that you don't embarrass yourself later. They for sure check YoY anomalies
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Old 10.06.2020, 13:03
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Re: Wealth tax on property held abroad + how to estimate values

We declared property in 2010 when we moved to Zurich. I think it was bought in 2005 or 2006. It was declared at purchase price along with the mortgage. We moved to Schwyz in 2014 and did the same. For our 2018 tax return we used a tax advisor for the first time, due to extensive renovations we did to where we now live. Neither the tax authorities in either canton, nor the tax advisors have ever asked questions. Now I think about it, we’ve revalued it into CHF using the Dec 31st rate every year, so it’s actually been going down in value and no questions asked.
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Old 11.06.2020, 16:13
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Re: Wealth tax on property held abroad + how to estimate values

Not that I wold, but what might happen if you didn't declare your property abroad?
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Old 11.06.2020, 16:23
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Re: Wealth tax on property held abroad + how to estimate values

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Not that I wold, but what might happen if you didn't declare your property abroad?
It's not a game I would play.

The Spanish tax office, for example, know my Swiss Tax number. I don't think they actually compare records but technically they could, and as the hunt for hidden money and tax evasion intensifies, I expect the rules will change making it easier to exchange information.

I have a German friend living in Switzerland who "forgot" to declare a property in Germany on her Swiss tax declaration. Then she reached a point that she could no longer hide it for some technical reason, and she declared that she had "forgotten" it. I think it was in connection with an inheritance matter. The tax office re-opened all her tax declarations going back 10 years and re-assessed them all, and started niggling about other things that they had missed the first time round and asking for documentation that she had to run around and obtain. It was a burocratic nightmare, even if financially it didn't set her back very much taxwise.

Much better to keep the tax office your friend.

And after all, Switzerland has a very friendly tax-regime. It's really not something we can complain about. We all benefit from living here so let's contribute our fair dues.
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Old 11.06.2020, 20:59
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Re: Wealth tax on property held abroad + how to estimate values

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Not that I wold, but what might happen if you didn't declare your property abroad?
Well the banks in other countries now share all information with Swiss tax authorities. If you get income from the property it must be declared also.
They had an amnesty some time ago for people who had not declared foreign assets in their tax return. The amnesty is finished now and anyone who now fails to declare will be prosecuted and fined.
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