Single and rich in Zug with plenty to spend – or get married if you’re in Geneva (update)

Swiss taxes varied considerably from one city to another in 2010

Swiss taxes take a bigger bite in Neuchatel than in Zug

Update 22 July (new files added at end) BERN, SWITZERLAND – That magic moment in the year is here, when Bern tells Swiss taxpayers where they were best off, living or dying, in 2010, so the rest of the holidays can be spent planning a move. There is Zug, for those who are rich and single, or if you are married and have two children and you’re living in Neuchatel, Zug but also Geneva will look very good.

Federal income tax is a small part of the three-tiered tax system, with cantonal taxes usually the largest and communal taxes varying the most widely. Zug retains its champion’s title of the cheapest place in Switzerland from a tax standpoint, while Neuchatel remains one of the most expensive, for individuals.

Sample comparisons culled from the 2010 figures, published 21 July by the Federal tax office:

Single, no children, cantonal, communal and parish (if Catholic) taxes, on  income of CHF100,000

Add on CHF2,067 for federal income tax

Zurich: CHF11,637 / 9.64%
Zug: CHF6,148 / 5.08%
Bern: CHF14,982 / 14.98%
Basel: CHF16,472 / 16.47%
Lausanne: CHF16,162 /16.06%
Neuchatel: CHF18,639 / 18.64%
Geneva: CHF15’370 / 15.37%

If you make CHF200,000, tax rates range from Zug’s 9.72% to Neuchatel’s 23.71%.

Married, two children, cantonal, communal and parish (if Catholic) taxes, federal tax not included, on  income of CHF100,00, one spouse working

Add on CHF907 for federal income tax

Zurich: CHF6,136 / 6.14%
Zug: CHF6,148 / 5.08%
Bern: CHF8,710 / 8.71%
Basel: CHF7,690 / 7.69%
Lausanne: CHF9,175 /9.18%
Neuchatel: CHF10,054 / 10.05%
Geneva: CHF3,202 / 3.20%

If you make CHF200,000, tax rates range from Zug’s 4.43% to Neuchatel’s 17.91%.

When both spouses work the tax rate tends to be 2-3 percentage points higher, except in Zug, where it is half the rate, and in Geneva, where it is double the rate.

Inheritance taxes: avoid Graubuenden

Swiss inheritance taxes are not collected by several cantons, but Graubuenden has the highest rate and Lausanne is the rare city to collect a communal tax in addition to the cantonal one. It’s better to be a son or daughter inheriting than to inherit from a brother or sister, and beware, nieces and nephews, you’ll have to pay more when your uncle’s lovely chalet passes into your hands.

Swiss tax burden, by canton (Ger/Fre), pdf

Swiss tax burden, comparison, communes, pdf



  1. Ed McGaugh says:

    Hi Ellen,

    Thanks for posting this it is very interesting. I just wanted to point out the link “Swiss Tax Burden” is not working.

    Hope all is well with you!

  2. Ed, thanks for pointing this out. I’ve now added the right link to the federal web pages for the cantons but also the communes, which is where it starts to get really interesting! Move 300 metres and you might save a few thousand, depending on where you are.