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Simple guide to save taxes in Switzerland

by: Schwiizerfranke4 min read

In Switzerland, we are offered exciting opportunities to save taxes, which you should definitely take advantage of. If you optimise your annual taxes, you can save a lot of money in the long run. Just remember: "The difference between tax optimisation and tax avoidance is the thickness of a prison wall" - Dennis Healey.

This article was written in collaboration with our financial blogger Eric von Schwiizerfranke. On his blog, he shares his extensive financial knowledge as a certified wealth advisor with his community.

The basis: Spending money to save taxes

If you've just taken your first salary and don't have much money on the side yet, you don't have to worry much about tax optimisation. In Switzerland, we have relatively low taxes compared to other countries. The more income and assets you have, the more you can optimise your taxes.

However, it is a mistake to buy a new SBB abonnement just to save taxes. If you don't really need it, your money is definitely better off elsewhere.

Ask yourself where you can really put your money to good use so that it serves you financially in the long term and you can save tax in the process. The following points are simple ways to save tax that anyone can apply.

Don't forget!

One thing should be clear to you: You have to spend money to save taxes.

Cantonal differences: Know your deductions 

There are different ways to optimise your taxes in each canton. It is therefore worthwhile to research tax optimisation tips for your canton.

4 rarely used tips for tax optimisation:

  • In many cantons, a lump sum of CHF 700 can be deducted for a bicycle.
  • If you have underage children, you can deduct an amount for them. 
  • In the canton of Zurich and in many other cantons, a lump sum of up to CHF 500 can be deducted for further education without proof.
  • You can deduct the Selma fee from your taxes as asset management costs.


Depending on the canton, income and marital status, you can save around CHF 1,500 to CHF 2,500 in taxes per year with pillar 3a.

Pro tip: Avoid tax peaks

Since higher taxes are due as your income increases, you should avoid spikes in your income. Peaks occur especially when you earn additional income or when you draw on your pension funds. In order to avoid such tax peaks, you should already pay attention to a few things at a young age.

This way you can reduce your taxable income in a targeted manner:

  • Pillar 3a: Accumulation of assets in pillar 3a can become a tax trap if you do not build it up in stages. You should therefore build up several pots (ideally 5) during the payment years. You can then draw on these 5 pots in stages over 5 years before you retire and thus spread out income peaks.
  • Pension fund: Voluntary purchases into the pension fund are most profitable in the last years before retirement. Purchases improve your retirement capital and reduce your taxable income. Instead of buying in in one year, you can spread the purchases over several years. Just bear in mind the 3-year lock-up period if you plan to make a lump-sum withdrawal.
  • Real estate: For homeowners, there is the possibility of claiming value-preserving work against taxes. There are some lump sums that you can use cleverly. Either you spread your expenses for maintenance over several years in order to use the lump sums, or you collect and accumulate them in order to specifically go over the lump sum.


The possibilities for tax optimisation in Switzerland are much broader than those described in the article above. But with a little effort and the above tips, you can already save several thousand francs in taxes per year!

If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the Selma Finance team or leave me a comment on my Swiss finance blog!

About the author


Eric is a financial blogger and certified wealth advisor. He shares his financial knowledge on his blog. 🏫