Total revision of withholding tax ordinance – FDF opens consultation procedure

Bern, 21.09.2017 - On 21 September 2017, the Head of the Federal Department of finance (FDF) submitted the total revision of the Withholding Tax Ordinance for consultation. The ordinance defines more precisely which prerequisites will behave to be fulfilled in order for non-residents to be entitled to a subsequent ordinary tax assessment.

Parliament consented to a full legislative revision of withholding tax applied to earned income on 16 December 2016. This reform abolishes unequal treatment. Residents as well as "quasi-residents" can request a subsequent ordinary tax assessment. Quasi-residents are employees who are not domiciled in Switzerland and who generate a major part of their income from an activity they perform in Switzerland. For people who are resident in Switzerland and taxed at source, the subsequent ordinary tax assessment is obligatory if their gross annual income from salaried income totals CHF 120,000 or more.

The adoption of quasi-residency into Swiss law dates back to the Federal Supreme Court ruling of 26 January 2010 (decision of Swiss Federal Court 136 II 241). The Federal Supreme Court stated that in certain situations the Swiss withholding tax system was contrary to the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons with the EU. According to the Federal Supreme Court, Switzerland must grant quasi-residents the same deduction options as residents. According to the draft ordinance, in order that a subsequent ordinary tax assessment can be requested, at least 90% of their gross global income must be earned in Switzerland.

In addition, the legislative revision involves a series of formal adaptations in further ordinances.

It is planned that the Federal Act and the relevant ordinances will come into effect in 2020.

Address for enquiries

Patrick Teuscher, Head of Communications,
Federal Tax Administration FTA
Tel. +41 58 464 90 00,


Federal Department of Finance