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-   -   Tax implications for 250k salary (https://www.englishforum.ch/finance-banking-taxation/300644-tax-implications-250k-salary.html)

zyxi 13.10.2020 09:38

Tax implications for 250k salary
 
Hi everyone,

I'm considering an offer to move from Asia to Zurich, but I just wanted to check that I have my numbers right when it comes to determining final take-home pay. I'm quite excited by the prospect, but I'm afraid that financially it actually doesn't make sense. I'm expecting about 250k CHF total annual compensation (same as what I earn now), so I'll use this figure below to work things out.

In my current position, I just pay about 15% in tax + 3% into a pension (similar to pillar 2), i.e. total 18%, and my take-home pay is therefore 205k annually, or 17k/month.

I used swisstaxcalculator.estv.admin.ch to calculate tax and contributions (leaving the default deducations), and added various items like pension and health insurance, and it comes down to this:


Federal______14,577___5.8%
Cantonal_____16,450___6.6%
Municipal_____19,575___7.8% (assuming living centrally for now)
OASI________12,813___5.1%
Unemplment___2,139___0.9%
Accident________593___0.2%
Pension______12,500___5.0% (?)
Health ins____12,000___4.8% (for two people)
TOTAL_______90,647___36.3%

Take-home = 250k - 91k = 159k
Monthly = 13k

So if I'm correct, it seems my take-home pay would be 25% less, i.e. decreasing by about 4000 CHF/month or roughly 50,000 CHF per year (ouch). In addition, I estimate my rent in Zurich would be about 1000CHF more than what I pay now, so it's actually more like a 30% cut in disposable income.

I just wanted to check that I have my facts straight and that I'm not missing something (either a cost or a benefit). Is the above correct, at least approximately? I completely realise that 250k is a large and comfortable salary which I am lucky to receive, and it is plenty to live off, so I am not complaining - I am just comparing with my current situation. There are other factors at play too in the decision!

Thanks for your help!

fatmanfilms 13.10.2020 09:41

Re: Tax implications for 250k salary
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by zyxi (Post 3225995)
Hi everyone,

I'm considering an offer to move from Asia to Zurich, but I just wanted to check that I have my numbers right when it comes to determining final take-home pay. I'm quite excited by the prospect, but I'm afraid that financially it actually doesn't make sense. I'm expecting about 250k CHF total annual compensation (same as what I earn now), so I'll use this figure below to work things out.

In my current position, I just pay about 15% in tax + 3% into a pension (similar to pillar 2), i.e. total 18%, and my take-home pay is therefore 205k annually, or 17k/month.

I used swisstaxcalculator.estv.admin.ch to calculate tax and contributions (leaving the default deducations), and added various items like pension and health insurance, and it comes down to this:


Federal______14,577___5.8%
Cantonal_____16,450___6.6%
Municipal_____19,575___7.8% (assuming living centrally for now)
OASI________12,813___5.1%
Unemplment___2,139___0.9%
Accident________593___0.2%
Pension______12,500___5.0% (?)
Health ins____12,000___4.8% (for two people)
TOTAL_______90,647___36.3%

Take-home = 250k - 91k = 159k
Monthly = 13k

So if I'm correct, it seems my take-home pay would be 25% less, i.e. decreasing by about 4000 CHF/month or roughly 50,000 CHF per year (ouch). In addition, I estimate my rent in Zurich would be about 1000CHF more than what I pay now, so it's actually more like a 30% cut in disposable income.

I just wanted to check that I have my facts straight and that I'm not missing something (either a cost or a benefit). Is the above correct, at least approximately? I completely realise that 250k is a large and comfortable salary which I am lucky to receive, and it is plenty to live off, so I am not complaining - I am just comparing with my current situation. There are other factors at play too in the decision!

Thanks for your help!

Health insurance no's look bonkers, sure it's possible to spend that much if you try.

Depending on your passport living in ZG/SG might be a better bet.

axman 13.10.2020 09:55

Re: Tax implications for 250k salary
 
Is your HK apartment really 1000k less? In my experience it is the other way round.

eyebeebe 13.10.2020 10:02

Re: Tax implications for 250k salary
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by fatmanfilms (Post 3225996)
Health insurance no's look bonkers, sure it's possible to spend that much if you try.

Depending on your passport living in ZG/SG might be a better bet.

I think you mean SZ not SG ;)

Living in SZ will bring that tax down massively and also decrease your rental expenses at a cost of living 35 minutes from Zurich. ZG City will decrease the tax, but not the rental costs, but is more of a town than living anywhere in SZ.

Depending on your industry there are also tax free agreements with the authorities for t&e or representation allowances. For example I get CHF 14.4k a year tax free (but can’t make expense claims under CHF 50). This is standard at banks at my level of seniority.

Also, pension contributions are ultimately your money. If you pay 3% in Asia and 5% in Switzerland, you should equalise the post tax amount from your take home pay on both sides.

newtoswitz 13.10.2020 10:03

Why focus only on take-home pay? A few pension points:

- I wouldn't count it as a deduction, the money is still yours
- The company will pay a pension contribution, you should add this in, not sure if you currently get that

Say the company adds 7.5% and you don't treat your 5% as a deduction, that's a 12.5% increase over your calculation (even if you can't immediately take it).

I used the basic calculator myself, not quite at that level of pay but probably comparable - and the result is 40% higher than I actually pay. I guess this shows the deductions can help a lot...

Quote:

Originally Posted by eyebeebe (Post 3226004)
I think you mean SZ not SG ;)

Sadly true, SG not known for low tax :(

zyxi 13.10.2020 10:06

Quote:

Originally Posted by fatmanfilms (Post 3225996)
Health insurance no's look bonkers, sure it's possible to spend that much if you try.

Depending on your passport living in ZG/SG might be a better bet.


Well, wikipedia puts the average cost of the compulsory health plan at 396CHF/month (in 2014). This seems in line with various online searches I did. So for two people that's 396 * 12 months * 2 = 9.5k. Do you disagree with this figure? My 12k estimate comes from being a bit conservative and choosing a 500CHF/month plan, but in the overall scheme of things, this bump won't move the needle.


I thought about Zug, but I'm not very keen on a long commute, at least at first (I do this now). Part of the allure of moving to Switzerland is the increase in quality of life, and I don't think spending 1-2 hours traveling each day is worth it to me. Btw, I have a EU passport - why does it matter when choosing where to live? Is it difficult for non-EU to live and work in different cantons?

Quote:

Originally Posted by axman (Post 3226001)
Is your HK apartment really 1000k less? In my experience it is the other way round.


Yes, it is admittedly unusual. After living centrally for a few years, I moved out to an outlying island and currently pay the equivalent of 1800CHF/month. I now have twice the space (70sqm), a giant rooftop terrace and a spectacular mountain view that I will be sad to lose. (ok, "hill view"!) :)


For about 70sqm with some outdoor space, I'm hoping I can get something for 2500-3000 in Zurich - but even that might be tough to find. And a lake or mountain or at least some kind of open green view would be nice... probably dreaming though!

Quote:

Originally Posted by newtoswitz (Post 3226005)
Why focus only on take-home pay? A few pension points:

- I wouldn't count it as a deduction, the money is still yours
- The company will pay a pension contribution, you should add this in, not sure if you currently get that

Say the company adds 7.5% and you don't treat your 5% as a deduction, that's a 12.5% increase over your calculation (even if you can't immediately take it).


Completely fair, thank you, but unfortunately the numbers are probably not as in your example. Currently, I pay in 3.5% and company pays in about 7%, so ~10% total. I don't know the pension contributions in Zurich yet (thus my question mark on that line), but I expect it might be something like 5% employee and 5% employer, so similar to the current status. Hope to find out soon.


Quote:

Originally Posted by newtoswitz (Post 3226005)
I used the basic calculator myself, not quite at that level of pay but probably comparable - and the result is 40% higher than I actually pay. I guess this shows the deductions can help a lot...


Can you elaborate? You have so many deductions that you've reduced your tax by 40%? Is that realistic?

HickvonFrick 13.10.2020 10:27

Re: Tax implications for 250k salary
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by zyxi (Post 3226008)
Well, wikipedia puts the average cost of the compulsory health plan at 396CHF/month (in 2014). This seems in line with various online searches I did. So for two people that's 396 * 12 months * 2 = 9.5k. Do you disagree with this figure? My 12k estimate comes from being a bit conservative and choosing a 500CHF/month plan, but in the overall scheme of things, this bump won't move the needle.


I thought about Zug, but I'm not very keen on a long commute, at least at first (I do this now). Part of the allure of moving to Switzerland is the increase in quality of life, and I don't think spending 1-2 hours traveling each day is worth it to me. Btw, I have a EU passport - why does it matter when choosing where to live? Is it difficult for non-EU to live and work in different cantons?

To put it in perspective we pay about 240 CHF a month insurance each.

fatmanfilms 13.10.2020 10:29

Re: Tax implications for 250k salary
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by zyxi (Post 3226017)




Can you elaborate? You have so many deductions that you've reduced your tax by 40%? Is that realistic?

I suspect you are putting gross earnings into the calculator, tax is net of Social deductions, Pension & allow a further 15k deductions to get a better idea.

ennui 13.10.2020 10:30

Re: Tax implications for 250k salary
 
I think you're about right for canton Zurich. We have low deductible health insurance and pay about 800/month for the required(2 people). Yes, I know I could find something less expensive but I like the service.

If you are young and healthy and don't take a lot of prescription meds, a higher deductible will save your monthly cost, but if you need health care you'll pay the Deductible before getting reimbursed. It's a wash generally, but if you tend not to need health care, then go with the high deductible. you're looking at maybe 100/month less per person. but that's for the required insurance. There's also supplemental, which is a whole other thing.

US citizens don't benefit from low tax cantons since they pay US as well as Swiss taxes. You don't have this nonsense as an EU citizen.

If you're going to walk or just take the tram to work, you'll save on commuting costs and times. I don't like long commutes either.

We live in Winterthur, so I can't tell you about Zurich rents and views.

newtoswitz 13.10.2020 10:36

Re: Tax implications for 250k salary
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by zyxi (Post 3226017)
Can you elaborate? You have so many deductions that you've reduced your tax by 40%? Is that realistic?

I'm not sure - I was just curious and did the basic calculation and got that result.

But looking at the deductions page, there is a bunch of stuff that could make a difference - a tax accountant will put something on all of those lines :)

One big thing is I can't see where it deducts the pillar 2 pension, which would be 12k. Plus I have at least:

- travel cost : 2k
- Pillar 3a contributions : 7k
- meal costs : 2k

zyxi 13.10.2020 10:41

Re: Tax implications for 250k salary
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by fatmanfilms (Post 3226022)
I suspect you are putting gross earnings into the calculator, tax is net of Social deductions, Pension & allow a further 15k deductions to get a better idea.


I don't think so. I enter 250k gross, the calculator then subtracts about 25k for social deductions and pensions (225k net), then subtracts about 9k in professional expenses and insurance premiums (219k net), and applies tax on that amount. The tax of 50k itself is about 20% effective rate (although at 35% marginal, squeezing any further upside).

GParker 13.10.2020 10:59

Re: Tax implications for 250k salary
 
On insurance premiums, depends on your age, type of policy and excess. We are mid 50's, have a pretty standard HMO policy and pay 860 in total. I believe insurance premiums drop 5-10% by moving a few KMs out of the city.

newtoswitz 13.10.2020 11:00

Re: Tax implications for 250k salary
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by zyxi (Post 3226029)
I don't think so. I enter 250k gross, the calculator then subtracts about 25k for social deductions and pensions (225k net), then subtracts about 9k in professional expenses and insurance premiums (219k net), and applies tax on that amount. The tax of 50k itself is about 20% effective rate (although at 35% marginal, squeezing any further upside).

Maybe in your case it is more accurate - my point was that it is probably possible to optimise your tax more than the initial numbers suggest.

eyebeebe 13.10.2020 11:48

Re: Tax implications for 250k salary
 
A few further thoughts...

The minimum contribution to pillar 2 is set out by law and is age dependent. The employer must pay at least 50% of the contribution. You should be able to google for the numbers. If you are working for an international company, I would expect the contributions from the employer (and potentially your contributions too) to be higher than the minimum.

You need to consider the benefits package in total vs what you get now. As mentioned the representation allowance, car allowance, time off, training, sick leave, discounts etc

You mention health insurance for two people. Are you married? Will your spouse/partner work? If you are married and spouse doesn’t work your tax will go down. If you are married and both work, your combined income will be treated as a single one and you will be taxed at that rate together ie your tax will go up. If you are not married, you will be treated separately, so no deduction if not working, no premium if working.

HickvonFrick 13.10.2020 12:32

Re: Tax implications for 250k salary
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by eyebeebe (Post 3226057)
A few further thoughts...

The minimum contribution to pillar 2 is set out by law and is age dependent. The employer must pay at least 50% of the contribution. You should be able to google for the numbers. If you are working for an international company, I would expect the contributions from the employer (and potentially your contributions too) to be higher than the minimum.

You need to consider the benefits package in total vs what you get now. As mentioned the representation allowance, car allowance, time off, training, sick leave, discounts etc

You mention health insurance for two people. Are you married? Will your spouse/partner work? If you are married and spouse doesn’t work your tax will go down. If you are married and both work, your combined income will be treated as a single one and you will be taxed at that rate together ie your tax will go up. If you are not married, you will be treated separately, so no deduction if not working, no premium if working.

I've always been confused by this. My employer lets me pay only 1.5% - which seems very low. Is there anywhere which explains the minimum contribution?

roegner 13.10.2020 13:10

Re: Tax implications for 250k salary
 
You can find the percentages here:


https://www.bsv.admin.ch/bsv/de/home...und-zweck.html

aSwissInTheUS 13.10.2020 13:14

Re: Tax implications for 250k salary
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by HickvonFrick (Post 3226067)
I've always been confused by this. My employer lets me pay only 1.5% - which seems very low. Is there anywhere which explains the minimum contribution?

Are you younger than 25 years old? That would explain it as till that age only disability and death is insured.

Quote:

Originally Posted by HickvonFrick (Post 3226020)
To put it in perspective we pay about 240 CHF a month insurance each.

That age would also explain the rather low health insurance premium.

Standard pillar 2 contribution rates are https://www.bsv.admin.ch/bsv/en/home...und-zweck.html :
25-35 7%
35-44 10%
45-54 15%
55-65 18%
Usually paid half by employer and half by employee. And based on the so called coordinated income = income - ~25k.

aSwissInTheUS 13.10.2020 13:20

Re: Tax implications for 250k salary
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by zyxi (Post 3226029)
I don't think so. I enter 250k gross, the calculator then subtracts about 25k for social deductions and pensions (225k net), then subtracts about 9k in professional expenses and insurance premiums (219k net), and applies tax on that amount. The tax of 50k itself is about 20% effective rate (although at 35% marginal, squeezing any further upside).

It seems to be about to be correct. The linked calculator also allows to use gross, net, and taxable income.

One note: health insurance deductions are capped at around 2.5k per person (depends on canton).

NotAllThere 13.10.2020 13:22

Re: Tax implications for 250k salary
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by HickvonFrick (Post 3226020)
To put it in perspective we pay about 240 CHF a month insurance each.

My wife and I pushing 500CHF each nowadays. :rolleyes:

fatmanfilms 13.10.2020 13:27

Re: Tax implications for 250k salary
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by eyebeebe (Post 3226057)
A few further thoughts...

The minimum contribution to pillar 2 is set out by law and is age dependent. The employer must pay at least 50% of the contribution. You should be able to google for the numbers. If you are working for an international company, I would expect the contributions from the employer (and potentially your contributions too) to be higher than the minimum.

You need to consider the benefits package in total vs what you get now. As mentioned the representation allowance, car allowance, time off, training, sick leave, discounts etc

You mention health insurance for two people. Are you married? Will your spouse/partner work? If you are married and spouse doesn’t work your tax will go down. If you are married and both work, your combined income will be treated as a single one and you will be taxed at that rate together ie your tax will go up. If you are not married, you will be treated separately, so no deduction if not working, no premium if working.

Min by law is irrelevant as it only cover 1/4 of the OP's salary. Whats important is, is the full salary pensionable & how much does the company want to pay.


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