Communal/Federal Tax for expats?

Dear community,

I am wondering if any of you are in the same situation and how is the tax policy in this case for expats in Switzerland.

  • Working and living in Switzerland for +4 years
  • Permis B owner

I received few months ago a paper saying I need to make my online tax declaration which I did (I only have salary revenue so it was easy). Last week, I received a tax statement to pay +2.6k Federal Tax and + 1.8k cantonal & communal tax for a total of +4k.

While I’m 99.9% sure there is no mistake and that all this is correct, my question is: why this is the first time/year I have to pay this knowing that I’ve been working/living here since 2019 ? Has something changed recently?

I don’t know a LOT about how all this works but I thought that as an expat, the withholding tax system is applied (impôt à la source). What am I missing here ?

Thanks a lot and looking forward to hear from you.

  • A tax declaration is mandatory if one is earning > 120k. Maybe you crossed the threshold.
  • Withholding tax and communal/federal tax have different tax rates, so it’s expected that taxes after filling a tax declaration differ from the withholding tax.
    • There is one withholding tax rate for the entire canton, it’s based on the average tax rates of the municipalities.
    • Once one fills a tax declaration, the tax rate is based on the tax rate of the municipality, which might be higher or lower than the average.

Also if you have more than XXk of wealth (thresholds depends on Canton, but if you would have to pay wealth tax, then you have to fill) or have significant revenues beyond salary.

…not after you have a settled resident permit (C permit).

EDIT: sorry, I kind of got fixated on your „4+ years“ when reading your post. When does your B permit run out?

What kind of triggers me is that the federal tax is higher than with Quellensteuer, and that should not change (at least not much).

So I would check if you correctly made all the deductions you can make (3a, travel to work, food for lunchbreak etc.).

But otherwise I agree with my predecessors. Could be you live in a high tax municipality for your canton (e.g. Zurich in canton Zurich).

Without much more details it will not be possible to make a better assessment.

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If this claim has been made, a full tax return procedure is due.

I understood he did and that a reduced tax return is not possible anymore anyway (could be some cantons still have it though). Anyway, all of it is speculations without more details.

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Hi, for me and my partner living in Zurich, we also got such letters the first time we did the “full tax declaration” to deduct mainly 3a.
After a quick email to the tax office telling them that we were already taxed at source with amount XXX for that year, they sent a new letter with essentially 0 CHF owed, and a few months later we got an updated taxed-at-source statement with the new numbers from the tax declaration and how much money we would get back.

Maybe writing or calling them could fix this quickly, if it actually is the same thing. :slight_smile: