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Old 25.03.2021, 12:44
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Negotiating with the cantonal tax office about deductions

Has anyone tried to negotiate with a cantonal tax office about deductions? If so, may I ask how?

I may soon be forced to leave my canton for another because of budgetary reasons. In short, a part of one requirement in the cantonal tax code for work-related travel costs excludes my case and makes it significantly less attractive to keep my primary residence there.

As you might guess, I don't agree and want to argue my case for a bit of flexibility. Rules are rules and all, but my family income is significantly higher than the cantonal average and I don't think that either party wins if we leave. I'm emotionally attached to the place whereas my girlfriend is convinced that she could live just about anywhere if the price is right...
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Old 25.03.2021, 12:48
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Re: Negotiating with the cantonal tax office about deductions

The best is to get a lawyer and sue them American style?
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Old 25.03.2021, 13:04
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Re: Negotiating with the cantonal tax office about deductions

Gosh. Imagine choosing where to live over a small difference in tax.
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Old 25.03.2021, 13:10
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Re: Negotiating with the cantonal tax office about deductions

You're trying to fight the machine


The tax office normally doesn't have a reputation for flexibility.



From my humble perspective, when I don't agree with the local tax office, and this happens once a year, and always related to my business, I ask our Fiduciary to send an official letter to the office d'impôt. I find it works much better than trying to reason with the tax people yourself.



Also, from my experience in a previous life as a chartered accountant, I do know that the cantonal authorities make individual tax deals with corporate HQs, and with high net worth individuals (think M. Schümacher et al). Now, I can't speak for your net worth, but if its significant enough there might be a possibility.
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Old 25.03.2021, 13:12
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Re: Negotiating with the cantonal tax office about deductions

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Has anyone tried to negotiate with a cantonal tax office about deductions? If so, may I ask how?

I may soon be forced to leave my canton for another because of budgetary reasons. In short, a part of one requirement in the cantonal tax code for work-related travel costs excludes my case and makes it significantly less attractive to keep my primary residence there.

As you might guess, I don't agree and want to argue my case for a bit of flexibility. Rules are rules and all, but my family income is significantly higher than the cantonal average and I don't think that either party wins if we leave. I'm emotionally attached to the place whereas my girlfriend is convinced that she could live just about anywhere if the price is right...
I am not sure I understand.

You want to negotiate with the Canton regarding a deduction you are not entitled to? Work related travel costs (I assume from/to workplace?) shouldn't amount to such a big difference to take into consideration changing city or canton.

I don't know about your income, you state significantly higher than the average tax payer ... if we are talking millions, you might be able to negotiate a flat tax fee.

PS: you are in Valais according to your profile, if you need to stay in the area for work, taxes will be significantly higher in VD, GE and even FR ...
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Old 25.03.2021, 13:34
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Re: Negotiating with the cantonal tax office about deductions

Yes, we're talking about a difference of a few thousand at the end of the year but we have a tight budget and it puts a strain on the couple.
No, we're not high net worth as to be candidates for a fiscal package.

The issue is not so much the general rule about work-related travel but an acceptable compromise that we're trying to find to live together in the second residence because we must both work outside of the canton. And this compromise involves an additional 10 min of travel time that break one element of the rule but would maintain our primary residence remains in Valais.

In the end, I will have to make a decision but I would have liked to argue more.
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Old 25.03.2021, 13:44
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Re: Negotiating with the cantonal tax office about deductions

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Gosh. Imagine choosing where to live over a small difference in tax.
Imagine the canton making a special exception just because if you move out they may lose a little bit of tax revenue. That's gonna happen, sure.

Fridays seem to be coming three or four times a week at the moment - must be the pandemic effect.
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Old 25.03.2021, 13:47
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Re: Negotiating with the cantonal tax office about deductions

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In the end, I will have to make a decision but I would have liked to argue more.
Hans1 already suggested to talk to a fiduciary who can write a nice letter to tax authorities explaining your case.
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Old 25.03.2021, 14:00
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Re: Negotiating with the cantonal tax office about deductions

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Hans1 already suggested to talk to a fiduciary who can write a nice letter to tax authorities explaining your case.
And I thanked him.
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Old 25.03.2021, 14:55
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Re: Negotiating with the cantonal tax office about deductions

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Has anyone tried to negotiate with a cantonal tax office about deductions? If so, may I ask how?

I may soon be forced to leave my canton for another because of budgetary reasons. In short, a part of one requirement in the cantonal tax code for work-related travel costs excludes my case and makes it significantly less attractive to keep my primary residence there.

As you might guess, I don't agree and want to argue my case for a bit of flexibility. Rules are rules and all, but my family income is significantly higher than the cantonal average and I don't think that either party wins if we leave. I'm emotionally attached to the place whereas my girlfriend is convinced that she could live just about anywhere if the price is right...

If something is specifically referred to in the tax codes, then the authorities do not have the flexibility to negotiate with you on it, they must apply the rules.
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Old 25.03.2021, 14:59
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Re: Negotiating with the cantonal tax office about deductions

I know quite a number of people pretending to live in VS with secondary residences in GE/VD. You could save some money by doing likewise, but be careful.
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Old 25.03.2021, 15:04
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Re: Negotiating with the cantonal tax office about deductions

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If something is specifically referred to in the tax codes, then the authorities do not have the flexibility to negotiate with you on it, they must apply the rules.
exactly. work with a tax advisor who can tell you what to do to get within the rules.
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Old 25.03.2021, 15:16
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Re: Negotiating with the cantonal tax office about deductions

Okay, makes sense. I need to talk to a tax adviser or fiduciary. I had avoided it until now but my tax situation is becoming exponentially more complex year by year. Thanks for the serious responses.

Last edited by alexyalmtl; 25.03.2021 at 15:16. Reason: missing adverb
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Old 25.03.2021, 16:02
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Re: Negotiating with the cantonal tax office about deductions

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If something is specifically referred to in the tax codes, then the authorities do not have the flexibility to negotiate with you on it, they must apply the rules.
I'm not sure it's always so black and white. 1 very high income individual told me they were able to claim full mileage as a deduction despite exceeding the cantonal max deductible amount for travel expenses by some way. He attributed this to his accountant's network with the person processing his tax file. All second hand information but would not surprise me if true.
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Old 25.03.2021, 16:07
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Re: Negotiating with the cantonal tax office about deductions

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Has anyone tried to negotiate with a cantonal tax office about deductions? If so, may I ask how?

I may soon be forced to leave my canton for another because of budgetary reasons. In short, a part of one requirement in the cantonal tax code for work-related travel costs excludes my case and makes it significantly less attractive to keep my primary residence there.

As you might guess, I don't agree and want to argue my case for a bit of flexibility. Rules are rules and all, but my family income is significantly higher than the cantonal average and I don't think that either party wins if we leave. I'm emotionally attached to the place whereas my girlfriend is convinced that she could live just about anywhere if the price is right...
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Yes, we're talking about a difference of a few thousand at the end of the year but we have a tight budget and it puts a strain on the couple.
No, we're not high net worth as to be candidates for a fiscal package.

The issue is not so much the general rule about work-related travel but an acceptable compromise that we're trying to find to live together in the second residence because we must both work outside of the canton. And this compromise involves an additional 10 min of travel time that break one element of the rule but would maintain our primary residence remains in Valais.

In the end, I will have to make a decision but I would have liked to argue more.
Help me understand: your family income is significantly higher than the cantonal average, you have two residences, yet you are on a tight budget???
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Old 25.03.2021, 16:11
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Re: Negotiating with the cantonal tax office about deductions

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Help me understand: your family income is significantly higher than the cantonal average, you have two residences, yet you are on a tight budget???
Don't know how many times it has to be repeated: the EF poverty line is around 120K a year
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Old 25.03.2021, 16:17
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Re: Negotiating with the cantonal tax office about deductions

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Help me understand: your family income is significantly higher than the cantonal average, you have two residences, yet you are on a tight budget???
Tight is not the same as low. He may have three Ferraris to keep running for all we know.
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Old 25.03.2021, 16:43
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Re: Negotiating with the cantonal tax office about deductions

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Help me understand: your family income is significantly higher than the cantonal average, you have two residences, yet you are on a tight budget???
I know that the semi-confinement is working on us all, but is this necessary?
A high income couple with a strict budget and no special net worth because issued from modest families.
Not bragging, not saying that life is completely unfair, just stating a fact. And brainstorming for ideas that help us to plan our work and home lives.
Any more questions or snarky comments?
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Old 25.03.2021, 17:16
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Re: Negotiating with the cantonal tax office about deductions

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Any more questions or snarky comments?
Sure, since you ask.

1) Did you really think you were not going to get snarky or sarky comments or questions? (Subsidiary to 1). Are you really that naive / lacking in empathy?

2) How about reducing expenditure elsewhere, rather than asking the tax office to agree to not tax you so much, and thus depriving the cantonal exchequer of funds that could be used, e.g. to subsidise someone who's been unable to work during the pandemic?

Last edited by NotAllThere; 25.03.2021 at 22:04.
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Old 25.03.2021, 17:20
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Re: Negotiating with the cantonal tax office about deductions

Simply said, if that deduction on travel costs makes such a difference to your tax bill and tight budget, you will probably not have enough funds to make a deal with the tax office.


The tax office is not particularly interested in changing things that are your responsibility (as in where you want to live).
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