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Old 26.05.2017, 19:47
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Paying back tax before dog?

Hi, did a search and didn't see anyone addressing this. When my wife and I decided to move to Switzerland (Canton Geneva), she went ahead of me to set up our apartment, insurance, etc. I followed later with the rest of our belongings, and in due course, we moved our dog over as well. She took him to the vet and got him registered with the commune, and we were fully prepared to pay the dog tax for him. However, we received a bill today that charges us back tax all the way to the date my wife initially applied for her permit. This predates the dog's arrival in Switzerland (and indeed my wife's permanent arrival as well) by a good bit. My question is, do we legally owe taxes from that point in time, regardless of the dog's location? And if not, is it worth contesting the back taxes, given that the dog entered the country by car and we don't have any official documentation of the date of his arrival? Many thanks for your advice.
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Old 26.05.2017, 19:58
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Re: Paying back tax before dog?

Go to the Commune (or whatever organization is responsible in Geneva) and explain the situation. I don't know GE so can't guess their response, but in a little village like mine you'd likely find that the folks there are quite reasonable.

Remember that you have 10 days to register your dog with AMICUS, and you will need a vet to do that. So if you haven't already seen a vet, put it on the top of your to-do list. The vet should put down the entry date you specify, which will help with your discussion with the Commune.

Be aware that some Communities pro-rate the dog tax for arrival date, some charge half-yearly for mid year arrivals, and some simply charge a flat yearly tax no matter when you arrive. Mine is one such. (One of mine was adopted on just before Christmas, I got to the Gemeinde minutes before they closed for the holidays but the nice lady at the Gemeinde simply said to come back after the New Year as she was 'too busy', wink wink, saving me a full year's tax for a dog who had been here a few days. YMMV, there may, or may not, be wiggle room.

I'll poke around the GE site to see if there is any info...

But start at the commune; a polite inquiry (rather than guns-ablazin') usually elicits a helpful response. At least in my neck of the woods.

ETA:
Just re-read with my specs on and see that you have already been to the vet. What date did the vet put as your entry date in AMICUS?


---

ETA 2:

From the GE site:
https://demain.ge.ch/impot-chiens

Si vous êtes propriétaire d'un chien, vous êtes soumis à l'impôt sur les chiens.

L'impôt sur les chiens est un impôt annuel qui dépend de la durée de détention du chien.

Pour calculer le montant de votre impôt, l'administration fiscale se base sur les informations que vous avez fournies lors de l'enregistrement de votre chien dans la base AMICUS.



Which if the tattered remnants of my schoolgirl French haven't completely failed me:

If you own a dog, you are subject to dog tax.
The dog tax is an annual tax that depends on the length of the dog's stay (my note: in GE).
To calculate the amount of your tax, the tax administration relies on the information you provided when registering your dog in the AMICUS database.


So the question remains: What date did you/your vet put as your entry date in AMICUS?

Last edited by meloncollie; 26.05.2017 at 20:28.
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Old 26.05.2017, 21:03
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Re: Paying back tax before dog?

Just go and talk to them... take someone who speaks French is you do not speak fluently.

Thinking of it, we had to put to sleep 2 dogs over past couple of years- one 2 months after paying for the year, and one 3 months. Wonder if we could have asked for proportion of tax back (it is only 70CHF here)? We now have 2 dogs on loan/share- and they are still registered with their owners in another valley- and they paid tax there. I went to out Commune and explained, and they said that was fine and didn't ask for any proof either (but they do know us well).

How did the dog get into the country? If you flew dog in, you would have proof of arrival.
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Old 26.05.2017, 21:39
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Re: Paying back tax before dog?

<<She took him to the vet and got him registered with the commune, .......>>

<<.......given that the dog entered the country by car and we don't have any official documentation of the date of his arrival>>

OP made a point to give all the info but nobody seems to read it?!


As they are asking for the tax, you seem to have done everything right so far
As in an answer above: Best thing is go to the community and ask. That's the way things are done here and usually the easiest first step.
Ah and there is a website that might answer some questions. You can put your area code in.
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Old 26.05.2017, 23:14
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Re: Paying back tax before dog?

Apologies, quickly scanned - missed it.

So your word against theirs - talk to them, explain and hope for the best - or pay and put it to experience.
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Old 27.05.2017, 11:27
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Re: Paying back tax before dog?

I will say the obvious: you should have declared the dog at the border and shown the health papers to the guard.
You might have had to pay tax on the value of the dog.
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Old 27.05.2017, 12:13
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Re: Paying back tax before dog?

Quote:
Apologies, quickly scanned - missed it.

So your word against theirs - talk to them, explain and hope for the best - or pay and put it to experience.
The tax office will have to accept what the OP says, because thats how it works. They have no idea of when the dog arrived so it's not their word at all.
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Old 27.05.2017, 12:30
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Re: Paying back tax before dog?

If your vet has completed the AMICUS registration, you will soon receive a letter from AMICUS with your account and pin numbers. You can then log in yourself to check your details, including the entry date:

https://www.amicus.ch/Account/Login

If you do not have that letter yet (it can take a few weeks), then simply go back to the vet and have him or her look at your file - and change the date to the correct one if that info is wrong.
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Old 27.05.2017, 13:33
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Re: Paying back tax before dog?

Go talk to them, why do you immediately think they will not believe you ?

If your explanation is plausible, why won't they believe you ?
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Old 27.05.2017, 14:13
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Re: Paying back tax before dog?

The date the dog phisically arrived is irellevant, as legally it arrived on your arrival date, and should be listed in your moving inventory.

Tom
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Old 27.05.2017, 20:51
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Re: Paying back tax before dog?

Even though it didn't arrive then? Not sure, but I don't think our cat was declared as part of our goods. She spent the week we moved in the pet transport company's cattery in the UK before they flew her to Geneva for me to collect. I signed customs paperwork at the cargo terminal there I guess, can't remember some 19 years ago now, and that was it.
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Old 27.05.2017, 22:40
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Re: Paying back tax before dog?

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Even though it didn't arrive then? Not sure, but I don't think our cat was declared as part of our goods. She spent the week we moved in the pet transport company's cattery in the UK before they flew her to Geneva for me to collect.
Neither our cat nor our rabbit were declared as part of our goods. They wee brought in a couple of weeks after our arrival by the pet moving company.

Lots of people bring their pets in after they're settled here which may well be several months and some may not have even decided if they will bring them or not so how can they declare them on the moving inventory?
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Old 27.05.2017, 22:52
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Re: Paying back tax before dog?

Does seem strange to ask that. I really don't know for our cat. We had a moving company to pack us up and shift all our stuff to Switzerland, but as the packing was going to take 3 days we decided it was better for the cat to be moved here separately. So the pet transportion company came and picked her up the first packing day and looked after her. We'd also decided to delay her arrival to give us time to unpack some of the stuff to make it feel a bit like home for her when she did arrive so she only flew in a week after we moved. But all the paperwork was handled by moving/pet transportation companies so I've no idea if she was on the moving list or not. As she wasn't part of their shipment I wouldn't have thought so though. They had enough stuff to detail (10 tonnes worth ) without adding things they weren't transporting.

All the BLV website says is that they must be declared to Swiss customs, but doesn't specify it has to be as part of your moving effects list.
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Old 27.05.2017, 23:09
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Re: Paying back tax before dog?

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Does seem strange to ask that. I really don't know for our cat. We had a moving company to pack us up and shift all our stuff to Switzerland, but as the packing was going to take 3 days we decided it was better for the cat to be moved here separately. So the pet transportion company came and picked her up the first packing day and looked after her. We'd also decided to delay her arrival to give us time to unpack some of the stuff to make it feel a bit like home for her when she did arrive so she only flew in a week after we moved. But all the paperwork was handled by moving/pet transportation companies so I've no idea if she was on the moving list or not. As she wasn't part of their shipment I wouldn't have thought so though. They had enough stuff to detail (10 tonnes worth ) without adding things they weren't transporting.

All the BLV website says is that they must be declared to Swiss customs, but doesn't specify it has to be as part of your moving effects list.
I know that you have up to one year to import your personal effects as part of your move. I brought in some of my late mother's things about 9 months after our move here which were classed as part of our move but which were not declared on the moving inventory. I would imagine that pets would be the same.

I know our pets weren't on the inventory as I completed that myself but I have no idea what paperwork the pet move company had to bring them in other than the pet passport and health certificate provided by our Belgian vet just before the move which we gave to them.

Last edited by Belgianmum; 28.05.2017 at 09:19.
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Old 27.05.2017, 23:46
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Re: Paying back tax before dog?

Pudding (cat) and Gatsby (dog) where not on our moving inventory- when we arrived at the border we went to the office with Gatsby's passport - and went to the Commune a couple of days later. If you don't make a point to declare a dog- then it is their word against yours -and it is bound to make them suspicious too - and they usually win go talk to them.

We never mentionned Pudding- and we had no documentation for her, passport or even vacs. Paid local tax for whole year for Gatsby. As our new cat was found with a leg hanging off and he was treated and amputated in France- we have a proper passport for him.
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Old 27.05.2017, 23:52
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Re: Paying back tax before dog?

Thanks everyone for the comments and advice. The consensus seems to be that we should bring up our concern with the commune, which we will do.

A little more information to answer some of the follow-up questions:

My wife took the dog to the vet, where he was registered with AMICUS. She also took him to the police municipale to get him registered for his mandatory tag. As she recalls, neither the vet nor the police clerk asked her to provide the dog's arrival date. We think one of them likely just took down the start date on her permit as the presumed date of the dog's entry.

My question about whether this was worth pursuing came from an understanding that we would need to produce some sort of official documentation in order to contest a tax bill, which we don't have. It's encouraging that many responses suggest that the commune should be reasonable if we just explain our situation.

Finally, perhaps we should have declared the dog at the border, but as I recall the crossing point we drove through was unmanned at the time of our entry, so we just went through. Thanks again for your help.
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Old 27.05.2017, 23:57
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Re: Paying back tax before dog?

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perhaps we should have declared the dog at the border, but as I recall the crossing point we drove through was unmanned at the time of our entry, so we just went through.
This was wrong on your part.

Tom
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Old 28.05.2017, 09:04
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Re: Paying back tax before dog?

In my commune, the cut off date is 1st June. If your dog arrives between January 1st and May 31st, you pay the full year of taxes. From 1st June onwards, you pay only half. Might it be the case for you too?

And I distinctly remember that we filled in a form where we had to precise the date of arrival/acquisition.
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Old 28.05.2017, 13:29
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Re: Paying back tax before dog?

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In my commune, the cut off date is 1st June. If your dog arrives between January 1st and May 31st, you pay the full year of taxes. From 1st June onwards, you pay only half. Might it be the case for you too?

And I distinctly remember that we filled in a form where we had to precise the date of arrival/acquisition.
The dog tax is paid annually in our village, chf 120 payable in April. If your dog passes away within the first 6 months after the tax has been paid, the balance is refunded.
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Old 28.05.2017, 13:58
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Re: Paying back tax before dog?

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We never mentionned Pudding- and we had no documentation for her, passport or even vacs.
You were lucky they didn't see her. You should have had a passport for her with her microchip details and her up to date vaccination records including rabies. You're not supposed to bring cats into Switzerland without those. (possibly a note from a vet saying she was healthy too but I'm not sure if that was just for the rabbit)
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