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Old 04.09.2021, 18:31
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ETF stocks, UK transfers and Swiss Taxation

Hello,

I am moving to Switzerland next month and I was planning to move one of my savings account abroad from GBP to CHF (either by using Wise, or Interactive Broker).

I wanted to invest in ETF the entire lump sum of this account (< 20k CHF), and do monthly top-up from my salary.


I am really struggling to find information online on how are stocks taxed in Switzerland and on what I do need to declare when I have to file a tax declaration.

I am planning on accumulating ETF so no dividends.

Also, moving my savings from UK to ETF investment should be tax-exempt or should I declare sums that I am bringing to Switzerland? (In this case is less than 50k CHF the overall transfer that I am planning to move between a Swiss Bank and a Broker)
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Old 04.09.2021, 19:24
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Re: ETF stocks, UK transfers and Swiss Taxation

The value of the ETF at 31.12.2021 must be declared on your tax return. It's treated as part of your assets for wealth tax purposes.

If you are tax resident in Switzerland, you must declare all global assets and income. If you don't, you're committing a civil (not criminal) offence.
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Old 04.09.2021, 19:44
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Re: ETF stocks, UK transfers and Swiss Taxation

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Hello,

I am moving to Switzerland next month and I was planning to move one of my savings account abroad from GBP to CHF (either by using Wise, or Interactive Broker).

I wanted to invest in ETF the entire lump sum of this account (< 20k CHF), and do monthly top-up from my salary.


I am really struggling to find information online on how are stocks taxed in Switzerland and on what I do need to declare when I have to file a tax declaration.

I am planning on accumulating ETF so no dividends.

Also, moving my savings from UK to ETF investment should be tax-exempt or should I declare sums that I am bringing to Switzerland? (In this case is less than 50k CHF the overall transfer that I am planning to move between a Swiss Bank and a Broker)
No capital gains tax on equities in Switzerland. There are dividends with accumulating ETFs, the difference is they are reinvested rather than paid out. Nevertheless, they are treated as income in Switzerland and should be declared and will be taxed accordingly.
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Old 04.09.2021, 20:34
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Re: ETF stocks, UK transfers and Swiss Taxation

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If you are tax resident in Switzerland, you must declare all global assets and income. If you don't, you're committing a civil (not criminal) offence.
If you "forget" it is a civil offence.

But if there is a smoking gun, for example if the authorities discover a letter to your tax consultant instructing him or her to knowingly make a false declaration, that is a criminal offence.

So unlikely to happen, obviously. But that's a pedant's correction
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Old 04.09.2021, 20:43
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Re: ETF stocks, UK transfers and Swiss Taxation

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The value of the ETF at 31.12.2021 must be declared on your tax return. It's treated as part of your assets for wealth tax purposes.

If you are tax resident in Switzerland, you must declare all global assets and income. If you don't, you're committing a civil (not criminal) offence.
So, let's throw some random numbers to make sure I understand this:

Scenario #1
Yearly income from work of 100k
ETF value at the 31st of December 100k
Total wealth: 200k

Scenario #2
Yearly income from work of 100k
No ETF
Total wealth: 100k

So, because of the unrealized value of the ETF, in the first scenario, am I going to end up paying more taxes on my actual work salary?

Sorry if the question may look stupid but I am new both to Switzerland and never owned a stock before, so really unfamiliar with many aspects (particularly taxation)
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Old 04.09.2021, 21:00
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Re: ETF stocks, UK transfers and Swiss Taxation

Income tax and wealth tax are calculated separately, have different rates and different allowances.

On 100k of assets, you almost certainly will have no tax to pay.

On 100k income, depending on your personal circumstances and where you live you could pay 20-30k a year in tax.

As polymath says, dividends are treated as income.
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Old 04.09.2021, 21:06
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Re: ETF stocks, UK transfers and Swiss Taxation

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Income tax and wealth tax are calculated separately, have different rates and different allowances.

On 100k of assets, you almost certainly will have no tax to pay.

On 100k income, depending on your personal circumstances and where you live you could pay 20-30k a year in tax.

As polymath says, dividends are treated as income.
What I am trying to understand is, I am declaring assets based on their 'unrealised value' (ETF value at that point in time in the market).

How is this 'virtual' value going to affect my taxes at the end of the year, since the liquidity to pay taxes only comes from my salary?
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Old 04.09.2021, 21:21
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Re: ETF stocks, UK transfers and Swiss Taxation

Switzerland has an additional tax concept that Uk does not: wealth tax. A % tax is paid on the total value of your worldwide savings. A few exceptions and deductions are allowed. Unless you have over 1 M CHF savings you shouldn’t worry about it, the amount is very small relative to income tax.

Moving your money from UK to here shouldn’t trigger any taxes. If you have any shares in Uk selling them may trigger UK capital gains tax (but sounds like that’s not the case)
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Old 04.09.2021, 21:22
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Re: ETF stocks, UK transfers and Swiss Taxation

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What I am trying to understand is, I am declaring assets based on their 'unrealised value' (ETF value at that point in time in the market).

How is this 'virtual' value going to affect my taxes at the end of the year, since the liquidity to pay taxes only comes from my salary?
The Zürich cantonal tax office has an online tax calculator where you can anonymously play around with different numbers and see how it affects your taxes.

100K in wealth is not going to result in much tax. I think some tax but at that level it's essentially small change.

100K in income will result in a more significant tax. If you're single I would guesstimate this at between 20 and 30K, but the tax calculator I mentioned above should be able to provide a more accurate guesstimate.

As others have said, income and wealth tax are two separate things and one does not affect the other, a few special cases aside.

Income tax is over all income in the year, that is your salary minus deductibles plus any miscellaneous side income including interest and dividend payments.

Capital gains are not taxed.

Wealth tax is a tax on your calculated (worldwide) wealth on 31st December, regardless of what you did or how much you had for the rest of the year, with again (possibly) certain deductibles applying.
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Old 04.09.2021, 21:34
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Re: ETF stocks, UK transfers and Swiss Taxation

here is the tax calculator I mentioned

http://www.zh.ch/de/steuern-finanzen...errechner.html
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Old 04.09.2021, 23:07
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Re: ETF stocks, UK transfers and Swiss Taxation

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So, let's throw some random numbers to make sure I understand this:

Scenario #1
Yearly income from work of 100k
ETF value at the 31st of December 100k
Total wealth: 200k

Scenario #2
Yearly income from work of 100k
No ETF
Total wealth: 100k

So, because of the unrealized value of the ETF, in the first scenario, am I going to end up paying more taxes on my actual work salary?

Sorry if the question may look stupid but I am new both to Switzerland and never owned a stock before, so really unfamiliar with many aspects (particularly taxation)
Simple answer NO
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Old 05.09.2021, 08:05
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Re: ETF stocks, UK transfers and Swiss Taxation

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What I am trying to understand is, I am declaring assets based on their 'unrealised value' (ETF value at that point in time in the market).

How is this 'virtual' value going to affect my taxes at the end of the year, since the liquidity to pay taxes only comes from my salary?
Unless all your wealth is sitting in a savings account or stashed under a mattress, it is always going to include some 'unrealised' value. No matter whether it's invested in real estate, gold bullion, Picassos, ETFs or plain old stocks.

If your total wealth value is 100K, I frankly wouldn't have sleepless nights over it. I think it will cost you about 20 or 30 CHF. That's three to five beers.
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Old 05.09.2021, 08:39
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Re: ETF stocks, UK transfers and Swiss Taxation

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What I am trying to understand is, I am declaring assets based on their 'unrealised value' (ETF value at that point in time in the market).

How is this 'virtual' value going to affect my taxes at the end of the year, since the liquidity to pay taxes only comes from my salary?
You will pay your wealth tax of 30 francs a year out of your salary. Really, stop fretting!

Switzerland is a low tax country. You will be paying less tax (including social contributions, and health insurance), than you would in the UK. (Since you mention GBP).
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Old 05.09.2021, 10:19
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Re: ETF stocks, UK transfers and Swiss Taxation

Thank you everyone for the explanation and advice!

Makes complete sense now.

https://taxsummaries.pwc.com/switzer...al/other-taxes

I found this chart explaining the different bands for wealth tax and yes, the amount is much lower than income tax so I shouldn't be worried about
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Old 05.09.2021, 15:58
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Re: ETF stocks, UK transfers and Swiss Taxation

What if you earn below 120k and do not fill yearly tax return, but overall net wealth falls in some of the brackets where you should pay wealth tax? Do you declare it somewhere else?

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Unless all your wealth is sitting in a savings account or stashed under a mattress, it is always going to include some 'unrealised' value. No matter whether it's invested in real estate, gold bullion, Picassos, ETFs or plain old stocks.

If your total wealth value is 100K, I frankly wouldn't have sleepless nights over it. I think it will cost you about 20 or 30 CHF. That's three to five beers.
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Old 05.09.2021, 18:55
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Re: ETF stocks, UK transfers and Swiss Taxation

Quick question, since I move in October, let's say I buy stocks in Switzerland in November.

Do I need to file the wealth declaration for the 31st of December or will be taking effect from next year when I become a tax resident?
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Old 05.09.2021, 19:02
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Re: ETF stocks, UK transfers and Swiss Taxation

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Quick question, since I move in October, let's say I buy stocks in Switzerland in November.

Do I need to file the wealth declaration for the 31st of December or will be taking effect from next year when I become a tax resident?
If you are resident on 31st December you need to file a tax declaration for 31st December.

I think that some allowances may be applied though for you not having been resident all year. But I'm not a tax expert so don't take my word for it.

Anyway, Swiss tax declarations are a piece of cake. Once you've worked out the basics you'll be surprised how easy it is to fill in, so nothing to be afraid of IMHO.
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Old 06.09.2021, 09:34
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Re: ETF stocks, UK transfers and Swiss Taxation

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What if you earn below 120k and do not fill yearly tax return, but overall net wealth falls in some of the brackets where you should pay wealth tax? Do you declare it somewhere else?
Earning more than 120k is only one of the scenarios where it is mandatory to file a tax return, and it is also the one where the tax office knows whether you fall into that category or not (so you can expect them to nag you).

There are other conditions when it is mandatory to file a tax return but the tax office can not know it for you: for example if you have > X income abroad that was not subject to Swiss withholding income tax or if you have > Y worldwide wealth. In that case it is your responsibility to raise the hand and request the tax forms and file it
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