FI working in International Organization


Hello all,

I work in an international organization in Geneva, which means I don’t pay taxes on my salary. I also have included a pension, so I know nothing about pillars and tax declarations (lucky me).
The idea is to stay working here for some years and if I’m lucky and I can FI, then go somewhere else (Italy, Spain, Greece, Malta, Portugal…).

As from a year ago, I opened an account with Interactive Brokers (UK branch) and I’ve been buying VTI, VWO, VGK and VPL (I thought about VT but I decided to do the allocation myself).

Although my salary is free of taxes, there are some limits. e.g. if I buy a house I would need to pay taxes on it. Which brings me to the question, what should I do with the taxes on my dividends?

So far I’ve filled the W-8BEN form with IB so I’m being withheld “only” 15% from the US.
I have gone to the tax office here in Geneva, but they didn’t know what to tell me. They said an expert would call me later, they took my phone number… and they never called (more than a year since).

Option A.
I don’t have to pay taxes on the dividends. I could even think of filling the DA1 and take back the 15%?

Option B.
I have to pay taxes on my dividends. Then I suppose it’s a total of 30%. I need to declare and probably use the DA1 to avoid double imposition. Then pay another 15% to Switzerland (15% were already held in the US).

Option C.
Legal limbo. I don’t say anything and stay as I am now, only paying 15% to the US and see what happens. Probably not the smartest and might blow in my face eventually.

I’m planning on going again to the tax office and ask, but I wanted to know if there are others in my situation or that might know what to do.



Option D. Pay a lawyer or dig up into relevant treaties yourself and stop looking for free legal advice

I don’t have to pay taxes on the dividends. I could even think of filling the DA1 and take back the 15%?

As you don’t pay taxes to swiss, there’s nothing for them to pay you back via DA1


Thanks for your reply @hedgehog.
Yes, I thought about Option D, but I wanted to run out of free options. I find quite strange that not even in the tax office can tell me how to do it.

The DA1 would be in case I declare to avoid double imposition, unless I missed something I think it makes sense.


They will tell you, but you need to ask specific and concrete questions. Succinctly describe your situation and ask if they want to tax your dividends and whether you should file tax declaration. Forget phone, you need a paper trail here, so email (they would usually reply) or send a letter. If they say “no” and you have proof to back it up, I think that should do it. For even more certainty if it’s about big money, you can ask them for a thing called “tax ruling”, then it’s 100% legally binding to them whatever they reply.

DA1 is for double taxation. From what i see you are not double taxed, but only by US, so swiss have nothing to do with 15% that were taken from you, that’s between you and the IRS.