Swiss Tax at Source for Person Employed in Switzerland but Resident in a Different Country

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  • BenutzernameMoneyland User Questions
  • Status Member
  • Registriert seit1/27/17
  • Beiträge2142

Dear Sir/Ma'am,

I am an employee of a company that has its legal seat in Geneve. I am asking for a little help to clarify my situation, or perhaps you can point me in the right direction. Either way, your input is deeply appreciated.

Since the company is seated in Geneve, we are all taxed at source on our gross in Switzerland.  This amounts in my case to about 800-900 EUR/month. However, since I am not a Swiss resident/citizen (I am a EU citizen) this money does not provide any benefit for myself whatsoever.

I read on your website that in certain situations, a certain part of the yearly tax could be directed to a Pillar 3 account as a pension contribution.

Now my question is if myself, as a non-resident or citizen of Switzerland, but paying tax at source here could benefit from the same prescription and have some 6300 CHF (I don't remember the exact amount) transferred into a bank account each year as a Pillar 3a contribution in Switzerland. Or maybe there are other mechanisms we could use to get some utility out of these money (more than 10.000 EUR/year paid as tax at source by me this year alone)?

Any information or advice would be highly appreciated.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

  • BenutzernameMoneyguru von
  • OrtSchweiz
  • Status Expert
  • Registriert seit8/4/15
  • Beiträge4016

Hi there, is not a tax consultancy service. Because there are many factors which affect your tax status, it may be helpful to consult with a specialized tax advisor. Here is some general information which may apply to your situation.

Switzerland has tax agreements with numerous countries (including most European Union and European Free Trade Association member countries) which prevent double taxation. What this means for you as a person who is employed in Switzerland but residing in a different country is that – assuming your country of residence has a double taxation agreement with Switzerland – you may be able to get the money which you pay as tax as source in Switzerland refunded either in full or within the limit of taxes due in your country of residence.

When you are granted a refund of your Swiss tax at source, the entire income which you earn in Switzerland becomes fully taxable in your country of residence.

The exact rules applicable to your situation depend on a number of factors. These include: The country which you reside in (individual tax agreements apply to individual countries); the tax laws of the canton and municipality which you are employed in; whether you live in a country bordering Switzerland (special agreements apply to these countries); whether you are fully resident in a different country or also reside in Switzerland part-time. The taxes which are covered by double taxation agreements differ between individual agreements with different countries.

In order to reclaim tax at source you will need to provide a certificate of tax residence from the tax authority of your country of residence to prove that you declare your income and pay taxes in your country of residence. Normally, your Swiss employer will handle the tax refund claim for you and forward your certificate of tax residence to the cantonal tax authority to claim the tax refund.

Pillar 3a

Anyone working in Switzerland and contributing to a Swiss Old Age and Disability Insurance (OASI) scheme is technically eligible to use third pillar retirement saving vehicles, including 3a savings accounts, 3a life insurance policies and 3a retirement funds.

However, whether or not you can claim the 3a tax deduction depends on the double taxation agreement between Switzerland and your country of residence. In some cases, you may not be able to claim this deduction.

If you pay tax at source in Switzerland and do not reclaim it, you may be able to claim the 3a deduction – along with other relevant tax deductions – by requesting a tax deduction form for tax at source payers from your cantonal tax authority ahead of the tax season.

Best regards from Moneyguru