3a as a ANobAG or not?

Hi everyone!

First time posting, but close to a year of reading :slight_smile: as I’m moving to Zürich this August.

Short about me, I’m moving to ZH while working for a US company as an ANobAG. This allows me to contribute the max 35,280 or 20% of my income to 3a and not to invest in pillar 2.

I have around 5M between VWRL and IBIT. Hopefully, within a year or two I would buy a property in Zürich but I’m thinking does it make sense to try to “save on taxes” by depositing the max into 3a and then claiming it 1-2 years later for a purchase of a property? I have the funds that i need in my regular account but if it saves me taxes … why not? Is there some sort of a issue that I don’t see that would prevent me from depositing let’s say 35K in 2024, 35k in 2025 and then taking out 70K to add to the purchase of primary residence? I know there is tax due to early claims but I don’t know how much.

My initial plan was to just take the tax hit because I like to have full control over my investments.

p.s. Independently of real estate purchase, would you go for 3a in my place? 1 or 2 accounts? 1 for RE and one fore retirement?

Thank you!

It seems there might be a withdrawal tax at time of payout from 3a. Rates would vary by canton. Aside from that I don’t know of any other issue.


If you still have to pay tax in the US, you need to consider whether the 3a payment is effective for US taxes.

I have started to write that it’s not possible but then I realized that we are talking about 3a. I would say that there is no straightforward regulation that I know of. Nevertheless this is clearly a tax avoidance scheme and I expected tax authorities to reverse tax deductions once they see that you have completely withdrawn what you have deposited in 2 previous years. If you dig deeper, you might find something in tax instructions of Canton ZH.

I’m not a US citizen. I’m from an EU country.

Oh really? I didn’t know that. I just thought it wouldn’t matter for how long I held it because I saw a lot of posts of people using 2nd and 3rd pillar for the purchase of a property. I thought the idea was also to give a tax rebate on purchasing a home to live.

In any case, I will get a proper consultancy from a tax advisor on this. Thanks!

This is after contributing for decades. For example in case of 2nd pillar the usual practice is: you can’t withdraw what was contributed less than 3 years ago and if you withdraw less than 3 years after making a voluntary contribution, the tax deductions from previous years are reversed. Considering that the 3rd pillar is of similar nature, more or less the same rules can apply.

We just have another discussion about it:

But this is not your case, because in case of people living in Switzerland long time you can argue that you withdraw money that were deposited long time ago while contributing new money in the same year.

Utter rubbish. There’s no restriction on using 3a paid in in previous years. In fact, you can use 3a paid in the same year you buy the house!



Thank you! I knew I saw this somewhere.

Do you know if there is a tax calculator somewhere for early withdrawals?

It is canton dependent, you can see a summary here:

It is not illegal to contribute and then withdraw again for home ownership shortly after, but tax offices are allowed to interfere if it is clear that the round-trip was done with the purpose of avoiding taxes. With the high amounts for people without pension funds, the chance of the tax office having issues with it are higher.

However, AFAIK the absolute worst that could happen if they do have an issue is that they would waive the tax deductions retroactively, so you would come out the same as if you had not done the 3a round trip. But I may be overlooking something.