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How to file your taxes with Swiss and foreign securities in 2024

Baptiste Wicht | Updated: |

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

One question I often get is how to file taxes with stocks and dividends. This becomes especially popular when we add foreign stocks and dividends to the mix.

Many people are afraid of investing because they think it will make filing their taxes complicated. 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.

You need to use the DA-1 form to claim back foreign tax. You need to use the R-US 164 form to claim back Swiss withholding if you use a Swiss broker.

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.

It is important to note that the DA-1 deduction is generally only applied if you have more than 100 CHF in foreign withholding. It does not change how you file your taxes, but knowing this may avoid a surprise when receiving your tax decision.

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.

Attachments

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.

Conclusion

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 thepoorswiss.com 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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209 thoughts on “How to file your taxes with Swiss and foreign securities in 2024”

  1. Hi Baptiste,

    First of all, many thanks for your blog! It helped me a lot since I’ve moved to Switzerland and I’ve already read tons of your articles. I appreciate that you’re keeping them updated, too. Keep on the good work!

    I’ve got a question. I own some bonds from a EU country (Italy) and the ISIN is not on ICTax… although many other bonds of that country are! You said I could ask them to add more securities to their data base, but to whom would you write exactly?

    For the tax declaration, I could manually enter last year’s coupons into the form, but then — which exchange rate would I have to use? The Dec 31 exchange rate, or the rate of the day the coupon came?

  2. Hi PS,
    Thank you for the response. Can I please ask where can I find the DA-1 form to reclaim the 15%? Is it also possible to claim the amount I didn’t from last year as I wasn’t aware I was supposed to?

    Please your previous response compiled below for response as I didn’t have a reply option on the text.

    “No, that’s wrong :)
    If you already have 15% withheld, you already took care of your W8BEN, but you still need the DA-1 form to reclaim these 15% dividends from your US ETFs. Otherwise, you are letting money on the table.”

    1. The DA-1 form is part of your tax declaration, if you‘re using a software or doing it online it should be available. Also, you‘re not so mich reclaiming withheld tax as getting it to count toward your total owed tax. And only if it was more than 100 CHF withheld. If you have done your tax declaration but it hasn‘t been processed yet, you can hand in a corrected version by doing it again. If it has been processed (aka you got the final invoice) and it‘s been more than 30 days, you can‘t change anything anymore.

      Think about whether it‘s worth the effort to redo.

  3. Hi Poor Swiss the below was your response to my question ( I can’t seem to reply from the thread so I am reposting it here for reference) where can I find the- DA-1 form to fill out? Is it also possible to claim 2022 15% on this form as I didn’t fill out then?

    Thank you for your help.

    Your previous response:
    “No, that’s wrong :)

    If you already have 15% withheld, you already took care of your W8BEN, but you still need the DA-1 form to reclaim these 15% dividends from your US ETFs. Otherwise, you are letting money on the table.”

    1. Yes, comments are quite limited on WordPress, if you want a full discussion, you can head to the forum :)

      Normally, you can’t claim later if you have already filled out your tax declaration. However, sometimes the tax office allows it if you have made a mistake. But you should ask them directly.

  4. Thank you so much for your invaluable guidance. My question is how I should report my US stocks (through Schwabs) in my Swiss tax filing. I have been keeping the stocks, no purchase, no sell. I report the dividends (converted into francs), and I report the values of the stocks by multiplying the number of shares (units) I have with the end of the year price. Is this the right way to do?

    1. The tax software actually has the amazing ability to know all stock prices and dividends, you only have to input the stock with the “Valorennummer” and how many you had at the end of last year, end of this year and dates you bought how many stocks. Then it calculates exactly how many dividends you got when. If you haven’t done any trades, it’s easier, just input same number of shares beginning and end of year, done. You don’t have to do any calculating yourself.

      1. Thank you, but what are the « valorennummer » and other numbers required to use the software? Regards,

    2. In my case there was no withholding from the US. I am more concerned about correct swiss reporting of the tax value of my US stocks.

    3. As mentioned by Barbara, the tax software should do everything for you based on the number of shares.

      But how do you get no withholding from US stocks? The minimum withholding is 15%, it should not be lower.

      1. In my annual statement from the US broker there is no indication of 15% withholding from my dividends. Does it mean that the withholding happens when I file my US tax return?

      2. Hi Baptiste, My broker is Schwab. In the row for federal withholding it shows zero. Kind regards, Fulai

  5. Hi Baptiste,

    as everyone here, thanks a lot for the informative work you are giving us.

    I’ve tried to skimmed thru the comments, but I couldn’t find any reference. As a CH investor in IB, I’ve register as so and filled W8 form. Does it means that I’m automatically withdrawn 15% instead of 30%?

    On top of it, do you have the best way to run an annual statement in IB? From the Report > Tax Forms I’ve downloaded Form 1042-S, but it’s quite daunting to read. Is there everything needed? Do you download any other report showing the uninvested liquidity in IB?

    Thanks a lot.

    1. Hi Paolo

      Thanks, I am glad this is useful.

      Normally, that’s all you need to do indeed. Once the W8BEN is filled, the next US dividend you will receive should only withhold 15%.
      The 1042-S is onyl for the US, you should forget it. What I do is generate an activity statement for the Annual period and add this to my tax declaration. It has everything the tax offices needs.

      1. Hi Poor Swiss so if I already have 15% withheld tax I don’t need to feel out the DA-1 / R-US 164 form? Just submit my fact sheet form?

        Thank you always for you ever invaluable information

      2. No, that’s wrong :)

        If you already have 15% withheld, you already took care of your W8BEN, but you still need the DA-1 form to reclaim these 15% dividends from your US ETFs. Otherwise, you are letting money on the table.

  6. Hello Baptiste,

    Thank you so much for all the work you put into this blog. It does make a huge (compound!) difference in the financial lives of many!

    Here my question:

    In 2022 I declared my IB ETF stocks (VT, etc.) via the DA-1 as explained here and in their taxation decision they wrote the following:

    IMPÔT ANTICIPÉ – RETENUE SUPPLÉMENTAIRE USA – IMPUTATION IMPÔT ÉTRANGER À LA SOURCE
    Décision de rejet partiel ou total de votre demande (article 52, al. 3 LIA).
    Après contrôle de votre demande, nous vous informons que le droit au remboursement est réduit aux montants indiqués plus haut pour les motifs suivants :
    Le montant maximum de l’imputation d’impôts étrangers retenus à la source ne peut excéder la somme des impôts suisses frappant les rendements en cause après déduction des intérêts passifs y afférents et des frais liés à leur acquisition (art. 8 à 11 de l’Ordonnance du Conseil fédéral du 22 août 1967 en la matière).

    Is it correctly done? What does it exactly mean?

    Cheers,
    Fernando

    1. Hi Fernando

      I am not sure exactly what it means, this is written weirdly (and French is my mother tongue).
      I know of two rules regarding DA-1:
      * Below 100 CHF, they will generally not reimburse
      * If you also have a mortage, there are some complicated math going on so that you can’t deduct too much.

      I should really dig deeper into the subject and mention these two cases.

      Do you fall into one of these two categories?

      You can always call them or meet them to discuss that in more detail to understand the issue bettter.

      1. Hello Baptiste,

        I do not have a mortgage, so no complication on that regard.

        I think it has to do with the way I declare it:

        – Since I buy with a monthly frequency and not always the same ETF, I do not want to input every single stock operation because it is a pain and more prone to mistakes.
        – I declare for each of the four ETFs I own, a single line with the year end value and the amount bought from 1 Jan to 31 Dec (I understand that is also what you do) and I declare zero dividends.
        – I combine all dividends (and the withheld amount) into a single line with 1 share with zero tax value and the total dividend yield of the portfolio.

        From the “Relevé de compte 2022” IB report I have in the first page on the right under “Changements de l’actif net” a “Dividendes” for 1869.- and “Retenue fiscale” for 280.- which corresponds to 15% (and higher than the 100.- limit you mention).

        Therefore I declare a line in the DA-1 with the concept “Total dividends 2022” as one share with zero value, 1869.- as “Rendement par action” and I indicate “United States” as origin and 280.- as “Impôt étranger non récuperable”.

        The only mistake I can think of is if I should have declared 0 as “non récuperable” and instead declare 280.- as “Montants bruts déjà déclarés sur la formule complémentaire R-US 164”.

        What do you think? I still have not done my 2023 tax declaration and I want to get it right since withheld amounts are now more than 800.-

        Cheers,
        Fernando

        * As a side suggestion, I believe showing step-by-step which numbers to input from the IB report into the Vaud software could be quite useful for your Vaud audience (I can help with my own experience if you wish)

      2. Hi,

        No, this is not what I do. I declare every single transaction on my tax declaration. Since I generally buy one ETF per month, this is easy.

        If you are at IB, you will have 15% only withdrawn only. For me, I am filling 0% as non-récupérable and 15% in the second column, as you mentioned.

        Indeed, it could be useful to do other cantons, but it’s either all or none. And I simply do not have the resources to do more than one canton. Thanks for offerring!

  7. Hi Baptiste,
    Thanks again for your very useful blog, thanks to which I started investing using IB. I have at the moment invested in 1 US ETF (VT) and 1 Swiss ETF (CHSPI).
    I’m not an expert in filling my taxes so I don’t fill them personally, but I use the service of an association which I’m part of and that does that for a low amount of money.
    So I guess that in this case I have just to give them some reports taken from the Interactive Brokers website, isn’t it? Can you tell me what they are? I’m resident in Tessin.

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