The Pillar 3a Tutorial

Hi all!
I’m considering to contribute to my 3A (better late than never, right? :smiley: )
I’ll probably use Finpension for now, because I can open my account online, send them the money on Monday, which they receive before the end of this year.
Two questions:

  1. When do I usually get the form (which I have to include to my tax declaration) about my contribution? I guess it should arrive before March, right?
  2. I’m using the following online calculator to determine my tax burden*: . Is this calculator reliable? I know it’s on the official site, but each online calculator shows me different taxes. I need to know which is outdated or trustworthy.

*: I moved to CH this january and this is my first time doing this. I’m taxed at source, but have an income >120k, so I have to fill tax declaration anyways.


Which other calculators shows different rate? Looks roughly correct, but you could check your canton’s tax office website as well.

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Would you know where I can read more to close my 3A insurance to migrate to VIAC or Finpension? Thank you

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For example at viac:

After you have downloaded our app and completed the opening process, you will enter your personal VIAC cockpit. There you click on the function element “Deposit”, select “Transfer” and you will see your ready-made transfer order, which you can send to a desired e-mail address. All you need to do is print this order, complete it with the details of the existing pension relationship and the number of the retirement savings account to be closed and send it to the Terzo Pension Foundation.

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The calculation of the wealth tax in the wiki post doesn’t look correct to me. Let’s assume a single tax resident in the city of Zurich without church taxes (total 219%).

  • With a taxable net worth of CHF 308k, the marginal wealth tax rate is 0.22% up to CHF 694k.
  • With a taxable net worth of CHF 694k, the marginal wealth tax rate is 0.33% up to CHF 1.3M
  • With a taxable net worth of CHF 1.3M, the marginal wealth tax rate is 0.44% up to CHF 2.2M

The marginal wealth tax rate is what you save each year on your 3a assets by having your money in 3a instead of taxable accounts. If it crosses into the next tax bracket, you need to calculate a mixed tax rate, however, unlike what the current graph in the wiki would suggest, the wealth tax in Zurich is progressive. The maximum marginal wealth tax rate is 0.66%.

I.e., depending on your tax residency, the savings in wealth tax are far from negligible if you have significant taxable assets as well. I think of the wealth tax savings as roughly compensating the higher fees of Viac or finpension (compared to low cost ETFs at an inexpensive broker).

Haven’t looked at / used the Wiki, but totally agree with your conclusion. I’m in wealth tax hell, and my wealth tax marginal rate is over the Viac fee. Which leads me to emphasise that the wealth tax marginal rate should be considered, not just the wealth tax rate.

Yes, also 0.67% marginal rate in Basel, from 400k on. Not invisible!

I have tried to find this explicitely somewhere, but I couldn’t find it:
does this mean that capital gain in 3a is taxed (through the Kapitalauszahlung) !?
It would mean that this is the only account where capital gains are taxed (even slightly).

It’s a pre-tax account, so yes any withdrawal is taxed (but it grows tax free).

As long as your marginal tax rate is higher than the capital distribution rate you’ll come out ahead.

Additionally, as long as it is locked in 3a, you don‘t pay any wealth tax on it. Using the 0.67% marginal tax rate you mentioned, this will be 20% over 30 years as well (and I didn‘t include compounding interest on these saved taxes).

« As long as your marginal tax rate is higher than the capital distribution rate you’ll come out ahead. »

…or if you plan to withdraw it when leaving the country, the tax rate that may be payable in the destination country.

Adding since many 3P providers advertise this option

I’ve transferred 3a to PostFinance 3a from a Postfinance account on the 30th Dec.

According to PF the last day of inpayment possible was 29th Dec - so the money has been collected on the checking side, but hasn’t appeared on the 3a side, even though it’s the same institution, it should('ve been) instant.

Does anyone know what happens next? :thinking:


Maybe count as 2022 contribution?

I guess we’ll see on Monday.


Hi @alex_adc ,

If it still helps, I described this in my FAQs about the 3rd pillar, here:

The short answer: with banks you’re safe. With insurances you will lose money. How much is case-dependent. So choose your second-best option, see how much financial benefit it’d bring you, then call your insurance and figure out if it’s worth the loss. You might also be able to negotiate better conditions with your insurance by threatening to quit with the new vendor’s conditions in hand.

As of 2022, my favorite vendor is still Viac. I filter by sustainability too, and describe details in my comparison of sustainable Pillar 3.

I’m also having a big question about 3a. I done some math, and globally it’s 6800chf that you don’t pay tax on, meaning between 1500 and 2500 economy.
But I see nobody arguing that having that money fseely availible can lead to more money at the end of the journey.
In exemple, having your 6800chf 3a sitting on etf with 7% yield means less value, than having 4’800 chf invested in a 10% yield immo project, already after 14 years. And it’s without the taxes of getting the money from 3a.

Is my calculation based on wrong assumptions ? Or is this really a thing. ?

If you think you’ll have better returns than equity, then yes investing in that might be better. (Though given how risky equity already is, it seems a bit far fetched)


I think nothing beats a garantued one-time 25% return and an expexted yearly return of 7%.

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Wouldn’t an expected yearly return of 10% beat that?

Yes but is there such a thing?