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Old 22.01.2021, 20:27
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Tedious tax question - Onsite canteens and the annual salary certificate

The salary certificate (Lohnausweis?) has a box, G, which the employer checks with an X if employees have access to a subsidised onsite canteen.

One of my colleagues is a little "agitated" that our employer has continued the practice of previous years and indicated that - yes they had access in 2020.

Their argument is that no they didn't, because they were obliged to work from home (which is true for at least 3 months of 2020).

They also believe that checking the box means they are ineligible to claim tax deduction for some of their lunch costs.

Is this a canton specificity? Is there a meaningful deduction available?
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Old 22.01.2021, 20:35
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Re: Tedious tax question - Onsite canteens and the annual salary certificate

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The salary certificate (Lohnausweis?) has a box, G, which the employer checks with an X if employees have access to a subsidised onsite canteen.

One of my colleagues is a little "agitated" that our employer has continued the practice of previous years and indicated that - yes they had access in 2020.

Their argument is that no they didn't, because they were obliged to work from home (which is true for at least 3 months of 2020).

They also believe that checking the box means they are ineligible to claim tax deduction for some of their lunch costs.

Is this a canton specificity? Is there a meaningful deduction available?
Isn't the allowance specifically for eating lunch whilst *away* from home?
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Old 22.01.2021, 20:37
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Re: Tedious tax question - Onsite canteens and the annual salary certificate

It is considered to be a "geldwerter Vorteil" (financial advantage??) as your employer subsidizes your lunch.

No idea from a tax perspective, would imagine that similarly applies to travel cost?
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Old 22.01.2021, 20:39
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Re: Tedious tax question - Onsite canteens and the annual salary certificate

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Isn't the allowance specifically for eating lunch whilst *away* from home?
Yes. Colleague is shooting himself in the foot.

The advice I‘ve seen from the Zurich (particularly) and Schwyz (not quite so clearly) tax offices says to treat 2020 like a normal year. It‘s not worth the hassle for either side to start nitpicking.

My personal opinion is that if people start rocking the boat on this topic with both the tax office and their employers e.g. wanting to claim part of their rent/mortgage as a tax deduction or wanting a subsidy, we the individual are going to end up worse off, as pauschal deductions for work related costs will be looked at (CHF 6.9k in Schwyz), tax free T&E/representation allowance agreements will be withdrawn etc. Etc. The shortsightedness of people looking to penny pinch on taxes in one of the lowest tax countries in the world with a generous policy on allowable deductions and a pragmatic and collaborative approach to working with tax payers amazes me.

Last edited by eyebeebe; 22.01.2021 at 21:00.
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Old 22.01.2021, 20:39
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Re: Tedious tax question - Onsite canteens and the annual salary certificate

Letting you deduct lunch costs is because you have higher expenditure due to having lunch away from home (restaurants etc). If you have access to a canteen you can deduct a little less as usually the amount you spend is less.

My understanding is that we will be able to continue with work deductions in full (meals & transport) despite being WFH so I do not see your colleagues issue unless they decided to eat at the restaurant/have a food delivery every day.
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Old 22.01.2021, 20:44
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Re: Tedious tax question - Onsite canteens and the annual salary certificate

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Yes. Colleague is shooting himself in the foot.

The advice I‘ve seen from the Zurich and Schwyz tax offices says to treat 2020 like a normal year. It‘s not worth the hassle for either side to start nitpicking.
Is that right? So I can claim commute for 220 days although I have been in the office maybe 80?
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Old 22.01.2021, 20:47
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Re: Tedious tax question - Onsite canteens and the annual salary certificate

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It is considered to be a "geldwerter Vorteil" (financial advantage??) as your employer subsidizes your lunch.

No idea from a tax perspective, would imagine that similarly applies to travel cost?
From a tax perspective, if you cannot eat your lunch at home you are entitled to make a deduction from your income. From memory it is about CHF 30 a day. If your employer provides a canteen the deduction is only half. However, said employee is admitting to working from home, so shouldn‘t make any deduction.
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Old 22.01.2021, 20:47
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Re: Tedious tax question - Onsite canteens and the annual salary certificate

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Is that right? So I can claim commute for 220 days although I have been in the office maybe 80?
Do you have an annual pass?

If so, I'd definitely try and claim the cost of that as tax-deductible.
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Old 22.01.2021, 20:48
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Re: Tedious tax question - Onsite canteens and the annual salary certificate

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Do you have an annual pass?

If so, I'd definitely try and claim the cost of that as tax-deductible.
Bike or car.
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Old 22.01.2021, 20:59
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Re: Tedious tax question - Onsite canteens and the annual salary certificate

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Bike or car.
That might be a bit more difficult. This the latest from Schwyz
https://www.sz.ch/public/upload/asse...24.09.2020.pdf

Doesn‘t specifically mention it apart from saying you can claim for motor vehicle if you were going in when it was advised not to use public transport.

Zurich is a lot clearer (I will edit my post to make that clear)

https://www.zh.ch/de/news-uebersicht...rung-2020.html

I‘m going to be claiming for an all zones ticket as usual.
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Old 22.01.2021, 21:05
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Re: Tedious tax question - Onsite canteens and the annual salary certificate

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That might be a bit more difficult. This the latest from Schwyz
https://www.sz.ch/public/upload/asse...24.09.2020.pdf

Doesn‘t specifically mention it apart from saying you can claim for motor vehicle if you were going in when it was advised not to use public transport.

Zurich is a lot clearer (I will edit my post to make that clear)

https://www.zh.ch/de/news-uebersicht...rung-2020.html

I‘m going to be claiming for an all zones ticket as usual.
So there would be no problem claiming my annual pass (bought in February)?
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Old 22.01.2021, 21:38
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Re: Tedious tax question - Onsite canteens and the annual salary certificate

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So there would be no problem claiming my annual pass (bought in February)?
It depends on the canton. You are in Aargau. I could not find a guideline on the cantons website how it should be handled. You have to wait and see.

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One of my colleagues is a little "agitated" that our employer has continued the practice of previous years and indicated that - yes they had access in 2020.

Their argument is that no they didn't, because they were obliged to work from home (which is true for at least 3 months of 2020).
The deductions are because eating out costs more than eating at home. The deduction for eating at home are exactly 0 CHF per day. You can normally only claim this deduction (CHF 15 when not subsidized/ CHF 7.50 when subsidized by employer) if the time to get home, eat there, and get back to work takes too much time. However if you are able to get home you can claim the travel cost instead (up to CHF 3200, and total travel cost of CHF 5000). As said in canton ZH, for 2020 the usual rules apply, however you can not claim home office costs.
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Old 23.01.2021, 14:28
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Re: Tedious tax question - Onsite canteens and the annual salary certificate

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That might be a bit more difficult. This the latest from Schwyz
https://www.sz.ch/public/upload/asse...24.09.2020.pdf

Doesn‘t specifically mention it apart from saying you can claim for motor vehicle if you were going in when it was advised not to use public transport.

Zurich is a lot clearer (I will edit my post to make that clear)

https://www.zh.ch/de/news-uebersicht...rung-2020.html

I‘m going to be claiming for an all zones ticket as usual.
Thanks. The way I read the SZ doc, it clearly says you can claim cost (Fahrtkosten) like there had not been Covid restrictions. I will therefore claim commute costs for all working days.
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Old 23.01.2021, 15:08
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Re: Tedious tax question - Onsite canteens and the annual salary certificate

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From a tax perspective, if you cannot eat your lunch at home you are entitled to make a deduction from your income. From memory it is about CHF 30 a day. If your employer provides a canteen the deduction is only half. However, said employee is admitting to working from home, so shouldn‘t make any deduction.
My understanding is that the tax authorities are trying to make it easier on all parties. On one hand indeed we had less costs for eating out and commuting but higher costs for electricity, office equipment, printing etc at home.

Hence the advice is - just deduct what you normally do and it should work out in the grand scheme of things.
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Old 23.01.2021, 21:09
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Re: Tedious tax question - Onsite canteens and the annual salary certificate

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Thanks. The way I read the SZ doc, it clearly says you can claim cost (Fahrtkosten) like there had not been Covid restrictions. I will therefore claim commute costs for all working days.
Yes, read it for the third time and agree. Don‘t forget it also says you can claim for your meals as usual too.
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Old 23.01.2021, 21:37
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Re: Tedious tax question - Onsite canteens and the annual salary certificate

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The salary certificate (Lohnausweis?) has a box, G, which the employer checks with an X if employees have access to a subsidised onsite canteen.

One of my colleagues is a little "agitated" that our employer has continued the practice of previous years and indicated that - yes they had access in 2020.

Their argument is that no they didn't, because they were obliged to work from home (which is true for at least 3 months of 2020).

They also believe that checking the box means they are ineligible to claim tax deduction for some of their lunch costs.

Is this a canton specificity? Is there a meaningful deduction available?
Since the allowance halves if you have a subsidised canteen, it's too your benefit they said no.
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Old 23.01.2021, 21:58
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Re: Tedious tax question - Onsite canteens and the annual salary certificate

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Since the allowance halves if you have a subsidised canteen, it's too your benefit they said no.
I believe the employer said yes, hence the "agitation" as they did not have access to a canteen.
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Old 25.01.2021, 14:41
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Re: Tedious tax question - Onsite canteens and the annual salary certificate

Here in NE canton they have released specific guidelines for professional expenses for 2020.

They ask people to claim only the days they really travelled to the office (commute and lunch).

Annual passes for transport can be deducted as normal.

Then, for the days teleworked, you can claim an amount per day (max 4000CHF deduction for the year, divided by no. of days). This is supposed to cover the additional electricity, use of space, etc.

A fair system if you ask me.
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Old 25.01.2021, 15:07
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Re: Tedious tax question - Onsite canteens and the annual salary certificate

Article today that clarifies this - it's 20 Min but should pretty reliable for this.

https://www.20min.ch/story/kann-ich-...n-791407783471
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Old 25.01.2021, 18:53
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Re: Tedious tax question - Onsite canteens and the annual salary certificate

A tedious update.

I put on my big boy pants and called the tax authorities to check (actually my payroll manager called). I should explain that when a colleague asks, it's usually the self-appointed union rep, and these questions always end up in my hands.

In GVA (at least), employees can deduct CHF 15 per working day, max CHF 3,200 p.a. for meals - if their daily commute to and from work is more than 2 hours by public transport, and is allowed if the cost of meals eaten away from the office is more than eating at the office, and are not eaten at home.

If the on-site restaurant was not closed for more 120 days or more during the fiscal year, then the "X" in box G must remain.

If there is an "X" in box G, it means the employee daily deduction is halved.

In the case of my agitated colleague, I see this as a moot point and they can build a bridge and get over it as my mum might have once said.
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