How to get money back with the withholding tax adjustment

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    Withholding tax is deducted by your employer during the year at a rate based on your gross annual income and the "declaration for withholding tax" that was submitted to your employer in January of the relevant year.

    This tax is calculated according to a scale linked to your family situation and is not final, i.e. it is not definitive and can be rectified until 31 March of the year following its deduction (e.g. until 31 March 2020, for withholding tax deducted in 2019).

    What is the purpose of the withholding tax adjustment form?

    This form, which is sent by the cantonal tax administration during the month of December to cross-border taxpayers and residents of Geneva holding a permit other than the C permit, has 6 objectives:

    1. It is used to deduct from gross taxable income expenses such as 3rd pillar A contributions, pension gap purchases, alimony paid to minor children or ex-spouses, professional training at the taxpayer's expense, childcare costs, etc.

    2. It is also used to attach children to your tax household (adult student, minor child of a cohabiting couple, etc.).

    3. It is used to adjust the collection scale C for married couples who are both gainfully employed

    4. Finally, it is used to correct the tax scale or the tax rate in case of error if the taxpayer has carried out several activities, for example

    5. For Geneva residents holding a permit other than the C permit, it is used to declare the taxable assets as at 31.12.2019 and to request the transfer to the ordinary roll to pay the wealth tax

    6. Finally, it is used to apply for the deduction of actual expenses (quasi-resident) allowed in the canton of Geneva. 

    Does this form have to be sent to the withholding tax department?

    Not necessarily, but it is strongly recommended hat you have your withholding tax checked by your tax adviser to ensure that the tax deducted is correct and that no adjustments are necessary.

    Please note: married couples (each of whom is gainfully employed) are obliged to rectify their taxation at source within the meaning of art. 3 RISP by announcing to the withholding tax service the gross income from the dependent or independent gainful activity of their spouse (whether he or she works in the canton of Geneva, Vaud or in France).

    For whom is quasi-resident status still beneficial?

    Par Adjustment of withholding taxmeans adjustment of the tax deducted by your employer. This can result either in a simple source tax adjustment or in a request to take into account the actual expenses (declaration of quasi-resident of Geneva), it is generally up to the tax expert to determine which situation is the most advantageous for the taxpayer.

    Since the capping of travel expenses at CHF 500 as of 1 January 2017, we remind you that quasi-resident status can be advantageous in the following situations:

    • Those who have taken out home loans and still have high loan interest/death benefits in 2020
    • Those who have carried out major renovation work on their properties in France
    • Those who have dual residence for work
    • Those who pay maintenance to needy members of your family who are unable to support themselves
    • Those who have significant medical costs and/or health insurance premiums and/or disability costs to pay

    The payment of substantial interest on consumer/private loans, the payment of life insurance contributions in Switzerland (3rd pillar B) or abroad, the payment of substantial donations to Swiss associations or the payment of contributions to a Swiss political party may also make quasi-resident status attractive if they are in addition to one of the 5 points mentioned above.

    We remind you that the application to benefit from the quasi-resident status is annual and is not tacitly renewed in the following years, taxpayers who want to benefit from this status must apply each year.

    Romain Clapier

    Je suis le fondateur du cabinet fiscal Allo-Déclaration Suisse, un service de conseil fiscal qui se veut accessible à tous. Expert-comptable diplômé suisse de formation, je maîtrise parfaitement la fiscalité suisse et française des particuliers et notamment celle des frontaliers genevois et vaudois.

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