Where do I pay taxes if I rent 2 apartments?

I currently have a very, very cheap rent in a high tax canton (Zurich) but I want to move to a low tax canton (Zug) in the near future.

Since my rent is very low and I do not mind paying it, and since I want to spend Friday and Saturday nights in Zurich, is it possible to rent both places at the same time, but have as my main place of residence Zug, and pay taxes in Zug?

Will the tax authorities accept things like electricity consumpion on weekdays to verify where I really live? Or something similar.

Alternatively, can I sublet my apartment in Zurich for ~1 year while I live in Zug, just in case I regret moving to Zug, and want to have the option to return to Zurich?

cries in a real high tax canton

Your taxes are due in the canton and city where your main residence / “center of life” is situated (“Lebensmittelpunkt”). It is up to you to prove said situation to either tax authorities (different rules and requirements in each canton may apply).

IMHO: If you work in ZH and have family and friends in ZH I doubt a energy bill is sufficient…


At first I thought you were one of those profiting from very special rent prices (locked). But maybe you have a high salary and you don’t mind paying a “lowish” rent.

You plan to spend 5 days in Zug and 2 in Zurich? Then it’s fine and you wouldn’t have problems, since your center of life would be in Zug.
You usually have problems if you want residence in Zug but you spend there only two days. In that case you’d need to show electricity bills from Zurich, showing that you don’t consume much there.

I might have misundrestood, since @clon seem to have understood the opposite.

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I’m not sure about that. If @nkbhnomfcmmwxdlula wants to spend their weekends in Zurich and only work in Zug, that sounds like someone who would be classified as Wochenaufenthalter in Zug while the tax residence would remain Zurich. I’m definitely not an expert on this topic, so this might be wrong.


I’m not an expert but I was a W18r. It’s the opposite. Center of life Zug, Weekends in Zurich. Do not mix up the “center of life” meaning for law and real life :slight_smile: Even if you have 0 life in Zug, you are working there so they suppose that’s where your center of life is. If you have a family in Zurich then you can complain and say your center of life is in Zurich. Maybe if your family is in Zurich, the tax office of Zurich will complain, but that’s the opposite of what OP is doing.

What OP is basically doing is:

  • rent and work in Zug
  • move residence there
  • pay taxes there.

The only “strange” thing is that someone in Zurich will get a rent paid by someone who’s not living there. Depending on what s/he mean with “low rent”. this last point could give problems with the company getting paid the rent. Especially if the “company” is in fact the city (and that will also be very very shady and amoral)

I would be very careful with that. Steuerrechtlicher Wohnsitz natürlicher Personen - TaxInfo - Kanton Bern (sadly only in German) contains the legal basis. What ultimately matters is your center of life and there are no formal criteria for that. In the past, there have been many legal proceedings for high earners and if you look at the rulings, the judge usually looked at many factors (where are the cars parked, how many people do you know in each canton, in which clubs are you, how large are the different apartments, etc…). See for instance 2C_170/2019. Different circumstances, but you see how judges approach these cases. And the cantonal tax office often gets curious when you move to a canton with lower taxes, but keep your apartment (as in the case above).

The thing @ma0 mentioned is also addressed in this link. According to a federal court ruling, there is a natural assumption that your place of work is also your center of life. But that’s not a legal guarantee.

So if you do not want to have problems with the Zurich tax office, I’d either sublet your apartment (should be no problem, as long as your landlord is informed) or cancel the lease completely.

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That’s a fairly common thing to do.

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It’s legal to rent a 2nd, 3rd or 4th place anywhere you want if you can afford it, unless there is some law or rental contract that says otherwise.

In fact I am renting a 2nd apartment in another city for particular reasons. (The apartment is inhabited so I am not depriving anyone of valuable living space.)

The key question is if you can claim a tax deduction for a part of the rent you pay in the 2nd (3rd etc) place. This usually works only if you spend the night there regularly for work or education. As far as I know there is no specific law against it.

The tax authorities of Zurich may question if you actually are working and living in Zug. Just keep a lot of proof from ZG, like shopping receipts, doctor’s bills, gym subscriptions, and you should be fine. It is also recommended to keep a journal of what days you spent the night in ZH or ZG.

Vasella had to pay millions of back taxes and penalties because he couldn’t prove he spent enough time in Monaco (in fact he didn’t).

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Imho if you just move to Zug and pay the rent in Zurich and do not try to declare it as tax deduction, you’ll be fine.
And with fine I mean that Zurich might send you a letter asking why. What @0xLambda says is probably 100% correct, but sounds a bit scary. We are in Switzlerand. If Zurich have an issue with it, they will ask you about it first.

Note: I suppose you are not a “high earner”.

Yes definitely, I did not want to imply that you directly get sued or anything like that. I just know a few people where they asked and did not accept the provided documents. This can be cumbersome because you either accept their decision (meaning you have to pay the tax difference) or go to court.

My rent is just cheap relative to my salary, and also cheap relative to the current market prices.

The situation I want to have is the following, since there was a misunderstanding:

  • Work in Zurich
  • Live 5 days per week in Zug (do all my shopping there (e.g. supermarket) and keep the receipts as proof).
  • Live 2 days per week in Zurich
  • No kids, or any dependents benefiting from Zurich’s social services.

I do not know what a high earner is. Hundrends of thousands of CHF, or tens of millions of CHF?

At the very least it seems subletting is OK.

If you get caught (in practice, unlikely given the proximity of the two cities and the “banality” of that), it wouldn’t hold up. Commonly accepted practice is that a single professional’s “center of life” is the workplace.

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Well, if you sublet your apartment, I don’t know how anyone can accuse you of not living in Zug.


That can’t be true right? All the people I know pay tax where they live and not where they work (when workplace is in another canton/commune) or did I understand something wrong?

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Are you for real? We’re talking about solving the tax residence conflict. What you described has nothing to do with that.

Domicile fiscal: une notion complexe - Actualités - Canton Communes has some pointers, it doesn’t seem obvious that place of work = tax domicile.


No reason to get angry dude. I specifically asked if I misunderstood something.

I think where your tax residency is, which is different if you are married or in a registered partnership or in a leading position at work or as weekly resident, is described in this document already posted.

But yes seems like the default for a single person is to assume the center of interest is the work place (but doesn’t seem like a hard rule, it can also go the other way with good reasons).

The probably means it’s unlikely that the OP plan is challenged tho.

Which is what I said in the first place. OP’s question leans towards the specific case of what is known as “Alleinstehende Wochenaufenthalter” and so was my initial answer.

After long discussion one important question - where is your regular workplace located? If you work in Zug that my be fine with your appartment in Zurich for weekends. But if your regular workplace is in Zurich spending life in Zug midweeks and on weekends staying in Zurich (your regular workplace) some problems may popup with your tax officer.