Me and my girlfriend live in BS. We are currently looking into the option of moving to ZH.
One thing that I’m still not sure I’ve properly understood is the difference in the taxing system.
BS works like this:
During the calendar year 2021 I’ve received inpayment slips for the tax year 2021 that I could pay or just ignore.
This year, in 2022, I’ll submit my tax declaration for 2021.
I have to make sure, in my own interest, that I have paid what I estimate to be my 2021 tax bill by May 31st 2022. On any payments before that I get a little interest and after that I will be charged a penalty rate.
The final bill usually comes in autumn and any outstanding amounts must be paid within 30 days. If I’ve made too high advance payments the money will be carried over to the following tax year, or I can request a payout.
So in other words: In BS you pay taxes for the previous year, due date is end of May of the following year, no mandatory payments until the final assessment comes in some time later.
Now how exactly does this work in ZH?
In ZH taxes are billed throughout the current year.
So if we move to ZH this year, will the tax office already want to see money for this year? If I understand the system correctly these payments are not mandatory? But there will be a penalty rate for any 2022 taxes not paid by the end of the year?
Same in ZH, as far as I can tell. You can also pay less or more than the provisional tax bill if you estimate the provisional tax bill to be off. You can also ask for a correction of the provisional tax bill, however, this shouldn’t be necessary unless the estimate is way off.
Same everywhere in Switzerland, as far as I know.
In ZH the relevant date is the 1st of October of the tax year, i.e., 1st of October 2021 in this case. However, the interest rate for paying after that date (but before the due date of the final tax bill) is the same as the interest rate you get for paying before that date. This is called ‘Ausgleichszins’ in ZH and was 0.25% p.a. in 2021, possibly the same in 2022.
I usually pay a bit more than the estimated tax amount monthly during the tax year. This means that I typically get a tiny bit of interest (because in average my money arrives in the middle of the year, 3 months before 1st of October). I like it for cash flow reasons.
I always get the final tax bill in January or February in tax year + 2. I.e., I’m expecting the final tax bill for 2020 within the next few weeks. However, this seems to vary wildly between towns and may depend on the complexity of your tax declaration (full assessment of complex tax declarations is typically handled by the canton, not the town).
If you haven’t paid enough in advance, you also have to pay within 30 days of the final bill in ZH. After that you’d have to pay a penalty of currently 4.5% p.a. And payment will be enforced, if necessary.
If your advance payments were higher than the final tax bill, the amount is either paid out or carried over to the next tax year. Carry-over can also happen before the final tax bill. E.g. they sent me a new provisional tax bill for 2020 last July after filing the tax declaration, mentioning that the overpaid amount is rolled over to the tax year 2021. I didn’t get this in earlier years. This may depend on how much you overpaid.
You’ll get a provisional tax bill for the current year soon after you move. If the provisional tax bill arrives by June 30, the due date is 1st of October as mentioned. If the provisional tax bill arrives in the second half of the year, the due date is 1st of January, 2023. Paying after that date should still only impose interest of 0.25% p.a., as I understand it. I.e. the most important thing is to pay your final tax bills in time. Personally, I prefer paying in close proximity of the corresponding income.
All of the above is for state taxes, i.e. cantonal and communal. Federal tax bills and payments are separate. You get a provisional federal tax bill by 1st of March after the tax year, which I think you have to pay within 30 days, if you want to avoid penalties. The final federal tax bill should arrive at the same time as the final state tax bill but it’s a separate bill. Paid amounts are never transferred between state taxes and federal taxes, as far as I know. And there is no ‘Ausgleichszins’ for federal tax payments. If you pay provisional and final tax bills within 30 days, there will be no interest. If your final tax bill is higher than the provisional one, the difference will be paid out.