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Old 22.04.2011, 13:01
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Relocating Zurich for 12-24 months. Should I use a relocation agent?

Hi all - my company are seconding me to Zurich for 12-24 months. Which isn't a bad thing at all But I have a question about whether or not to use a relocation agent. Let me explain the things I know, and I dont know!

What I know:
- I will be working there for 12-24 months
- I will more than likely be still getting paid through Ireland, just working based in Zurich. I am an EU citizen
- I can find short term (1-2 month) furnished apartments to rent until I find my feet
- I have been in Zurich 2-3 days a week for the last 12 months so I have a good idea of the place at a highlevel. So I'm happy to fend for myself for the first few months if I need to.

What I don't know:
- Tax - if I am paying taxes in Ireland and just staying in CHF for 1-2 years do I have any local (canton) tax implications. I think no, but worth verifying
- Visa - I am from EU so guess a B or L will do me
- Health Insurance - I think I'll need this
- Apartment - we'll want something a bit more permanent. Close to Zurich (say within 15-20 mins by train), with 2 bedrooms and furnished. We've a max budget of about 2800 CHF a month. We're going for too short a time to bring everything we own! I also know finding accommodation can be tough!

So main things I need help with are accommodation, visa processing and the question about cantons / taxes etc. So I've 3 questions

1) Do you think i need a relocation agent for this, or is this all manageable myself?

2) If I do need one, I guess I'm at the less complex end of things. I'm from EU, don't need schools, big shipping moves etc. Can anyone give me a rough budget (know is just a guess and lots and lots of factors!!!) but even to the nearest 1000CHF what you think these services would cost?

3) Recommendations - knowing this, can anyone suggest someone to help me?

Thanks!
Kev
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Old 22.04.2011, 13:18
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Re: Relocating Zurich for 12-24 months. Should I use a relocation agent?

Biggest question that I would be asking is : "how much support is my employer giving me for relocation?"
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Old 22.04.2011, 13:23
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Re: Relocating Zurich for 12-24 months. Should I use a relocation agent?

hi - my employer has offered to engage the services of a relocation agent. What I'm trying to find out is 1) do I need one 2) what roughly the budget is for him 3) has anyone any recommendations just.

thanks!
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Old 22.04.2011, 13:34
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Re: Relocating Zurich for 12-24 months. Should I use a relocation agent?

You're going to really want to research your tax obligations. From what you've described above, you owe Swiss taxes rather than Irish taxes.

As for the rest, no recommendations, sorry. If you're spending that much time in Zürich anyway, you can probably find an apartment with a bit of effort.
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Old 22.04.2011, 13:45
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Re: Relocating Zurich for 12-24 months. Should I use a relocation agent?

about taxes - depends.

Irish law says that I am by default resident in ireland if I spent > 280 days in a rolling 2 years here. So depends on how long I'm away for, really. would need to be 18+ months. Also, as I am an Irish citizen, being paid by an Irish company I am see by default to be part of our tax system.

So I could opt to move to Swiss system, as in inform revenue I am leaving irish tax system. but for that, I need an entity in Switzerland to pay me. Which I don't have. So only option would be to become a sole-trader. Get my Irish company to pay me as a contractor, being a sole trader in switzerland and then I'm in swiss tax system. Problem with that is, is probably lower taxes, but if I'm only there 12-18 months could be a lot of effort (register, break current contract with employer, accountant fees etc)

So - what revenue tell me in summary is that by default I am in Irish tax system for 2011 and probably 2012. I could change this, but only way is to register myself as a sole trader (or get my company to office an office) in Switzerland. Otherwise... living in Switzerland, being paid by my current Irish employer would deem me to still be in the Irish tax system.

Long reply sorry, but gutts of it is... am and have looked into tax answer with both irish revenue and accountant.
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Old 26.04.2011, 17:41
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Re: Relocating Zurich for 12-24 months. Should I use a relocation agent?

Health insurance:
A lot depends on your employment status. If you will continue to be paid from Ireland and pay irish national insurance, then you can be exempt from Swiss health insurance. Otherwise cheapest you can get is around 165 CHF / month.

Permit:
As an EU citizen, you will be issues either a B or L permit, the later if your assignment is for less than a year.

Relocation agent:
Finding accommodation can be though if you aren't "recommended". We used a relocation agent (Schweizer Relocation) who could vouch for us and this made finding an apartment relatively easy. We paid ~£4,000 in total for the relocation but this included moving 100+ boxes and local orientation courses.

Rental budget:
Your budget is decent, but you will find a more spacious accommodation for that price if you fo outside of Zurich. We can recommend the Meilen area which is c. 25 mins to the main train station (Hauptbahnhof).
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Old 26.04.2011, 17:48
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Re: Relocating Zurich for 12-24 months. Should I use a relocation agent?

Quote:
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about taxes - depends.

Irish law says that I am by default resident in ireland if I spent > 280 days in a rolling 2 years here. So depends on how long I'm away for, really. would need to be 18+ months. Also, as I am an Irish citizen, being paid by an Irish company I am see by default to be part of our tax system.

So I could opt to move to Swiss system, as in inform revenue I am leaving irish tax system. but for that, I need an entity in Switzerland to pay me. Which I don't have. So only option would be to become a sole-trader. Get my Irish company to pay me as a contractor, being a sole trader in switzerland and then I'm in swiss tax system. Problem with that is, is probably lower taxes, but if I'm only there 12-18 months could be a lot of effort (register, break current contract with employer, accountant fees etc)

So - what revenue tell me in summary is that by default I am in Irish tax system for 2011 and probably 2012. I could change this, but only way is to register myself as a sole trader (or get my company to office an office) in Switzerland. Otherwise... living in Switzerland, being paid by my current Irish employer would deem me to still be in the Irish tax system.

Long reply sorry, but gutts of it is... am and have looked into tax answer with both irish revenue and accountant.

doesn't matter what irish law says, it matters what swiss law says. sounds to me like you owe both ireland and switzerland tax.

the question has to be asked, why so complicated??
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Old 26.04.2011, 18:41
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Re: Relocating Zurich for 12-24 months. Should I use a relocation agent?

hi kev
The Irish Revenue will not advise you on how to leave the Irish tax system. The rolling residency period is relevant only for capital gains made while abroad and then only if you return to Ireland within that period. the general residency period for income tax is 183 years per calander year so if you leave any time before June you are immediately non resident from that point onwards. you do not have to inform the Revenue that you are leaving.
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Old 26.04.2011, 21:29
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Re: Relocating Zurich for 12-24 months. Should I use a relocation agent?

Not sure about the tax but you probably need private health insurance in some form, be it an international cover from bupa or something similar, as I doubt you could be covered outside the EU with public contributions-or has this all changed?
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Old 26.04.2011, 22:14
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Re: Relocating Zurich for 12-24 months. Should I use a relocation agent?

Hi all - thanks for the feedback. Just a few things - there is a double taxation treaty between Ireland and Switzerland, to stop double taxation. So I will only be responsible for taxes in either one or the other country. I phoned both my accountant and the revenue who inform me that:
1) The new law is based on a rolling 2 years for all taxation. If you I Ireland for > 280 days in the next 2 years then I am deemed IRish for tax reasons. So by default I will be in Irish tax system until sometime towards end of next year.
2) But there is a thing called "split year" - when you can inform them it is your intention to move from Ireland. So you pay taxes here until then. Then your taxes basically become a function of where you are moving to. This is the normal practice if you move to a new country and get a job with a company there.

But in my case this isn't happening. I'm still being paid by an Irish company, and will be in Ireland for > 280 days in a rolling 2 years, so I'm deemed an Irish tax citizen. So because of the double tax treaty, I can't be liable for taxes in Switzerland, derived from the same income also.

So Irish citizen, being paid by Irish company, having lived in Ireland for majority of last 2 years, is by default in the Irish tax system.
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Old 27.04.2011, 01:05
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Re: Relocating Zurich for 12-24 months. Should I use a relocation agent?

If your company will pay for a relocation agent to go for it! My husband came over on his own to start with and was working full time so didn't have time to look at apartments and doesn't speak German. The relocation agent set up the appointments, took him to view apartments, took him for his permits, explained the public transport, took him to banks to set up accounts, was there when we got the keys and did the initial inspection of the apartment - translated our 'faults' list for us, registered us for Cable and Billag and personal liability insurance. We didn't pay so I don't know what the cost was but there is no way we could have done it so stressfree without her!!!
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