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REVEALED: These parts of Zurich have the highest income tax rates

With 162 municipalities in Zurich, Switzerland’s largest canton, there are plenty of different income tax rates that could apply.

A tram in the Swiss city of Zurich
There are 162 different municipalities in the Swiss city of Zurich - which can mean 162 different tax rates. Photo by Alexis Fauvet on Unsplash

In Switzerland, income tax is levied at a federal, cantonal and municipal level (with a few exceptions). 

In some cases there is little difference in the amount of income tax you would pay in different municipal areas or communes. However in others the difference could be so significant that it acts as an incentive to move area – particularly for the uber-wealthy. 

READ MORE: Which Swiss canton has the most millionaires?

Zurich, as Switzerland’s largest canton, has 162 municipalities. Some are urban, some suburban and some at least resemble rural Switzerland.

Please note that the following takes into account only the income tax levied at a municipal level. 

As already reported by The Local this year Zurich canton will cut taxes for the first time in two decades – although this will only result in a cut of around CHF15 per year.

Have your say: What will you do with Zurich’s tax cut money?

First things first, what is municipal taxation? 

In this case it refers to the income tax levied at a municipal (i.e. communal/local council) level. 

This does not take into account other taxes that can be levied as a consequence of living in a particular municipality, like property taxes. 

Municipal taxes are levied at the municipal level according to the applicable municipal tax quota (German: Gemeindesteuerfuss, French: coefficient de l’impôt communal), which in most cantons are expressed as a percentage of cantonal tax. 

Reader question: Can I deduct working-from-home costs from my Swiss taxes?

This is why you might see your municipality as having a 115 percent tax rate (or sometimes expressed as a decimal 1.15). 

Fortunately, this does not mean you need to pay 115 percent of your income to the municipality. 

Instead, it means in that municipality, you need to pay 115 percent of the cantonal tax. 

For instance, imagine the cantonal tax rate is 5 percent.

You earn CHF100,000 per year, then the cantonal tax will be CHF5,000 per year on the basis of your income.

Where the municipal tax is 115 percent, you will need to pay CHF5,750 in total (as this is 115 percent of CHF5,000). 

This amount covers both your cantonal and municipal taxes (i.e. you do not need to pay CHF5,750 to the council and to the canton). 

This percentage can often be lower than 100, for instance 85 percent (or 0.85). 

In this case, you would need to pay CHF4,250. 

Which Zurich municipalities have the highest income tax rate? 

OK, now that we’ve got the number crunching out of the way, we can look at the comparative tax rates of different parts of Zurich. 

These figures do not take into account church tax (which is a topic for another article). 

The highest municipal income tax rate of all 162 municipalities in Zurich is in Maschwanden, where residents pay 130 percent of council tax. 

ANALYSIS: Is Switzerland actually a tax haven?

This is followed by Wildberg (129%), Bachs (127%), Adlikon (126%) and Humlikon, Rifferswill, Schlatt and Winterthur (all 125%). 

At the other end of the scale, the lowest rate is 72 percent in Kilchberg. 

This is followed by Küsnacht (75%), Rüschlikon (75%), Winkel (76%) and Neerach (76%)

A full list of the tax rates of each of Zurich’s 162 municipalities can be found here. 

How has this changed? 

The tax rates changed over the past year at a municipal level. 

By and large things stayed the same, with the majority keeping their tax rates the same as in 2021. 

READ MORE: How wealthy foreigners can ‘buy’ a Swiss residence permit

There were however 27 municipalities which raised their taxes and 12 which decreased the tax burden for residents. 

The biggest increase came in Weisslingen, which raised taxes by ten percent. 

Oetwil an der Limmat and Bassersdorf both increased taxes by five percent. 

Dietlikon, in the central part of the canton, was the only canton to increase taxes in both 2021 and 2022. 

On the other side of the coin, the biggest decrease was in Stäfa (8%) and Stammheim (5%). 

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LIVING IN SWITZERLAND

How to dispose of unwanted furniture or whitegoods in Zurich legally

Got an unwanted mattress, fridge or sofa? Here’s how you can legally get it off your hands in Zurich.

How to dispose of unwanted furniture or whitegoods in Zurich legally

If you’ve bought a new piece of furniture in Zurich or a mattress, you may be faced with the problem of what to do with the old one. 

This is particularly the case in cities like Zurich, where space is at a premium and you may not be able to kit out your spare room with the old furniture. 

While there are waste disposal centres, even getting there without a car can be a problem. 

One man’s trash…

First things first, think about whether you really need to get rid of the thing in question. 

While you may not want it, there may be someone out there willing to take it off your hands – particularly if you aren’t going to charge them. 

The first point of call is to ask your friends and colleagues if they’re interested, with social media the perfect place to ask around. 

If you live in an apartment complex, you might try placing the item in a common area with a note saying “zu verschenken” (to give away) or ‘gratis’ (free). 

After that, there are several online options like eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Free Your Stuff Zurich, Ricardo, Anibis, Craig’s List and Tutti. 

Some of these sites will charge a fee – even if you’re giving something away – so be sure to read the fine print first. 

Another option is to donate the goods to a charity organisation. They will usually charge you money to pick it up and prices can vary dramatically. 

Caritas charge CHF35 per 100kg plus transport costs, while Sozialwerk Pfarrer Sieber will pick up small items of furniture for a flat fee, although you’ll need to send them pictures first before they give you a quote. 

Can I put old furniture on the street in Zurich? 

Although less common than many other European cities, occasionally you will see furniture out on the street in front of homes and apartment blocks in Zurich. 

While it might clutter up the sidewalk, it is technically not illegal – provided you only do so for a maximum of 24 hours. 

You also need to make sure it doesn’t block cars, bikes or pedestrians. If it does – or if you leave it out for longer – you risk a fine.

Entsorgungstram: Zurich’s recycling and waste disposal tram

One option is the Entsorgungstram, a mobile recycling centre on rails for all Zurich residents. 

This tram weaves its way through several parts of Zurich, picking up old bulky waste including electrical devices and furniture. 

If you are lucky to live near an Entsorgungstram line, just check the timetable and bring your waste items along to meet the tram. 

There are some rules, as laid out by the Zurich council. 

“The delivered items must not be longer than 2.5 meters (exception: sofa/upholstered furniture can be no longer than 2 meters) and no heavier than 40 kilograms per item. Separate the material beforehand according to its composition: flammable, large metal and landfill”. 

Unfortunately, only pedestrians and cyclists can use this service, i.e. you cannot drive from elsewhere and deposit the stuff. 

More information including route details can be found at the following link. 

Regular waste disposal

Your next option is to see whether you can get rid of it in your usual waste disposal. 

This being Switzerland, there are a lot of rules about what the waste management company will take and will not. 

If you’re throwing away a mirror, for instance, you cannot put that with your other glass waste and will need to dispose of it elsewhere. 

On the other hand, they may take things like carpets and mattresses – although you’ll need to pay a bit extra. 

The exact rules will depend on your municipality, but generally speaking you will need to buy additional waste stickers – which cost money. 

In Zurich itself, every household receives four coupons for disposal of waste (up to 100kg) each. 

When you run out of coupons, you’ll need to pay by the kilo. 

You’ll still need to bring it to the waste disposal facility, or pay a pick up fee of around CHF80. 

This may sound steep, but they do come to your home and pick it up – which will likely be cheaper than a rental car or van. 

In Winterthur, you will need to buy stickers for CHF1.80 from the council, with each sticker letting you dispose of 10kg of waste. 

Check with the retailer where you bought the new item

One option offered by furniture sellers is to buy your old furniture or whitegoods or accept them as a trade in. 

While this is likely to be more common with second hand retailers who might see potential in your unwanted item, it is also a service offered by retailers who only sell new goods. 

One example is Ikea, who will take your old mattress, furniture or electronic device and recycle it. 

This service is available at Ikea outlets for a cost of CHF10 each. 

It is also available when you get something new delivered, although you must pre-book so the driver can be sure to set aside enough space. 

This will cost you CHF80 for furniture, or CHF50 for electronic devices and mattresses. Keep in mind that (at least with Ikea) this service is only available when you buy something new. 

Several other furniture companies offer a similar service, including Schubiger Möbel, Möbel Pfister and Conforama.  

Electrical item retails will often take your old electrical goods for recycling, whether these are small like iPhones or large like fridges and washing machines. 

More information about which goods can be recycled and how in Switzerland is available at the following link. 

Moving companies

Removalist companies are another option – whether you are moving house or not. 

If you are moving house then a disposal service may be included in the overall fees. 

If not, you can still contact the company and get the item taken off your hands. 

While different companies will charge different amounts, you’ll usually pay per 100kg rather than per item, which can be a better (or worse) option than contacting the local council. 

Swiss comparison site Comparis has detailed info about how to find a moving company here

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