What do I need to bear in mind when completing my tax return? Which documents should I have to hand, and how can I save on taxes with pillar 3a? We’ve put together the most important tips for completing your tax return for you. For more financial self-determination.
Each year, you will receive a letter from your tax office informing you that your tax return is due. The tax return is used to calculate your income tax and wealth tax.
Collect the necessary documents throughout the year and file them properly. It’s worth creating a folder where you can collect all the relevant documents over the course of the year. At the beginning of the new year you will receive your annual salary statement, interest documents for the previous year, and a certificate showing your pillar 3a contributions. You should also add these documents to your folder. This makes it easier for you to complete the form, as you will have all the documents in one place and don’t have to go looking for them.
1.) Collecting the required documents and receipts
You should have the following documents to hand (if applicable):
- Annual salary statements (also for secondary and part-time employment)
- Pension statements (AHV/AVS, IV, pension fund, etc.)
- Certificates for daily allowances or other replacement income (unemployment insurance, child and family allowances, maternity allowances, etc.)
- List of maintenance payments from divorced/separated spouses/partners (for children up to the age of majority)
- If you are self-employed: a statement of your income and expenses
- Tax value
- Imputed rental value or rental income
- Mortgage amount and interest
- Receipts for repairs, renovations, maintenance, insurance or management
- Costs for travel to your place of work (public transport travelcard, kilometres driven by car, etc.)
- Receipts for training expenses
- List and receipts for work-related expenses, e.g. for meals away from home (if these are higher than the flat-rate deduction)
- Certificates of loan interest and/or mortgage certificates
Accounts and securities
- Bank statements and interest statements for all bank and postal office accounts as of 31 December
- In the event of account closures during the year: Confirmation of closure
- Safekeeping account/list of securities as of 31 December with dividend and interest statements
- Receipts for dividends and credits to your own company (AG or GmbH), including interest credits
- Lottery prizes (different exemption limits)
- Life and pension insurance (tax value as per insurance certificate with conclusion and expiry year and sum insured)
- Details of private motor vehicles with purchase price and year
- Other assets such as cash, gold and other precious metals
- Inheritance shares
Please note: Assets in Switzerland and abroad must be declared.
- Certificate of pillar 3a contributions
- Certificates of 2nd pillar purchases
- Maintenance payments to a separated or divorced spouse and minor children
- Receipts for nursery or childcare
- Receipts for personally paid health costs
- Receipts for health insurance payments
- Receipts for donations
- Membership fees and donations to political parties
Other information to be reported
- Gifts, inheritances or prepayments of inheritance received (with details of who these came from, degree of kinship, amount and date)
- Lump-sum benefits paid out from the pension fund
- Income and assets from abroad must also be disclosed.
2.) Completing the tax return
Once you have all of your documents together, you can begin completing your tax return. These days, most people complete their tax returns electronically. This can be done either online or offline. For the offline option, the software must first be installed.
The advantage of completing it electronically is that you are guided through the process step by step. You can also call up the instructions for the relevant point at any time to see further detailed information.
Which costs can I deduct from my taxable income?
- Necessary costs for journeys between home and work
- Additional costs for meals (flat rate)
- Education and training costs
- Insurance premiums (limited)
- Political and charitable donations
- Contributions to tax-qualified provisions (pillar 3a)
- Health costs (as of a certain amount)
- Loan interest
- Maintenance and support payments
There are flat rates for some of these costs. If you would like to deduct the actual costs instead, you must attach the receipts to the tax return. However, certain costs can only be deducted up to a fixed amount, even if the costs were demonstrably higher.
You can deduct up to CHF 3000 from your tax for journeys between home and work.
Parents can deduct up to a maximum amount for childcare costs. For direct federal tax, this amount is CHF 10 100 per child.
3.) Timely submission of tax return
In most cantons, tax returns must be submitted by 31 March. This deadline applies to natural persons. Legal entities (e.g. associations and companies) usually have until 30 September.
The deadline can be extended, but a request must be submitted in good time. This can generally be done easily online.
You will usually receive an assessment of your tax return within a few months, which you should check carefully. Are the taxable income and assets correct? Has the correct tax rate been applied? Even tax officials can make mistakes. If you find any discrepancies, call your tax office and enquire. Your tax return is about your financial situation, so it’s important to take responsibility yourself.
Do you already have a pillar 3a account?
You can deduct pillar 3a payments from your taxable income up to the maximum amount.