Immigrants are obliged to pay taxes in the same way as Swiss citizens. They are paid to both the municipality and the canton in which you are living – these are the municipal tax (or local rates) and the cantonal tax – and to the Federal government. These are known as direct Federal taxes.
The tax system is organised such that most people complete a tax return once per year. In it they state how much they have earned in the last year and what they have in the way of assets. The tax return is then submitted to the local tax authority. It calculates the level of taxes and issue the tax demands.
Switzerland also has source tax. It is deducted direct from the taxable person by their employer. The employer deducts the tax from the wage and transfers the amount to the tax authorities. Immigrants who do not have a category C residence permit have to pay this tax if they are not married to someone who has this permit or Swiss citizenship. Source tax varies from canton to canton and can change from year to year.
Switzerland has concluded double taxation agreements with more than 100 countries to prevent immigrants being subject to double taxation – in Switzerland and in their home country. These agreements are also important in dealing with tax evasion.