Welcome to this first edition of our Blog, which by way of introduction is intended not only to bring a little clarity into the fiscal options for newly arrived resident tax-payers, but also to share our local knowledge on more family-orientated subjects.
Starting with the financial and tax issues, there are products that almost every household should be looking at, offered by both insurance companies and local banks. For someone working and paying taxes in Switzerland these are the “Pillar 3a” tax-deductible segregated savings accounts. Those issued by Swiss-based insurance companies offer a further benefit in that life insurance and disability cover can be included in the package, although the structure is slightly different. It is worthwhile getting independent advice to ensure you are getting value for money and that the product is suitable for your goal.
The amount that can be invested and remain tax-deductible changes each year, subject to inflation, but for the 2020 tax year it is CHF 6,826, available to anyone gainfully employed and who has a pension plan. For those who are earning and do not have a corporate pension fund, this allowance is increased up to CHF 34,128 this fiscal year, up to a maximum of 20% of net income. If this sounds a little complicated, it’s a sector where The Spectrum-IFA Group has plenty of experience!
Most expatriates set up supplementary retirement savings accounts – provided this is within the scope of the above restrictions – and still enjoy certain tax advantages. All the major Swiss banks are keen to compete in attracting new clients, and it really does pay to shop around. Having some professional and independent advice is obviously helpful, but various local government agencies are also able to point you in the right direction (although not always in English!).
As you probably already realise, dear reader, there are a myriad of local, regional and federal regulations which encompass everything from reduced price rail tickets given out by the commune where you live, to the requirement to pay for the refuse sacks which you deposit at the local collection point, down to local festivities which often include wine, food and of course music, offered by the commune (but paid for out of the tax you pay to the commune). Very little is free in this country.
Being centrally situated on the continent of Europe, travel for Swiss-residents looking to move around is both easy and usually punctual, but expensive. Splashing out for a 50% discount rail card can be well worth the while if you use the trains on a regular basis, and with the help of the internet, bargain flights, hotels and holidays are becoming far more reasonable and competitive. Having lived here for over 25 years, I am well-placed to give you some good suggestions and tips!
This Blog will be regularly updated with the latest news and any relative cultural and administrative events – we look forward to hearing from you!