Wealth tax - Does it include cash in a bank account?

Hello Mustachians

I am not getting the concept of wealth tax. If I am an expat with B permit, and I keep putting my monthly savings in a simple bank account (yeah, I know I should go for ETFs…) do I have to declare it and pay taxes for it when it reaches a certain amount?

I am not doing a tax declaration because I am taxed at source. I am not getting interest on that money on the bank account as far as I know.

Please help! I am kinda lost :-/

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Yes, if it reaches the threshold amount for wealth tax

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Thanks paul. Where should I find such thresholds?

It is detailled on the website of your canton.
It may vary between canton but should be above 86 kchf by adult.

The tax software will calculate everything for you anyway so no need to worry about it.

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Thanks @FunnyDjo . But what is the logic behind this? It doesn’t make any sense. If the money comes from my salary and I don’t earn interest with it and I already paid taxes for it (every month I get the deductions from my salary), why should I pay for saving?

It sounds like negative interest

You could read this thread with real-life example:

Anything you save and own above this threshold will be taxed between 0,16-0,3 %.

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That’s the difference between wealth tax and income tax. Dividends and interests are taxed as income. And in addition there is a tax on wealth that is independent on any income generated from it. But this is compensated by having no tax on capital gains.

For people taxed at source there is a threshold on wealth and on additional income below which no declaration is needed because it is considered to be covered by the tax at source.

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It’s probably a complex matter. I’d say it’s an incentive to have capital working, that’s teamed up with tax-free capital gains.

Capital can generate income. That income is taxed so gaining income through making the capital work could be seen as discouraging investing capital to generate income. By taxing both idle and working capital, idle capital is sure to generate a loss, while it should not be too difficult to generate positive after-tax returns on working capital (as stated by @FunnyDjo, the level of wealth tax is pretty low).

As stated by @ProvidentRetriever, it also allows tax free capital gains to still be taxed in some way.

I’d look at the tax system not as a system designed to be fair and help us gain riches but as a system made to make our economy more productive, more imaginative and more resilient.

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That’s a nice way to see it!

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Also, there is a threshhold on income in CH which triggers the need of making a full tax declaration, as well as income earned on the side which is much lower (e.g. you have a rental abroad or a side gig)

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Yeah, makes sense in a way… but keep in mind knowing how to put capital at work COSTS MONEY also. Because time is money and risk is money also. They are not going to refund you if you loose money investing. Ridiculous.

So guys, suppose I hit the threshold this year. I understand I will have to declare it next year (2023) because the tax declaration for 2022 is done on 2023. Right?

Eh. * shrugs * This is all my personal opinion and in no way mandatorily true but I find the swiss system to be pretty smartly designed to make us more competitive than other systems and well positioned on a worldwide basis. It has its flaws but it’s been working pretty well so far.

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Yeah, definitely the swiss model seems better than others. My feeling is that they try to be very fair and don’t treat taxpayers as criminals by default. No complaints about it. It is just that this case feels like double-taxation or negative interest and I just don’t get it. Meh.

Thanks mate :slight_smile:

There are easy ways to avoid wealth taxes if your NW is low and you keep a lot of cash. We have the Bankgeheimnis… Just don’t overdo it and don’t be stupid

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Having Wealth tax push also people to prepare their retirement plan.
You can also maxout your 3rd pillar or buy back 2nd pillar as the savings in it are not subject to this tax.

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So you mean my bank will never tell the tax authorities my amount of cash in the bank? So they will not know, so no need to do tax declaration.

haha well… why people declare things then? If there is no way for the Swiss authorities to access your financial information… ?

In my case it is not also the wealth taxes but the amount of time spent and also probably money spent on a tax advisor (I don’t speak the language of my canton and the info is not in english)

Now you know, why so many rich people love Switzerland :wink: Why not use their habits for us as well?

As I said… If they have a reasonable doubt that your declaration is true, they probably will ask questions (too much wealth gain/too little spent and stuff like that). When they have you on the hook, then they can ask the banks to cooperate, but if you don’t overdo it, it’s basically accepted to a certain point.

Alse be clear that if you hide stocks f. e. you lose withholding tax and stuff like that. Just don’t overdo it, but use this information in your favor. You can’t hide accounts you already declared f. e. And the money is basically “black” - so don’t try to buy anything super expensive like a house or so by using it - that would trigger investigations

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Don’t forget that most foreign countries (at least the ones you’d actually keep a substantial part of your wealth in) do report to the Swiss tax authorities.

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