Income tax at-source (foreigners w/o C permit) - Simplified extra deductions vs. Full tax return

From this tax year (2021) those of us who are taxed at source (Impôt à la source / Quellensteuern) will need to file a full return if we want to get deductions for Pillar 3a contributions, childcare costs, educational expenses, and a few other things. Previously this was done via a simplified process with a simple form (1 page in my canton!).

I have looked into what that assumptions are for the at-source income tax rates and I am now wondering whether the old system was actually better in our case. For example, in my canton, about 4k CHF is assumed in transport costs. I ride my bicycle everywhere. Also, dividend income will need to be declared, whereas with the simplified old system it did not. Having never filed a full return here, I don’t know what to expect. Is it easy just to write down “standard” values for deductions without justification?

As usual, each person’s case will be different (canton, single vs. double earners, kids, taxable wealth, etc.), but I would like to hear from those who have passed from at-source income tax to normal tax return (e.g., got their C permit)… or those who are still on B permit and have looked into this!

I can only say that I’m in the same situation in Fribourg and interested in any info that comes to light.

No idea about Fribourg, but at least in Zurich (city) tax at source was definitely a better deal than having to declare (I always ended up paying extra).

Another reason is that the tax at source rate is based on the cantonal average, so if the city you live in has a higher tax rate, you already know you’ll be losing.

Note that in any case many cantons lowered the thresholds for mandatory declaration, for instance now in ZH, if you have >80k in assets or >3k in non salaried income, you have to declare anyway.

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I moved to the ZRH City last year in March, so if I am taxed at Source does it mean for me that I should not declare taxes and not deduct 3a?

You might have to in any case (if salary > 120k, wealth >80k, or non salaried income >3k, but there might be other cases).

If you don’t have to, maybe just compute if it’s worth it vs. the default tax at source (but if you don’t declare, then probably you don’t want to contribute to 3a)

Got this from a friend. It seems that it’s not worth it anymore. The new system is def. worse for B permit holders. Most will be better off by not paying into the 3rd pillar.


Interesting. Is that from UBS? I can’t find this document online.

This matches more or less with what I found after using the simple tax calculator online. I think in my case I may still get some money back as my wife only works part time yet they apply a withholding tax rate to me assuming a higher salary for her. And we also have 1000s of francs in daycare fees to claim too.

But from January I will definitely hold off contributing to my 3a until I’ve run the numbers correctly…

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What is the meaning of the different colours (red, black, …) ?

Where do you derive the conclusion from ?

Red: You’ll pay more taxes if you fill in a complete tax declaration with full 3a contribution.
Black: You’ll pay less taxes.
White: Very small difference, not worth bothering.

Before the new system you always saved on taxes with 3a contributions (15-25% with B-permit).


Hello Oliver, Hello everyone,
I’m in the same case as you in Fribourg. I made my research these days.

If we take back the example from UBS with 110kCHF above :

  • At-source tax : 18 282 CHF
  • Complete tax declaration :
    • Net income ~96 700 CHF (and 100kCHF fortune)
    • After standard deductions (Car to work 1k, Food outside home 1,6k, LaMal 4,8k, Other 3% 2,9k, Full 3A contribution 6,8k) taxable income ~80 000 CHF
    • According to FriTax App = Total Taxes 15 650 CHF

So on this case it seems quite interesting to do the full tax declaration.
What I don’t know is why the have 18 099 CHF on the table from UBS…
Hope I did it right… :grimacing: