At US Tax Practice, we not only provide US tax services in Switzerland, but also know what it takes to own a dog in the family.
Life may be a bit different for a U.S. expat living in Switzerland, including laws regarding pets and quirky taxes. A person needs time to adjust to a new country, so that’s why it’s so important to read up on laws regarding bringing pets into Switzerland, rather than ending up on the wrong side of the law.
Dog Owners in Switzerland Beware!
In the USA we are required to update our dog tag licenses yearly for each dog in the municipality that we live in. But when an American moves to Switzerland, the tax laws and tax rates can vary. Not only does an expat have to pay to register their dog, but they’re also required to pay an annual dog tax fee in Switzerland. Your dog must be registered in the municipality that you live in, and you must pay an annual dog tax for each dog. This tax is calculated on the weight and size of your dog. Guide dogs and rescue dogs may be exempt from these rates.
Pets are important to the Swiss, and dog school is big with pet owners. Dogs can be registered for puppy training school, to learn basic commands, tasks, and tricks. A well-behaved dog is one that is valued by the community. A dog that is poorly trained is more likely to get in trouble with the authorities, and the owner may be subject to fines. So make sure to find a local dog trainer for proper etiquette training.
When you’re moving your family from the USA to Switzerland you’re including pet travel. Many people question the requirements needed for pet transport across the border into Switzerland. They may be concerned that their dog may need to be quarantined for a certain length of time when bringing them into the country. It’s important to research these requirements before leaving the USA, so you can expedite the border entry process, and avoid delays.
Your dogs will not need to be quarantined if they’re healthy and conform to a basic set of requirements. They’ll need to be microchipped, and have to be vaccinated for rabies and other diseases at least 30 days but not more than one year prior to entry. A veterinarian must provide a vaccination certificate for travelers from the USA that must be presented to border authorities. They will also not allow entry for dogs with body modifications such as tail or ear cropping.
There are positive and negative aspects of the dog ownership regulations in Switzerland. Having fully registered pets and requiring owners to check in once a year to pay a tax ensures that dogs are not running rampant in town. If your dog is lost, a microchip and tag will ensure that he’s returned immediately to you. Switzerland takes the health and safety of your pet to heart and does not allow unnecessary practices such as ear or tail cropping.
Here is a great source for more information on dog tax in Switzerland and determining the tax rate in the municipality you live in:
About US Tax Practice GmbH:
US Tax Practice offers US tax services in Switzerland. It is the go-to tax preparation service and compliance practice for US tax payers. Located in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, the company was founded by Patrick Evans, a US citizen determined to work with his clients’ best interests in mind. US Tax Practice GmbH services include US Income Tax Preparation, US Tax Compliance, Foreign Bank Account Reporting (FBAR), Tax Planning and Optimization, and Expatriation.
We look forward to assisting US expats with the complexities of life in Switzerland. We welcome you to give us a call any time even for friendly advice on dog tax!
Just call +41 (0) 52 533 45 81.