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Nowadays, life can be extremely complicated and busy. At Swissential, we stand firmly by our clients and will always support them the best we can. This said, we also understand the position of the tax authorities.

Too often in people’s mind: Taxed at source = Nothing else to worry about. This is simply wrong.

The main reasons for this we have encountered throughout our daily work and interactions with international professionals are, in order:

  1. Real ignorance of how the system works (the individual has no concept he/she is doing something wrong)
  2. Faked Ignorance – due to a lack of interest or a potential loss from doing things right by the authorities (ex: increase in taxes when declaring a foreign property)

Switzerland is one of the very few countries that levy a wealth tax on its tax residents. To be precise, the cantons levy such taxes. You will therefore pay more wealth tax depending on the canton in which you live, and also the municipality where you live within that canton.

We thought we would draw your attention to a few things, so you cannot say you did not know. When you are taxed at source you should be declaring your wealth by filing a separate form when above a certain threshold …. so that you can unfortunately be taxed on your wealth if it is appropriate:

  1. CHF82’839 for a single person living in Geneva
  2. CHF165’678 for a married couple living in Geneva
  3. CHF112’000 for a married couple living in the canton of Vaud

Your wealth is composed of all your bank deposits, investments and properties, in Switzerland or outside. The main problem of doing something wrong without knowing is that you then do it wrong all subsequent years increasing the likelihood of getting caught. Considering taxes can be backdated for 10 years and penalties applied, the price of one single repeated mistake can be dear.

In a new world, with automatic exchange of information and increased transparency, ignorance is no longer a medicine of choice.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but it is for your own good.

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