For members


Which Zurich municipalities have the lowest and highest tax rates?

Switzerland’s largest city Zurich is the most expensive to live in. However, 47 out of 162 of the city's municipalities are reducing their tax rates this year, which will provide some financial relief to local residents.

Which Zurich municipalities have the lowest and highest tax rates?
Taxes have dropped in some Zurich municipalities. Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

That is a much higher number than last year, when only 12 Zurich municipalities had slashed their taxes.

This information comes from the canton’s official tax authority, as reported in the Swiss media on Tuesday. 

But first, what is a municipal tax and how is it calculated?

Switzerland has three levels of taxation: federal, cantonal, and municipal. While the cantonal tax rate is the same throughout a given canton, municipal (or local council) taxes vary from one local commune area to another.

For the latter, it may be difficult for a newly-arrived foreigners to understand how the rate is calculated, but this is essential information for any Zurich taxpayer.

For instance, your municipality may have a 115-percent tax rate, which seems like A LOT, but don’t panic.

This simply means that in that particular community, you have to pay 115 percent of the cantonal tax. 

For instance, let’s say the cantonal tax rate for your income bracket and family situation is is 5 percent.

If you earn 100,000 francs per year, then the cantonal tax will be 5,000 francs per year.

Where the municipal tax is 115 percent, you will pay 5,750 francs in total, as this is 115 percent of 5,000 francs. This amount covers both your cantonal and municipal taxes.

This is the situation for Zurich’s communes in 2023:

Dägerlen residents will see by far the largest reduction of all Zurich communes — down from 117 to 105 percent.

While this cut has moved Dägerlen from the 124th to 61st place among the municipalities with the lowest tax rates, other townships are doing even better on this front: the lowest tax rate (72 percent) can be found in Kilchberg.

Dägerlen is followed by six municipalities which slashed their taxes by 5 percent, and three with a 4- percent cut.

Consequently, three communities — Küsnacht, Rüschlikon and Herrliberg — are now in second, third, and fourth place, respectively, in terms of favourable tax rates.

Next are Winkel (5th place), Neerach (6th), and Stäfa (7th), with Erlenbach, Uitikon and Zumikon taking the 8th place.

Wila lowered the tax rate by 3 percent and Wildberg by 2 percent.

Some municipalities, on the other hand, have become more expensive, at least from the tax perspective — some more so than others.

Though Bachs increased its tax by just 1 percentage point, it is now the second most expensive Zurich municipality (128 percent).

The priciest — at 130 percent — is Maschwanden.

You can see the current tax rates in all Zurich communities here.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: Where in Switzerland has the lowest and highest taxes

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For members


What Switzerland’s proposed income tax change could mean for employees?

Swiss employees could soon have part of their income tax deducted directly from their wages each month. Here's what you need to know about the change.

What Switzerland's proposed income tax change could mean for employees?

Currently, Swiss citizens and permanent residents pay income taxes by monthly instalments, the amounts of which are based on the previous years’ income. Final payments are then due once the tax return is assessed by the authorities.

But this week MPs voted in favour of introducing a taxation system for all employees that is already applied to certain foreign nationals working in the country: taxing income at source.

Deputies approved the idea of taxing everyone in Switzerland at source, arguing that that having small amounts automatically deducted from wages is more manageable for most workers than being faced with a lump-sum payment.

According to MP Emmanuel Amoos, who launched the motion, this system would prevent tax debt, which impacts nearly 10 percent of Switzerland’s population. This has a significant impact on municipalities, cantons, and the federal government.

Every year, public administrations have to write off hundreds of millions of francs in tax debts as bad debt losses.

What does this mean for Swiss taxpayers?

In future, income taxes should automatically be deducted by the employer from the employee’s salary and transferred to the responsible tax office directly unless employees themselves decide on different arrangements.

Should an employee then claim deductions on their tax return, they would get their money back upon doing so – just like foreign employees.

Voluntary tax payments already possible

Further to this, employees can already make voluntary tax payments if they wish to do so, but many choose not to.

Parties which opposed the motion have indeed argued that the main problem of indebted people is in fact not the lack of a voluntary tax deduction option, rather than people’s handling of their own money. They argue even this reform may not solve the nation’s tax debt problem.

In addition, the new deduction would only affect the income tax on people’s wages, but not their remaining income from other sources such as rent, or the wealth tax.

What happens next?

The proposal will now go to the Economic Commission of the Council of States  for consideration. If agreed, the National Council must draw up a legislative proposal. If the request is not heard by the Council of States commission cannot agree then the Council of States has to decide.