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The 60-day rule explained simply

Published: 28 October 2019

Cross-border commuters, who work in Switzerland are normally taxed in their country of residence. In Switzerland, only a reduced withholding tax rate is paid, which is credited against the income tax return in the country of residence. An exception is the 60-day rule between Switzerland and Germany: Cross-border commuters who cannot return to their place of residence for more than 60 days for professional reasons are taxed at the place where the work is physically performed, i.e. in Switzerland. In tax terms, this is naturally attractive in the case of Switzerland. In the following I will explain what counts for the calculation of the 60 days and how to proceed.

A regular return to the place of residence is still required. Since otherwise there is no longer any activity as a cross-border commuter and in this case a regular residence status should be sought.

What counts for the calculation of the 60-day rule?

First of all, it depends on the number of overnight stays and not on the days. Even if the name of the derogation suggests otherwise. The return to the place of residence must be unreasonable. An unreasonable return shall be considered if the distance is at least 110 km or if the time required for the outward and return journey is more than 3 hours. The distance must not be less than 90 km or the time required for the outward and return journey must not be less than 2 hours.

Holidays, Saturdays and Sundays that are not explicitly stated in the employment contract as well as sick days are not taken into account. An exception is made for business trips lasting several days on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays for which the employer bears the travel costs; these are counted as non-return days.

In the case of part-time employment, the days are reduced accordingly. This means that an 80% workload involves 48 days. If the employment is not a full year, the following key is applied. 5 days per full working month and 1 day per full working week. If the duration of employment is 3 months and 2 weeks, it is 17 days.

What do I have to do to be fully taxed in Switzerland?

By the end of the working year at the latest, the completed form Gre-3 must be sent to the Cantonal Tax Office withholding tax department. After the form has been validated, it is sent back to the employer as a certificate from the office. The employer must then hand the certificate over to the employee. This enables the employee to obtain exemption from German tax from the German tax office. This means that all income that is earned in Switzerland is also taxed in Switzerland and is no longer subject to German income tax.

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