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Wealth tax in Switzerland

wealth tax in Switzerland

Table of contents

wealth tax in Switzerland

Wealth tax: what is it?

Wealth tax in Switzerland is a direct tax levied on the total value of an individual's personal property and assets.

Tax is calculated on the net wealth of the taxpayer (all assets - all liabilities).

Unlike income tax, which is based on a person's income over the course of a year, wealth tax focuses on accumulated wealth and is valued at 31.12. in the case of movable assets, and at acquisition cost in the case of real estate.

Wealth tax is levied solely by the canton of residence or of the location of the property. This competence was entrusted to them by the Confederation and has been codified by art 2 of the LHID.

Items subject to wealth tax

Real Estate All types of buildings.

Financial Instruments Actions in a public limited companybonds, securities, shares in companies or associations.

Cash and bank deposits Cash, bank deposits, current account balances, and any security representing a sum of money.

Collective investment units with Immobilier Direct Difference between the total value of the investment's assets and the value of its real estate.

Receivables Mortgage and unsecured claims.

Commercial Fortune Elements of business assets.

Life & Pensions Surrender value of life and pension insurance.

Jewelry and Silverware If value exceeds CHF 2,000.

Livestock : Both live and dead cattle.

Items not subject to wealth tax

Furniture and Collections Furniture, including artistic and scientific collections that can be considered as such.

In Geneva, collections are generally not taxed. However, this directive is not followed by other cantons. You should therefore contact your local tax authorities for further information.

Clothing All types of clothing.

Household utensils Various household utensils.

Books Books for the personal use of the taxpayer and his family.

Retirement savings (LPP) Capital paid out as part of occupational pension savings (BVG). 

Estimation of items subject to wealth tax

Moveable assets

 

Liquid Silver

Bank statement showing balance as at December 31.

Cryptocurrencies

Tax value based on the annual rates of the Federal Tax Administration; purchase price in Swiss francs if no exchange rate.

Listed securities

Valued at market value on December 31.

Unlisted securities in Switzerland

Based on yield and intrinsic value; special rules for real estate companies in accordance with CSI Circular No. 28.

Unlisted securities abroad

Treatment similar to Swiss non-listed securities; detailed financial documents required; option to Ruling Fiscal.

Loans granted

Certificate signed by debtor required.

Commercial titles

Estimated value for income tax purposes, often equivalent to book value.

Redeemable Life Insurance

Insurer's certificate of value at December 31.

Jewelry and Silverware

Valued at resale value under normal market conditions.

Real estate assets

Buildings

Tax value based on the purchase price indicated in the contract. Taxable to usufructuary if subject to usufruct.

Real estate abroad

Purchase price converted into Swiss francs using the tax rate for the year of acquisition. Included only to determine tax rate.

Real estate received by gift/assignment

Tax value established by the tax authorities at the time of the donation or inheritance.

Rental properties

Value based on capitalization of rents received or annual rental value. Capitalization rates vary annually.

Commercial and/or industrial property

Valued according to the current value of the land, buildings and ancillary facilities.

Farm buildings

Valued at their yield value, including the part used as housing for farming and forestry operations.

Authorized debts and deductions

Deductible debts include unsecured debts, mortgages, justified private debts and negative account balances.

In Switzerland, only the proportional share of debt linked to taxable assets is deductible.

In Geneva, there are flat-rate deductions: CHF 82,200 for a single taxpayer and CHF 164,400 for a couple. This means that a taxpayer with assets of less than CHF 82,200 will pay no wealth tax.

Other flat-rate deductions are available for the self-employed and partners in partnerships.

For further information: Tax deductions in Geneva

Wealth tax by canton

As with income tax, cantons are free to set their own wealth tax rates. Some cantons have decided to keep their tax rates moderate, others a little higher, but with other advantages.

Cantonal and municipal taxes for a single person without children. Tax amounts are in CHF.

Township, city100k250k500k1 mio5 mio
AG - Aarau03661106294120409
AI - Appenzell1164621040219511435
AR - Herisau926481637367319953
BE - Bern1536501632411128018
BL - Liestal515712262679237381
BS - Basel283942298605039626
FR - Fribourg1427812014502026188
GE - Geneva816492011548544286
GL - Glarus876051469319717021
GR - Chur604001216298715771
JU - Delémont1736681605398926495
LU - Lucerne1595981331279714522
NE - Neuchâtel28612363420684034200
NW - Stans13131963212596269
OW - Sarnen10632067513867074
SG - Saint-Gall1077461814394721015
SH - Schaffhausen143393995314021122
SO - Solothurn2355781105216013765
SZ - Schwyz1015031005201010050
TG - Frauenfeld04181114250513637
TI - Bellinzona205901749440923770
UR - Altdorf7036184818239623
VD - Lausanne1889222615647838141
VS - Sion2849582205512731345
ZG - Zug0100472175012470
ZH - Zürich49213694211824242

Frequently asked questions

Unlimited tax liability generally begins when a person takes up residence in Switzerland or starts a tax residence. It ends upon departure from Switzerland or death. Limited tax liability begins with the acquisition of taxable items in Switzerland and ends with their disappearance.

Surrenderable life insurance policies are taxable as assets. Their tax value is generally equal to the surrender value of the insurance policy. Non-cashable insurance policies are not included in taxable assets.

The 3 pillars of pension system Switzerland are:

  1. AHV (1st pillar)
  2. LPP (2nd pillar)
  3. 3rd pillar (3a and 3b)

The wealth of minor children is generally added to that of their parents or the person with parental authority until they reach the age of majority, when they begin to be taxed individually on their personal wealth.

Established debts are deductible from the total value of assets to determine taxable net wealth. This includes mortgages, personal loans and other documented debts.