Reclaim withholding tax on Irish based ETF?

Based on the some leaked information from Finpension website from this tread Finpension invest – a new robo-advisor for non-3a ETF investments - #44 by Luk_nuts, it could be possible to reclaim US withholding tax for irish based ETFs.

The applicable regulationis Fedlex, but Ireland hasn’t conclude a double imposition treaty with Switzerland.
Any idea on which law or court case, would this tax reclaim rule be based?

(I have found this slide which could bring some information: https://www.walderwyss.com/assets/content/publications/210518-Swissholdings-Tax-Credit-final.pdf)

Information from Finpension

We also offer reporting for the flat-rate tax credit (DA-1) of US withholding tax within selected ETFs. With a US dividend yield of around 2 % and a withholding tax of 15 %, the flat-rate tax credit generates a yield advantage of 0.30 % for you. Read on to find out whether your canton allows the lump-sum tax credit with our reporting.

In accordance with the Ordinance on the Crediting of Foreign Withholding Taxes, you can apply for a lump-sum tax credit on foreign withholding taxes.

Prerequisite:

You must declare the income for which the lump-sum tax credit is requested gross and without tax credits.
In accordance with the Federal Law on Direct Federal Taxes, neither reclaimable nor creditable foreign withholding taxes can be deducted from taxes.

iShares Core S&P 500 UCITS ETF (IE00B5BMR087)
iShares NASDAQ 100 UCITS ETF USD (Acc) (IE00B53SZB19)
iShares MSCI USA ESG Enhanced UCITS ETF USD (IE00BHZPJ908)
iShares S&P 500 Paris-Aligned Climate UCITS ETF USD (IE00BMXC7V63)
iShares Developed Markets Property Yield UCITS ETF USD (Dist) (IE00B1FZS350)
iShares S&P 500 CHF Hedged UCITS ETF (Acc) (IE00B88DZ566)?

iShares US Property Yield (IE00B1FZSF77)?

6 Likes

I found a document which kind of explains what is going on here. This covers residents in three countries (where person is resident, where income is generated , where company is located)

If I were to guess, ishares ETFs might have figured out a way to issue tax credits for Swiss investors for the non-recoverable WHT

1 Like

There is a DTAA between Ireland and Switzerland

1 Like

I think this part talks about permanent establishments of foreign companies. “Schweizerische Betriebsstätte eines ausländischen Unternehmens” according to the “Merkblatt über die Anrechnung ausländischer Quellensteuern” (German). So not you or me. But this is some hard Legalese and I might have missed something.

This is the original DTA from 1965. It has been amended multiple times. For example, in 2012 they revised the whole article about dividends, which includes a withholding tax of 15% (was 10% in 1965). Here the press release including the protocol.

1 Like

I was thinking that for some reason ishares (Ireland) might be that entity . But I of course don’t understand the whole thing

They are not on Fedlex in the annex

Yeah I saw that. I didn’t quite understand why Ireland was not mentioned. The only reason I can think of is that since we are talking about „in between company“ and Ireland doesn’t apply withholding taxes on ETFs, maybe they are out of scope for this „non reclaimable“ taxes

I do see US on this list and that’s what matters as the source country of income generation

PWC mention dividend withholding tax exemptions for non-residents resident in DTT states and list a 0% treaty rate. Which, as I understand it (?), means no non-refundable withholding tax.

On their new website, you can find the following statement:

We also offer reporting for the flat-rate tax credit (DA-1) of US withholding tax within selected ETFs. With a US dividend yield of around 2 % and a withholding tax of 15 %, the flat-rate tax credit generates a yield advantage of 0.30 % for you (subject to authorisation by your tax authority).

According to their strategy, they do not offer any US-ISIN instruments at all. Does DA-1 also apply to IE ETF, e.g. IE00B5BMR087? I had the understanding that DA-1 only applies to US-ISINs, since IE already has some tax advantage w.r.t. withholding taxes.

Interesting, if that works shouldn’t the ictax data be updated so that it works for everyone?

Do you have a plan for this (eg get a few Canton to accept this and use it to convince the estv dept?)

We have now released the page regarding the new tax reporting: https://finpension.ch/en/reporting-for-the-lump-sum-tax-credit-for-withholding-taxes-on-us-dividends/

10 Likes

Question: If Tax Authorities approve this, what will happen next? Everyone will start to do the same (we don’t need a Finpension account for this), tax authorities get swamped with requests like this (that they can no longer validate properely given the complexity) and over time, the tax office will either directly include these figures into ICTAX, or they will come down with a ruling that this doesn’t work. So what happens here is that FP triggers an interesting conversation on whether we should be able to claim lost L1 WHT and receive “foreign tax credits” or not. But mid-long term, this advantage of FP will evaporate.

For me to understand this comment. Who is included in everyone? Are you referring to wealth management companies or who exactly?

That‘s a game changer for ucits funds!

I hope this conversion is held, as it‘s sorely needed. Also tax credits on other ex-US holdings.

Question is how much impact this can potentially have and how much the federal government likes it. We are probably talking billions of taxes here potentially.

This is a multi-millions to billions market. When Tax authorities approve this, it will be a matter of time until someone opens an online service that generates these reports for you. Its a traditional fixed cost business. Takes you loads of money to parse the ETF’s annual reports, but post this you can sell this at scale.

There are already online players that prepare all the paperwork to reclaim WHT on direct share ownership; they will probably jump on this boat fairly fast.

You can as well see it differently. A FP portfolio with an S&P 500 ETF, a Nasdaq ETF and a Developped Markets Propperty Yield ETF… such portfolio will probably generate a DA-1 attachment worth 500 pages or so. I just can’t believe that Tax authorities will bother to read through these reports; chances that they either upload this information in ICTAX - or just ban this, changes are very high.

1 Like

I share your view. We are talking about billions of taxes. Notably, taxes that Switzerland can’t reclaim from abroad. To my understanding, DA-1 comes from the Swiss Tax Revenues.

There was a trend that even wealth managers moved from direct share holding to ETF. So we talk about substantial amounts of money that would be interested in this.

When you think about it, considering Market Cap the problem is the biggest with US Shares, but its fundamentally a global one. Once this is passed for US Shares, it will soon be challenged for non-US ones. It only takes one Engin that parses ETF’s annual reports and that’s it.

IF this was approved by Tax Authorities, this would cost us billions of Swiss Tax revenues. And it would take a gazillion of tax admins to run through all these reports.

I think it was an interesting idea to challenge this, but I just don’t see how this could fly long-term. Instead of investing these money into a technical solution - I think the political / policy making approach would have been a wiser course of investment. But this as well testifies a bit FinPension’s approach we already see with Pillar 3A where FP is borderline to breaking the rules on investment limitations. I guess they don’t like the policy making / political approach but just try things and aim to establish a new normal from their end.

1 Like

This law is not new. I think it’s 2-3 year old ordinance.
Finpension is first one to actually make use of it for their clients. This is great work

Now that they have shown us the path, the question I have is following

  • if I own IUSA ETF or SPY5 and I have proof that I owned them on the dates dividend were paid
  • dividend distribution report from underlying US securities

Can I claim the credit myself using DA-1 form?

1 Like

@Bojack Do you want to roll the last 4, 5 posts into the new Thread on reclaiming L1 WHT on IE ETF?

We would need to see to see if all cantons accept that.
This would also mean that with a global fund, the investor could also get tax refund from other countries.