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Christian Beutler/Keystone

Switzerland levies taxes at the federal, cantonal and local levels, with cantons setting their own rates. Taxes generally tend to be lower than in much of Europe.

This content was published on March 12, 2019 - 16:52

Swiss citizens and foreigners with a C permit do not have taxes automatically withheld from their pay checks and must complete a tax declaration form each year. The amount due is based on the amount earned as well as assets.

You can consult a guide to filling out tax returns in Switzerland here.

Foreign workers without a C permit have taxes withheld directly from their salaries. Anyone who earns more than about CHF17,000 ($16,900) a year must pay federal taxes.

Rates are graduated according to levels of income and assets, as well as family status; for example, married couples currently pay more than non-married couples, something the Federal Council nevertheless wants to change.

The Federal Tax Administration offers more information, as well as an online tax calculator that gives a general estimate of what you might owe based on canton of residence. On a salary of CHF100,000, for example, cantonal rates can vary from below 8% (canton Zug) to almost 25% (canton Basel City).

The portal also offers a useful overview of the various other types of taxes – vehicle, property, assets, pets, etc. – levied in Switzerland.

Corporation tax rates are also a hot topic at the moment. Cantons retain control over rates, which means varying levels throughout the country. However, international pressure has led to efforts to overhaul and harmonize the system: one such proposal was rejected by voters in February 2017; a re-jigged bill will be voted on in May 2019.

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