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Committed to building long-term relationships, we put our self in your shoes to better understand your needs and provide you with a tailored solution for your situation.

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Our objective is to help you reimagine the possible, using convenient technologies and latest way of interaction.

Who we are

“We are a young and dynamic team providing tax consulting and compliance services for expatriates and private clients, across different cultures and countries.”

Do I need to file a tax return since my income is only from Switzerland?

Yes, as long as your 2018 income was over $12,000 ($13,600 65 or older) for single tax payers and $24,000 ($25,300 one spouse >65; $26,600 both spouses >65) for married filing jointly. If your tax filing status is married filing separately the income threshold is $5. If your tax filing status is head of household the income threshold is $18,000 ($19,600 65 or older) and $24,000 if you are a qualifying widow(er) with dependent child ($25,300 65 or older). If you are a US citizen or resident alien, the rules for filing income, estate and gift tax returns and paying estimated tax are generally the same whether you are in the United States or abroad.

Your worldwide income is subject to US income tax, regardless of where you reside. However, there are special benefits (foreign earned income exclusion, foreign tax credit) that US citizens and resident aliens abroad can take advantage of as long as certain requirements are met.

What is the due date of the tax return since I live abroad?

June 15 – If you are a US citizen or resident alien residing overseas on the regular due date of your return, you are allowed an automatic 2-month extension to file your return and pay any amount due without requesting an extension. However, please note that you will be charged interest on payments made after April 15 but will not receive a failure to file or failure to pay penalty. It is best to make all payments by April 15.

To use the automatic extension, you must attach a statement to your return explaining why you qualified (living and working abroad or in military or naval service) for the extension.

October 15 – If you are unable to file your return by June 15 (or don’t meet certain requirements for the foreign earned income exclusion), you can request an additional extension by filing form 4868 before June 15.

Please note that any tax payments due made after June 15 will be subject to both interest charges and failure to pay penalties.

Is it true that non-cash employer provided amounts (housing, food, automobiles, etc) are taxable?

Yes, these items are considered to be included in gross income as long as they are NOT for the convenience of the employer.

Lodging – The fair market value should be included unless the employee is required to accept such lodging on the business premises of his employer as a condition of employment Meals – The fair market value should be  included unless the meals are furnished on the business premises and for the convenience of the employer.
Automobiles – The fair market value (based on one of the 3 automobile valuation rules as published by the IRS) should be included unless the vehicle is used exclusively for business use and substantiation requirements are met.
If an employer-provided vehicle is used for both business and personal purposes, substantiated business use is not taxable to the employee. Personal use is taxable to the employee as wages.

Personal use includes commuting between residence and work station, vacation use, weekend use and use by spouse or dependents.

How are moving expenses treated?

Tax year 2018:

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that was passed in December 2017 eliminated this deduction. If there’s any silver lining, it’s that many of the provisions of the TCJA are not permanent. The moving expense deduction disappears from tax year 2018 through tax year 2025, but it’s scheduled to come back at that time unless Congress intervenes to eliminate it permanently.

 

 

Tax year 2017 and before:

If you moved to a new home because of your job or business, you may be able to deduct the expenses of your move. To be deductible, the moving expenses must have been paid or incurred in connection with starting work at a new job location. When your new place of work is in a foreign country, your moving expenses are directly connected with the income earned in that foreign country.

If all or part of the income that you earn at the new location is excluded under the  foreign earned income exclusion or the housing exclusion, the part of your moving expense that is allocable to the excluded income is not deductible.

What is the foreign tax credit?

If you paid or accrued foreign taxes to a foreign country on foreign source income and are subject to U.S. tax on the same income, you may be able to take either a credit or an itemized deduction for those taxes. Taken as a deduction, foreign income taxes reduce your U.S. taxable income. Taken as a credit, foreign income taxes reduce your U.S. tax liability.

In most cases, it is to your advantage to take foreign income taxes as a tax credit. Once you choose to exclude either foreign earned income or foreign housing costs, you cannot take a foreign tax credit for taxes on income you can exclude. If you do take the credit, one or both of the choices may be considered revoked.

What is the foreign earned income exclusion?

If you are a U.S. citizen or a resident alien of the United States and you live abroad, you are taxed on your worldwide income. However, you may qualify to exclude from income up to an amount of your foreign earnings that is adjusted annually for inflation ($91,500 for 2010, $92,900 for 2011, $95,100 for 2012, $97,600 for 2013, $99,200 for 2014, $100,800 for 2015, $101,300 for 2016, $102,100 for 2017, $104,100 for 2018). In addition, you can exclude or deduct certain foreign housing amounts.

Can I take exemptions?

Tax year 2018:

Starting in the 2018 tax year, personal and tax exemptions are suspended until 2025.

 

Tax year 2017 and before:

You are allowed one exemption for each person you can claim as a dependent. You can claim an exemption for a dependent even if your dependent files a return. The term “dependent” mean a qualifying child or qualifying relative as indicated by the IRS guidelines. Please note that you cannot claim a person as a dependent unless that person is a U.S. citizen, U.S. resident alien, U.S. national, or a resident of Canada or Mexico.

Can I use the standard or itemized deductions?

Yes, depending on the tax payer’s situation they can choose to use the standard or itemized deduction. However, please note that taxpayers cannot deduct foreign sales taxes or value-added-taxes. Also, non-resident aliens, dual-status aliens and individuals who file returns for periods of less than 12 months due to a change in accounting periods are not eligible for the standard deduction.

What is the physical presence test or bona-fide resident and why are they important?

Meeting these tests allows the taxpayer to take the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion, which could tremendously help lower the taxpayer’s yearend tax liability.

Physical Presence Test – You meet the physical presence test if you are physically present in a foreign country or countries 330 full days during a period of 12 consecutive months. The 330 qualifying days do not have to be consecutive. The physical presence test applies to both U.S. citizens and resident aliens.

Bona fide Resident Test – You meet the bona fide residence test if you are a bona fide resident of a foreign country or countries for an uninterrupted period that includes an entire tax year. You can use the bona fide residence test to qualify for the foreign earned income and foreign housing exclusions and the foreign housing deduction only if you are either a US citizen, or a US resident alien who is a citizen or national of a country with which the United States has an income tax treaty in effect.

Do I need to pay quarterly estimated taxes?

You must make estimated tax payments for the current tax year if both of the following apply:
●  You expect to owe at least $1,000 in tax for the current tax year
●  You expect your withholding and credits to be less than the smaller of:
◊ 90% of the tax to be shown on your current year’s tax return, or
◊ 100% of the tax shown on your prior year’s tax return

Do I need to pay quarterly estimated taxes?

Individuals aren’t required to file their tax returns electronically but most tax return preparers are required to use the IRS e-file system. Individual’s choosing to file a paper return must file the return themselves (the preparer can not mail the return for them). Also, they need to provide a written notice to the preparer stating their decision and also stating they were not influenced by the tax preparer to not e-file. The preparer is obligated to explain the law and the benefits of e-filing and also file form 8948 (Preparer explanation for not filing electronically) and attach to the tax return.

Do I need to report foreign accounts?

If you have a financial interest in or signature authority over a foreign financial account, including a bank account, brokerage account, mutual fund, trust, or other type of foreign financial account, the Bank Secrecy Act may require you to report the account yearly by filing the FBAR (Foreign Bank Account Report FinCEN 114) with the BSA E-file System.

US citizens and residents with specified foreign financial assets with an aggregate value exceeding a certain threshold ($50,000 for unmarried taxpayers living in the United States, $200,000 for unmarried taxpayers living outside the United States) must report them to the IRS on Form 8938 (Statement of Specified Foreign Financial Assets), attached to their federal income tax return. The Form 8938 filing requirement does not replace or otherwise affect a taxpayer’s obligation to file the FBAR (Foreign Bank Account Report FinCEN 114).

  • “Very dedicated and knowledgable professional with strong community values and technical skills.

    Tolis Dokianos,

    Switzerland
  • Friendly, fast, trustworthy, competent! Can only recommend.

    Eve Meier,

    Switzerland
  • Patrick is a life saver! We were faced with some really difficult calculations
    when considering moving to Switzerland and he guided us through the entire process from the US tax perspective. I’ve worked with a lot of people and it is rare to have someone who can communicate so clearly and effectively to someone who is not a tax expert ? He answers emails lightening-quick too. I highly recommend Patrick.

    Ben Welch-bolen,

    Switzerland
  • Are you a U.S. expatriate living and working in Europe and need full assistance and consultation to fulfil
    your U.S. tax returns, filing requirements, FATCA/FBAR, etc.?
    Look no further! US Tax Practice in Switzerland is a brilliant, competent, friendly and affordable solution!!!
    feeling thankful.

     Jason Howard Peterson,

    Germany

Do I qualify as an expatriate?

Expatriate regulation apply only for foreign national working in Switzerland who are either:

Executive (i.e. directors or members of the management board), who have been seconded to Switzerland for a temporary period of up to a maximum of 5 years transferred by their foreign employer;

Specialists, who are seconded to Switzerland for a temporary period of up to a maximum of 5 years because of their special professional qualifications or specific know-how; or

Foreign nationals who are self-employed in their home countries and who are employed in Switzerland to provide specific business services for a temporary period of up to a maximum of 5 years.

Such expatriates are also referred to as international assignees.

If an international assignee continues to work in Switzerland over the 5-year maximum period, then they will no longer be considered entitled to claim the special business expenses from the 6th year on.

Are Swiss taxes deductible in the US tax declaration?

Generally, US citizens (or individuals with a filing obligation in the US) get a tax credit in their US tax return for taxes paid in Switzerland. In addition, income taxable in the US is exempt from Swiss taxation but should be declared for tax rate determination.

Can I claim home office expenses?

A home office can only be tax deductible if a substantial part of work has to be performed at home due to a lack of the official work place and if you have a separate room at home which is primarily used for work purposes.

If a home office is used due to private reasons although your employer has provided you with a work place, home office will not be tax deductible.

The costs for home office are also included in the lump sum deduction for other work-related expenses.

What is the deadline for filing a Swiss Tax Return?

The due date for submitting the Swiss tax return is usually 31 March of the following year. Some of the cantons have earlier deadlines (28 February, 15 March). This due date can be extended by sending an application for an extension to the relevant canton respectively communal tax authorities.

Failure to file a tax return on time may lead to default taxation (with higher tax liability) and penalties for non-filing.

I have not declared some of my taxable income / wealth assets for several years. What should I do?

You have to notify the Swiss tax authorities about the voluntary disclosure. When you do it for the first time, no penalties will apply, only payment of tax and interest which was missing in the past. For future disclosures a penalty of 1/5 of evaded taxes will apply.

You must prepare a letter to the tax authorities listing all not declared income / assets and attach all relevant statements, receipts, invoices to it (for max. 10 years of not declared income / assets). Than forward your voluntary disclosure to the relevant tax authorities.

Your subsequent declaration will be treated as a voluntary disclosure (free of penalty) only if the tax authorities were not aware of the circumstances or did not discover it before your notification.

What can I claim as an expatriate?

Following special expatriate expenses can be claimed only if the employee has borne the costs by himself or if the payments made by the employer have been included in the taxable gross compensation:

Costs for transportation of the household goods to and from Switzerland;

Travel costs for the employee and his family from and to Switzerland at the beginning and at the end of the assignment;

Reasonable housing expenses in Switzerland provided the international assignee retains a household in the home country and does not rent it out;

School costs for an international foreign-language school in Switzerland, if no suitable Swiss school is available.

If I don’t have to file a Swiss Tax Return, can I still claim some of my expenses?

If you are a foreign resident or an international weekly commuter not meeting the criteria to file a tax return, most of the cantons (ZH, AG, ZG) will not allow you to file a tax return. Your tax at source is automatically deducted from your brut salary by your employer on a monthly basis and represents your final Swiss tax liability.

However, should you have additional expenses as listed below, you can file an application for tariff correction to reduce your tax liability and receive a tax refund for overpaid taxes.

Following claims can be made through a tariff correction:

Cost of international weekly commuting, such as travel expenses and double housing cost

Debt interest for loans and credit cards

Professional training and education cost (if related to current employment and not reimbursed by your employer)

  • Contributions into pillar 3a
  • Buy-in into 2nd pillar
  • Alimony payments
  • Support payments
  • Child care cost
  • Donations
  • Health and accident cost
  • Cost associated with disability

Please note that the deadline for filing an application of tariff correction is in all German-speaking cantons (except Basel Stadt – 30 September) the 31 March. This deadline is not extendable.

Are there any consequences for minor mistakes in the tax return?

No consequences for minor mistakes (e.g. wrong deduction). The tax authorities will amend the mistake without any penalties. Should you, however, not report income or assets (depending on amount) it might lead to serious consequences (tax evasion).

Do I have to file a Swiss tax return?

In general, all Swiss citizens and C permit holders have a filing requirement.Foreign nationals who are

Swiss tax residents holding an L or B permit will normally have to file a Swiss tax return each year if certain conditions are met:

Employment income > 120’000 CHF *

Private net income > 2’500 CHF *

Value of net assets > 200’000 CHF *

Self-employment income

Property in Switzerland

* Conditions apply for canton Zurich. Other cantons might have different quotes.

Should I report a foreign real estate property in my Swiss tax declaration?

Yes. A foreign real estate property is not taxable in Switzerland but should be reported for tax rate purposes. You need to declare the market value and rental income (if applicable) in your Swiss tax return.

I have not declared some of my taxable income / wealth assets for several years. What should I do?

You have to notify the Swiss tax authorities about the voluntary disclosure. When you do it for the first time, no penalties will apply, only payment of tax and interest which was missing in the past. For future disclosures a penalty of 1/5 of evaded taxes will apply.

You must prepare a letter to the tax authorities listing all not declared income / assets and attach all relevant statements, receipts, invoices to it (for max. 10 years of not declared income / assets). Than forward your voluntary disclosure to the relevant tax authorities.

Your subsequent declaration will be treated as a voluntary disclosure (free of penalty) only if the tax authorities were not aware of the circumstances or did not discover it before your notification.

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