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How to file your taxes with Swiss and foreign securities in 2023

Baptiste Wicht | Updated: |

(Disclosure: Some of the links below may be affiliate links)

One question I get often is how to file taxes with stocks and dividends. And this especially gets popular when we add foreign stocks and dividends into the mix.

Many people are afraid of investing because they think it will make it complicated to file their taxes. But in practice, it is not complicated to file taxes even with a large ETF portfolio.

In this article, we see how to file your taxes with Swiss Stocks and dividends, which is very simple. And with U.S. Stocks and dividends, which is slightly more complicated.

Filing taxes

In Switzerland, taxes are different for each canton. Each canton has its software and forms to complete your tax form. However, most of the forms are very similar and have similar names. So, if you can file your taxes in one canton, you should not have many issues filing them in another.

Since taxes differ in each canton in Switzerland, I need to take an example. So, I will take Fribourg as an example with the Fritax 2020 software. You can use this example to file your taxes for your canton. The concepts should be the same for each canton, but the software to fill them will differ slightly.

Some of the Swiss tax apps are better than others. I have not tested many of them, but from what I have seen, Fritax is probably average. It is not always intuitive, but it is relatively easy to use.

Unfortunately, Fritax is not available in English. So I will use the French version for my screenshots. The forms will be the same in German as well.

If you do not know why I am using U.S. ETFs, you may want to learn about the advantages of U.S. ETFs. They are related to how you will file your taxes with U.S. securities.

Swiss Securities

First, we start to see how to declare Swiss securities. These are the securities that are subject to the Swiss dividend withholding taxes. Indeed, the Swiss tax office will withhold 35% of the dividends. Your broker will do this directly.

In your tax declaration, you will have a form to enter all your assets (bank accounts, bonds, stocks, and lottery gains). In my French software, this is called “Etat des titres”, which translates to “Status of the securities”.

Here is the form before filling it:

Filing your Swiss Taxes "State of securities" form
Filing your Swiss Taxes “Status of securities” form

In this form, you must list all of your Swiss securities, whether stocks or ETFs. Since I am recommending investments in ETFs, I will take an ETF as an example. But you would do exactly the same with a stock. For example, I will use CHSPI, the Swiss ETF I use in my portfolio.

You must indicate this is a security (choice 3) in the first column on each line. You must then indicate that this is a private asset (choice P) in the second column.

Then, you can press the “Listes des cours” (Lists of prices) to search for the prices of a security. This assistant will help you with your dividends and prices. You can enter the ISIN number of your ETF and press search (Chercher). For instance, the ISIN number of CHSPI is CH0237935652. You can find the ISIN number of each ETF on the website of the fund provider.

Then, you will see all the taxable income for this security. You can enter the number of shares, the buy date, and the taxable value, and the taxable dividend will be calculated for you. For instance:

Compute the dividends of a security when you file your taxes
Compute the dividends of a security when you file your taxes

The date will be considered to compute the dividends for this security. If you enter a date that is after some dividends have been issued, they will not be considered. And they will automatically compute the taxable wealth with the security value at the end of the year.

Here is an example of what this could look like.

An example of securities for your taxes
An example of securities for your taxes

The totals are automatically done at the end of the form. And these values are propagated into the rest of the forms.

If you already have securities before the beginning of the year, you have two options. If you file your taxes right after the year without losing your tax declaration, you can keep all the buy operations from the previous year. Or you can use the total number of shares at the beginning of the year with a single entry and a date like the last year of the previous year. I have already done that in the past, and I have never had any issues.

If you have sold securities during the year, you must also declare them. You can use a purchase date and sold date to let the software compute how many dividends you received before selling the shares. In that case, the software will automatically set the taxable value to zero.

Using ICTax

Unfortunately, not every Swiss taxes software allows you to get all these numbers inside the app. So, in this case, you will have to use the ICTax website. This is the reference for all the official end-of-year prices and currency conversions to file your taxes. One good thing is that this website is available in English, contrary to the tax software.

You can go to the website and search for the ISIN again:

File your taxes with ICTax: Search the ISIN
File your taxes with ICTax: Search the ISIN

And then, you can click on the ETF of your choosing. After that, you must do the same as before with the tax software. You will be able to enter the number of shares and purchase date. The website will automatically compute the tax value and the gross return. You can then copy these values directly into your tax declaration.

How to use ICTax to help you file your taxes
How to use ICTax to help you file your taxes

It is much less practical to file taxes like this than having the software do it for you. But in any case, it should not take you long to complete your Swiss securities.

It is also a good reason to keep your trading limited to a few ETFs. If you are buying many securities during the entire year, you will have to enter many lines. But it is not as complicated as many people believe.

If your ETF is not on ICTax, you can ask them to add it to the system. But most well-known ETFs should already be there. I have never had an issue so far.

U.S. ETFs / Securities

For U.S. ETFs and securities, it can get a little more complicated because there are a few possible cases.

First, it will depend on which broker you are using. If you are using a Swiss broker, you will pay two deductions:

  • 15% withheld by the Swiss broker
  • 15% directly withheld at source by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

If you are using a broker like Interactive Brokers, you will only see the IRS’s direct deduction. This is a foreign tax.

To claim back the foreign tax, you need to use the DA-1 form. And to claim back the Swiss withholding (if you use a Swiss broker), you need to use the R-US 164 form.

These forms are attachments to the form we covered in the previous section. And they are extremely similar. The difference will be in setting the percentages that you can claim back.

If you use other foreign securities, the idea remains the same, except that the percentages will differ. You will have to find the percentages for both columns for your situation.

In this case, Fritax did an excellent job since they put DA-1 and R-US 164 together. Therefore, there is only a single form to fill for foreign securities. This is a great idea!

Here is the empty combined DA-1 / R-US 164 form:

Empty DA-1 R-US form to file your taxes with foreign securities
Empty DA-1 R-US form to file your taxes with foreign securities

As we can see, it is extremely similar to the previous form. And it works exactly the same way. You must still select that this is an action and part of your private net worth. Then, you can use the same assistant to get all the tax information by pressing the “Liste de cours” button on top of the form.

They have all the information, even for U.S. ETFs, such as Vanguard Total World (VT). Here is an example of how to fill it with VT:

Get information Vanguard Total World (VT) for your DA-1 form
Get information Vanguard Total World (VT) for your DA-1 form

Once you have filled a line, you still need to select the country in column 3. This will be the US in our case.

Then, you need to update columns 7 and 9 with the percentages for your case. If you only fill the DA-1 form (with Interactive Brokers), you must set column 7 to the value 15. If you are filling the R-US 164 form (with a Swiss broker, for instance), you must set column 9 to the value 15.

Then, the tool will automatically compute how much taxes were withheld in both cases. And Fritax will automatically fill in the total.

Here is a filled DA-1 form with both sides filled:

Example of a fille DA-1 form with Vanguard Total World
Example of a filled DA-1 form with Vanguard Total World

If you use Interactive Brokers and only pay 15% of dividends withholding, you can change column 9 to the value 0.

All the other details are the same as for the Swiss securities, so you can look at the previous sections to get all the information. But with the Fritax software, it is not that bad to file your taxes with foreign securities. As you can see, the DA-1 and R-US 164 forms are almost the same as the standard securities form.

Using ICTax

If your tax software does not support getting the values directly from it, you can use the ICTax website for foreign securities too. It will give you all the dividends in CHF and the tax value of your securities at the end of the fiscal year.

This will be done exactly like we did for Swiss securities. For instance, you can search for Vanguard Total World on the website:

Vanguard Total World on ICTax
Vanguard Total World on ICTax

Make sure you choose the Stock version and not the bond version (unless you have both, of course). And then, you can fill it up like before. For instance:

Use ICTax to file your taxes with foreign securities
Use ICTax to file your taxes with foreign securities

Then, you will only have to copy these values into the DA-1 or R-US 164 form and select the correct withholding percentages. It is not more complicated than for Swiss securities.


The tax office will request documents attesting to your dividends, capital gains, and net worth.

Some Swiss brokers will propose some special documents for taxes. And some people believe that only these reports are valid. But that is not correct. Even foreign brokers have documents that Swiss tax offices accept.

For instance, I use an annual activity statement report with Interactive Brokers. This contains all operations, all dividends, and the status of my shares at the end of the year. I have never had any issue with that. You can get this from the Reports tab. In there, you can generate an activity statement for the entire year.


There you have it! Following these simple steps, you can file taxes with Swiss and foreign securities! It is not as complicated as many people believe.

Even for U.S. Securities, it is not complicated. You must fill out an extra form (DA-1) in the best case and two in the worst case (DA-1 and R-US 164), but these forms are almost the same as for Swiss securities. So, I do not think this is a big deal.

If you are wondering why we need to fill all these lines, it is for the system to compute exactly how much you got from dividends. Since dividends are taxed as income, this must be precise. And only by indicating each buy and sell date will you get a precise amount.

Hopefully, this will help you file your taxes with securities.

If you want more tax information, I have an in-depth guide about Swiss taxes.

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Baptiste Wicht started in 2017. He realized that he was falling into the trap of lifestyle inflation. He decided to cut his expenses and increase his income. This blog is relating his story and findings. In 2019, he is saving more than 50% of his income. He made it a goal to reach Financial Independence. You can send Mr. The Poor Swiss a message here.

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147 thoughts on “How to file your taxes with Swiss and foreign securities in 2023”

  1. Hi Baptiste,

    first of all, great blog! – there is so much valuable information in here. I do really appreciate all the time you are investing into this.

    When it comes to Ireland-based ETFs, the 15% US withholding taxes cannot be reclaimed when declaring taxes. Is it correct?

    Secondly, do you have a good US ETFs domicile screener to suggest? I’m so used to JustETF now that I find hard to filter any other one.

  2. To simplify the process, instead of adding the info stock by stock with he purchase/sale transactions. Would it be possible to input one entry into the tax software that has the overall portfolio value by Dec 31 and the total dividends earned in the tax year? This will much much faster but not sure if it’s ok.

    To do that in my software (Zurich) I selected add new security, in the type I selected “other” I added the value of the full portfolio, and in the yield I added the dividends total

    1. Hi Sila

      I believe that’s posssible as long as you provide documentation showing all the operations and all the dividends in detail. But this will depend on the tax person checking your declaration.
      And obviously, you must have the proper amoutn of total dividends and this only works if you are not a professional investor.

  3. Thanks for the detailed explanation!

    I got a bit confused after reading all the comments but just to summarise and a couple of questions:

    If hold US ETF through IB I need to submit 2 forms:

    1) W8-BEN Form: this is so IB deducts X of WHT (15% from my dividends) to give back to US.

    Where do I get it from and where shall be submitted?

    2) DA-1 Form: this one is to tell the Swiss government that I received dividends and have paid X of WHT. To be submitted during Tax declaration.

    Where do it get this one from?

  4. Hi there,

    A question while reading this article and also one on mustachianpost.
    Do we always get back the full withholding tax applied by the country of domicile of the ETF? (filling in the DA-1 form?

    If yes, then why does it matter if we reduce it or not by choosing an ETF with a domicile that implies a smaller L2 withholding yes?

    Also, do we add the full dividend value to the income for taxing as a whole or we add (dividend – what has been paid as L2wth already in the country of domicile)

    1. Hi Mihai,

      No, we only get it back with a US ETF, not with another European ETF. With an ireland ETF, the 15% would be lost.
      Normally, the tax software should ask you the full amont and then calculate the returns based on the % of withholding.

      1. Hi Baptiste,

        Hmm it would also be the case for Luxembourg for example as they also apply an L2WTH tax which we can claim back.
        (For Ireland I know and that’s more the L1WTH, the L2 is 0 as per treaty).

        I got confused the other day when someone told me the amount you get back depends on your marginal tax rate and I did not get the relationship between the two.

        I saw with DA-1 that if min 100 chf to get back, then they “pay” you the amount back.
        Okay, it gets added to the income and gets taxed as such => if you fall upon a bigger tax bracket with this increase that’s life.

      2. Hi,

        Yes, that’s the same for any non-US funds. Because the IRS will take the withholding before the funds get them and we can’t get them back.

        Keep in mind that you do not really get back the amount. It reduces the taxes you pay. I don’t think it matters which marginal tax rate you have.

        And yes, DA-1 has a limit of 100 CHF before it gets processed unfortunately.

  5. Hi Baptiste,
    thanks for all your help!
    Not sure if I missed it, but do you have an article or a resource which explain which exact report we need to use for taxes from IB in Switzerland?
    Moreover, in my IB I only see Form 1042S, not the other forms(?) you mentioned.
    (apologize for the maybe dumb question)
    thanks again

    1. Hi Marco,

      Thanks for your kind words.

      I am simply using the activity statement, set for a full year and add this to my tax declaration. IB does not have any Swiss tax report.

      1. thanks for your replay. Allow me another clarification pls…
        do you list all your shares in the tax page of the shares in the tax software, or you just print the document from IBKR and you include it in the tax forms?
        I ask this because this is what my tax person required me to do.
        (we used the tax software to fill the sheets, then we printed all the papers from the software, then we added the IBKR documents including a note that I also owed that assets in the printed sheet)

      2. I do both. I add the huge activity statement from IB as an attachement and then I list all my shares on the tax software. This is pretty painful to do but once you have done it once it’s fine.
        They may accept simply the document and fill it themselves, I don’t know. It probably depends on each canton.

  6. Hi Baptiste,

    Thank you again for such a detailed guide.
    Thus I learned about the possibility of claiming back the 30% withheld on the US stocks.

    Do you know if it’s possible to fill up the forms for past years, e.g. 2020, 2021, 2022? I was not aware of the possibility of asking back the 30%, so even though I declared the US stocks that I own, I did not fill DA-1 nor R-US 164, so I wasn’t reimbursed.

    The taxation took place in canton de Vaud. I’ve already received the “decompte” for 2022, so I’m thinking that it might be too late to try and send them these forms.

    Adrian N

    1. Hi Adrian,

      In general, it’s indeed too late to get that back. However, you can always ask them. One of my family members had deducted too little for several years and they allowed it a back-deduction of most of what she missed. But this may be rare.

  7. Hi! Thank you for these clarifications. So I was always wrong to indicate in the first column the letter “A” (Capital d’épargne), instead of “P” (which, in my case, would be “PP” – Participation privée)? I only have Europeans ETFs.

    1. I believe that Participation Privée is related to partial imposition, which is a lower imposition on some participations to companies. I don’t believe you need to use this with stocks. But keep in mind that I am no tax expert and I only known Fribourg taxes well, other cantons may have different rules.

  8. Hi Baptiste,

    Thanks for the very detailed article!

    I was wondering about the cash that might be in the IB account at the end of the year, let’s say after buying the latest batch of VT there’s 5 or 20 USD left in the account – it this something you would declare as such, or maybe just add to the cash that you declare in general?

    Thanks for your advice!

      1. Hi again, thanks for the quick reply!

        Obviously not under securities, but otherwise I also cannot declare it where I declare my Swiss bank accounts for example, there’s no IBAN to give or anything.

        So I would see as only option to add it manually to the section cash (which, in my canton at least, is comprised of a single text box for a value to be given which would include anything like physical cash, gold, crypto, etc)…

      2. In my case, I used the IB account number as the account number, just like I used my IBAN for my bank account, and the tax office never complained.

      3. Hi Baptiste,
        May I ask you, what do you use as an account number for cash, as in my annual statement the cash is not assigned to any account?
        BTW: thank you for ALL this info. It’s very helpful and very appreciated.

      4. Baptiste,

        yes, giving the account number instead of IBAN, I think this would be the most elegant solution, and have the balance appear separate!

        I’ll check in with the tax office, it just happens that my canton’s tax software asks for every bank account if it was opened during the fiscal year or it had been active before, and as I hadn’t declared (the basically 0) balance the year before this needs to be discussed.

        In the end adding it to cash reserves is probably equally valid, it’s still declared.

        Thanks again for your input!

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