The fourth theme in the tax filing process deals with securities (Wertschriften). Both securities and cash in bank accounts belong here. So pretty much everybody has something to declare in this theme. We’ll cover the different forms in detail as part of the tax declaration guide.
Both income and wealth taxes derive from Wertschriften. I’d suggest to have a look at this to learn more about the general framework around such taxes in Switzerland. It’s not required knowledge to file your taxes, so you may as well skip it if you wish.
Write here the bank account details where the tax office should transfer you potential withholding tax refunds. The first two fields are just IBAN and account holder (Konto lautend auf).
The checkboxes read:
- Beiblätter: check if you’ll provide auxiliary docs such as a broker report
- Formular DA-1 Kopie: check if you’re filing a DA-1 form. More info on that later in this entry
- Lotto- und Totoabrechnungen: check if you won the lottery 🙂
Administration of e-tax statements
If you have an e-tax statement, upload it here. If you don’t know what this is, skip this form.
List of securities
This is a very important form. You must list all your worldwide securities. Securities are stocks, funds, ETFs, bonds, cryptos etc. You must also list any bank account or fixed-term deposits. By clicking the pencil icon you can see a full list of relevant assets. Use Google translate if you’re not familiar with the German terms:
We won’t cover all 20 options in this guide. Instead, we’ll focus on those that I consider the most common:
- Bank accounts (Konto)
- Investment funds (Anlagefonds)
- Stocks (Aktie)
Other options should be relatively easy for you to crack if you get the basics of those three.
List all your bank accounts here. Remember that, as a Swiss resident, you’re taxed on your worldwide movable private assets. That means that any foreign bank account belongs to here as well. Even if you “forget” a bank account, the Swiss authorities will easily find out thanks to AEOI. By the way, AEOI also applies to any other securities discussed below (e.g. funds, stocks).
The form is easy enough to go through. The most important fields are the bank (Bank, Gesellschaft), IBAN (Konto-/Depot-Nr.), currency (Währung) and total assets (Total Guthaben). Write any interests to you get under Erträge. If the interest is net of withholding tax, write it under Ertrag mit Verrechnungssteuer. If it’s gross of it, write it under Ertrag ohne Verrechnungssteuer.
Funds are a bit more complex than bank accounts. Guess why? Because the Swiss tax authorities want to tax you on interests or dividends received.
There’s something important to have in mind. Any investment in overseas domiciled funds with reclaimable withholding tax should not be listed here. Instead, you should list it in the DA-1 form. We’ll cover it later in this entry.
Any foreign funds or stock eligible for withholding tax reimbursement must be included only in the DA-1 form. And not in the general list of securities
Alright, how to deal with the rest of the funds? By far the easiest option is to search your fund by ISIN on the top section (Wertschriftensuche) and load data from there. In my experience, this works quite well. It liberates you from having to gather data on stock prices at year-end, (ex-) dividend dates, dividend yields, currency conversions etc. In the screenshot below you can see an extract after loading VOO (which should rather be in the DA-1 form).
Is the fund data there? If so, indicate the number of shares (Stückzahl) you held at year-end. Then, switch to the tab Zu- & Abgänge and write the amount of securities at the beginning of the year (Endbestand Vorjahr/Anfangsbestand Steuerjahr). Then add as many log entries for purchase/sale (Kauf/Verkauf) as necessary. This is important because timing matters when it comes to dividend taxes. VOO for example has four dividend payouts per year. You don’t pay the same taxes if you bought 20k worth of VOO in January or in November.
As a final remark, the securities database used by the online tool is the same as this one (ICTax). You can access it at any time. And it’s conveniently available in English.
Declaring stocks is quite simple if you understood how to declare funds. The forms are exactly the same. Simply search by ISIN and follow all guidelines above. Remember not to declare foreign stocks here, but later in the DA-1 form.
Qualified holdings in private assets
My understanding is that this form is used to list investments/holdings in private companies. This includes limited partnerships, limited companies, cooperatives etc.
Distributed profits from qualified holdings are taxable only if you own at least 10% of the share capital . If you’re in doubt, you should check with your local tax office.
The DA-1 form
The remaining of this entry focuses on the DA-1 form. We’ll see what this is before moving on to the different forms.
What is a DA-1 form?
A DA-1 form is used to recover withholding taxes from overseas investments. Recovering withholding taxes is always desirable.
Can I always recover foreign withholding taxes?
No, you can’t. The tax authorities will only reimburse you foreign withholding tax if you meet all of the following conditions:
- You invest in foreign securities in a country that withholds tax
- There’s a tax treaty between the two countries to prevent double-taxation
- The withholding tax is L2WT (and not L1WT)
- You are claiming more than CHF 50
The third requirement is the trickiest. Let’s see an example with the US. In practical terms, requirement #3 means that you have to invest in US domiciled funds to claim back US withholding taxes. You can’t invest for example in an Irish fund that buys US securities. Learn more about the topic in this entry.
For which countries is the DA-1 form relevant?
The DA-1 form is most commonly used to recover US withholding tax. In theory, though, you could use it with other countries. The necessary condition is that a tax treaty between the foreign country and Switzerland exists. Find here a full list of applicable countries as of tax year 2019.
How much does the DA-1 form give back?
For most countries, the recoverable withholding tax is 15%. This includs the US. This is a nice article on the topic, although a bit old and in German only.
This form is used to allow an accountant or tax advisor fill in your DA-1 form. If this doesn’t apply to you (either no DA-1 or no tax advisor), just skip it.
DA-1 personal details
DA-1 persönliche Angaben
This form is easy enough. Just write:
- Your place of residence both at the beginning and the end of the year
- Whether you got income from community holdings (Gemeinschaftsdepot) of inheritances (Erbanfall)
- Whether you’re applying for US citizenship
DA-1 account details
Write in this form the IBAN and account holder where you’d like to have your overseas withholding tax reimbursed. You can simply check the top box to transfer the details you wrote earlier in this theme.
Tick Beiblätter if you’re providing auxiliary docs such as a broker report (you should). Also tick Bank-/Ertragsabrechnungen if you have any relevant bank or income statements to disclose. The latter likely won’t apply to you.
We finally got to the core of the DA-1 form. List here all your foreign securities eligible for L2WT reimbursement. The process is exactly the same as the one explained above for general securities. Remember that securities are listed either here or in the general securities list. Never in both.
At the time of writing (and at least since 2017), there’s a bug in the search function that prevents the web tool from loading the data. This is quite annoying. I normally use the search function in the general securities listing and then manually transfer the details to here.
In this form, the column Pauschale Steueranrechnung refers to the actual reimbursement of withholding taxes. For example, the 15% you can reclaim for US investments. Don’t get this mixed up with the column Steuerrückbehalt USA. The latter refers to the additional 15% withholding tax that Swiss brokers retain on US securities. This applies to Swiss brokers and Swiss brokers only. There’s more info on the topic here. The bottom line is to make sure you load 15% in Steuerrückbehalt USA if you use a Swiss broker. You will also have to attach proof to your tax declaration. You should get it from your Swiss broker.