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Back to Reality

I had exciting discussion about Swiss life with the locals. Some things I knew, but majority of these new information were new and very interesting. Hopefully, I understood everything correctly.


On the first sign, taxes are in Switzerland quite low and not so much complicated, but contrary is the case. Well, I saw mainly just 8% VAT, reduced rate for food is just 2.5 % and after my first pay-day, I was quite positively surprised, that difference between my gross wage and net wage is just about 8 %.

This looked really nice until this talk, luckily, this rules doesn’t apply on me. Well, I hope.

Different cantons have different rules. Completely! If you finally learn taxes procedures in one canton and then you move to another, you can forget everything and start again at the beginning.

Taxes are paid once a year in Switzerland; it means, you get gross wage on your bank account and in the end of the year, you have to pay taxes retroactively. Well, not everywhere, in some canton, you pay taxes in advance a year. For example, at the year break 2014/2015, you will pay taxes for year 2014 in canton Basel-Stadt, but for year 2015 in Basel-Landschaft. So, if you move from Basel-Stadt to Basel-Landschaft, you have to pay taxes twice in one moment.

You pay taxes from your yearly income, that’s normal and probably everyone would expect this. But, you pay each year taxes from value of your car, house, flat or other personal and immovable assets. But that’s not everything. You even have to pay each year taxes from your all banks accounts balances, so your money are taxed many times – especially on bank accounts. You are liberated from this tax, if your all assets’ value is less than 100,000 CHF – it basically means that everyone, who own immovable assets, has to pay it.

Health Insurance

Health insurance is separated fee and there is no relation between wage and health insurance. Each person can choose how much wants to pay. If you pay less, you have higher yearly participation and vice-versa. Health insurance cost starts at about 350 CHF per month and I don’t know the highest possible rate. If you pay for example 350 CHF/month, you have to pay up to 1,500 CHF/year by you and afterwards will cover your health expenses your insurance company. It depends on your insurance company, but some insurance companies let you pay whole charge for treatment and return you overpayment next year. If you are sick, it’s necessary to obtain sick certificate from your doctor. This simple piece of paper will cost you 50 CHF.

Good thing is, you can lower you taxes by treatment expenses.

Dental care is not covered by health insurance at all, so you have to pay for everything by yourself and it’s very expensive. Tooth cleaning is from 500 CHF, drilling something small in one tooth about 1,200 CHF.

Military Service

Military service is obligatory for each Swiss man. When you turn 18, you have to go to the army for 6 months. If you want to the university, you have to postpone your start. After you finish this necessary 6 month long drill, you will have to participate each year 3 weeks long training until you served for 52 weeks in total, so you have “fun” for additional 17 years.

Each Swiss man has at home fire-arm, like a pistol or a rifle, but without ammunition.

Military Vehicle on Marktplatz

Military Vehicle on Marktplatz

I don’t know if this applies to every building, but my building, where I live, has air-raid shelter in the basement. It looks like you are going to the vault without money. Maybe it not exactly air-raid shelter, but it’s definitely for some emergency and one device in the basement looks like something for filtering air.

Air-raid shelter in the basement

Air-raid shelter in the basement

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