There are many attractive qualities associated with living in Switzerland. Residents of Switzerland enjoy one of the highest standards of living in the world. Also, the fiscal advantages cannot be denied.  

However, there may still be times when a resident needs to relocate to a different country. Therefore, it is important to address some common financial concerns. This way, informed decisions can be made well in advance of your departure date. Let us examine a handful of topics.  

Is It Possible To Retain an Existing Bank Account When Leaving Switzerland? 

Many Swiss residents wish to keep their existing bank accounts, even after emigrating to a different country. In fact, there may be times when having a domestic account will be necessary. For example, for those receiving rental payments from tenants in Switzerland.  

Nonetheless, it is prudent to partner with a domestic bank that does not charge non-resident fees. BancaStato and Credit Agricole are two possibilities you can examine.  

Additionally, it is always best to open up a new bank account while still legally residing in Switzerland. This process can become quite challenging for those who have obtained a non-resident status already.  

Will I Still be obliged To Pay Domestic Taxes After Leaving Switzerland? 

All legal residents who reside in Switzerland are required to pay taxes. As this article highlights, over 7 billion CHF associated with these taxes every year is redirected into pension plans. This is another reason why Switzerland has become so popular for those who are planning their retirements. 

However, will you be obliged to continue paying taxes if you decide to emigrate to another country? From a legal standpoint, individuals are no longer considered to be tax residents once the de-registration process has been completed. Nonetheless, there are some exceptions to this observation, including:

  • Those who continue owning a home in Switzerland 
  • The possibility of paying capital gains tax on Swiss properties 
  • Individuals who are still being paid by a company headquartered in Switzerland 

As you can see, there are several factors to take into account before leaving Switzerland. Thus, it is always prudent to speak with a financial expert if you wish to clarify additional questions or concerns.  

Pensions and Retirement Funds 

Will pensions or retirement funds be affected after leaving Switzerland? There are two answers to this question. It will depend on whether you will be relocating to another country within the European Union or a non-EU nation. Let us examine both scenarios.  

Relocating to an EU/EFTA Country 

Here, the main takeaway point is as follows. Those who relocate to an EU member state can withdraw from their pension fund assets without encountering any restrictions. This generally applies to those who have already retired. 

However, compulsory pension fund contributions (pillar 2A contributions) must be transferred to an officially recognized foundation for vested benefits. Thereafter, these will be held in escrow until you reach the age of 60. It is, therefore, possible to access these funds. This must be for certain reasons, such as purchasing property in or outside of Switzerland.

Non-EU Countries and Pension Savings 

It is a little different for those who plan on leaving Switzerland for a non-EU member country. Departees can (but don’t have to) withdraw their vested benefits or pension funds prior to their departure. In this case, these funds will be subject to a capital withholding tax. The tax rate is not charged at the domicile of the person but on the domicile of the foundation for vested benefits. Massive tax savings of over 50% can apply.

In the event that the destination country has a double taxation agreement with Switzerland, this withdrawal tax can be reclaimed. It will only be necessary to provide evidence of a new tax residence in the country. (But you might be taxed there with income tax)

Health Insurance When Leaving Switzerland 

It is possible to retain your Swiss-based health insurance until you have thoroughly settled into your new country of residence. This time limit is generally capped at 120 days for nations within the European Union.  

However, note that compulsory Swiss insurance will lapse after this time period. The only exceptions involve scenarios when an individual has been sent abroad by a Swiss-based employer. In this case, an insurance policy can remain active for up to six years. 

Please note that this is only a basic overview of some common financial questions to address before leaving Switzerland.  

If you have additional concerns or should you simply require a bit of professional guidance, please contact Chevrolet Consulting. We offer free consultations, and one of our team members will always be happy to help you. After all, it pays to plan ahead.