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Tax Deductions in Switzerland for 2023

Baptiste Wicht | Updated: |

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

We all want to pay lower taxes! When you fill your tax declaration in Switzerland, it is important to take advantage of all possible tax deductions. Tax deductions allow you to reduce your taxable income. Since your taxable income will directly drive the amount of taxes you pay, it is essential to reduce it when possible.

So, in this article, I go into detail about all the possible tax deductions in Switzerland. Hopefully, you will be able to find tax deductions that you did not use before and will be able to reduce your taxes.

I will try to stay generic since many of these tax deductions will differ from canton to canton. The maximums and minimums for each tax deduction will likely change a lot. And the deductions may be different at the federal and the cantonal levels since both have different maximum deductions.

Commute Expenses

A tax deduction that almost everybody can claim is related to the expenses for your commute to work. If you need to pay something to go to work, you can deduct these expenses from your income.

First, if you go to work by car, you can deduct the kilometers from your home to your work. If you work full-time, you can deduct a maximum of 220 times the round trip from your home to your work. You also need to justify using a car, but generally, it is not difficult to justify it. For instance, in my case, there is barely any public transportation where I live.

If you go to work by public transportation, you can also deduct your public transportation subscription price.

Finally, you can also deduct a flat rate for your bike if you bike to work. Interestingly, most cantons will accept to deduct for both public transportation and bikes if you do both.

Each canton will have a different maximum for this deduction. But this is an important deduction since it can easily account for several thousand Swiss francs removed from your taxable income.

Meal Expenses

If you cannot go home for lunch, you can also deduct your meal expenses. In some cases, you will also be able to deduct your dinner expenses if you cannot even go home for dinner, but you will have to justify it.

In general, you will be able to deduct 15 CHF per meal taken outside of your home. If you have access to a discounted canteen or if your employer contributes to your meals, you will only be able to deduct 7.50 CHF per meal.

Once again, there will be a maximum at the federal and cantonal levels for this deduction. But it is an important deduction since it can be substantial (especially if your company does not have discounted canteen).

Spending nights at the place of work

If your job forces you to spend nights outside of your place of residence, you can deduct your accommodation expenses in your place of work. You will also be able to deduct transportation from your place of residence to your place of work twice a week. In that case, do not forget to claim tax deductions for both meals during the day!

Work-Related expenses

You can also deduct other work-related expenses. For instance:

You can generally apply for a 3% flat tax deduction from your net income. However, there is a maximum of 4000 CHF per year. If you have higher costs, you can also deduct the effective costs with all the necessary justifications.

If you have to drive at work in your personal car, you will also be entitled to a tax deduction based on the number of kilometers you drive.

Professional Development

If you take significant training to improve your professional career, you can also use it as a tax deduction. If you do a reorientation course to change jobs, this can also be deducted here. In some cases, you can also count language courses in that category.

You will have to justify these expenses, and you will have to pay for them yourself. You cannot deduct it if your company pays for it, as it is usually the case.

In some cantons, you can deduct some training without justifications. It is the case in Zurich, but there are probably some other cantons that allow you to do that.

Home Office expenses

Currently, when we are forced to work from home, the situation is confusing. Each canton has announced different sets of rules for home office tax deductions. If you are forced to work at home in most cantons, you can still deduct the same deductions.

But in general, if you are working from home, there are a few things you can deduct :

If you are still deducing the same in-office work deductions as before during COVID-19, you will not be able to claim home-office deductions. You will have to choose.

We can expect the rules to change after the COVID-19 situation.

Third Pillar Contributions

The best tax deduction is probably to contribute to your third pillar. Each year, you can contribute up to 7056 CHF (as of 2023) per employed person in your household. So, if you have two employed people in your household, you should contribute to both, if you can.

This 7056 CHF per year is removed from your taxable income. This makes a very significant difference to your taxable income. If self-employed, you can contribute up to 20% of your net income into the third pillar, up to a maximum of 35’280 CHF.

Now, you should only invest in a good third pillar. And you should invest your third pillar money in the stock market as much as possible. Otherwise, the returns will be very low. If you do not have a third pillar yet, look at the best third pillar of Switzerland.

If you invest in a great third pillar, this is almost free money. Most other tax deductions will allow you to deduct the money you spend. But this tax deduction allows you to deduct the money you invest, which is much better!

Second Pillar Contributions

You can also get a tax deduction for the money you contribute voluntarily to the second pillar. If you make an extra contribution to the second pillar, this contribution is tax-deductible.

How much you can contribute depends on your second pillar contribution history You can ask the second pillar provider to know how much you can contribute. This can be a significant amount (sometimes more than 100’000 CHF). So, you can realize huge tax deductions with this technique.

However, this is only interesting if you have access to a good second pillar with good returns. And unfortunately, this is not the case for most people. For instance, it returns less than 1% on average, which is pitiful in my case.

Also, you need to make sure that you can get a tax deduction. If you have withdrawn money from the second pillar for a house or a startup, your extra contributions will not be tax-deductible until you have repaid what you take out. This is why we do not invest in our second pillar.

If you want to know more, you can check whether you should contribute to your second pillar.

Just like contributions to the third pillar, contributions to the second pillar are almost free money! The issue with the second pillar is that returns, for most people, are pretty bad.

Debt payments

If you have debts and are paying interest payments, you can get a tax deduction from them. For instance, if you have a consumer loan or a mortgage, you can deduct all your interest payments. It is the same for credit card debt, which few people know.

On the other hand, you cannot claim interest payments for leasing since the object (likely a car) does not belong to you during the leasing. This could be why a car loan could be more interesting than leasing sometimes.

You should also not forget to deduct the value of your debts from your taxable net worth. This can make a large difference in your net worth taxes.


If you donate to a charitable organization, you can get a tax deduction for the donated amount.

Many non-profit organizations in Switzerland are recognized by the tax office, and you can donate to them to save on taxes. You will have to keep the certificates of donation from the non-profit organization for your tax declaration.

The great thing about this deduction is that the limit is very high. At the federal level, you can deduct up to 20% of your net income. At the cantonal level, it will vary from 10% to 20%.

Insurance Premiums

Another good tax deduction is the deduction for insurance premiums.

Since health insurance is mandatory in Switzerland, you are already paying for it. So, it is good that you can deduct a little money from your taxable income for it.

You can deduct your premiums for health and accident insurance. At the federal level, the maximum is 1700 CHF for singles and 3500 CHF for married couples. Several cantons allow deducting more than that. The issue is that this is much lower than what we are actually paying. But it is already better than nothing!

In any case, you should try to reduce your health insurance premiums.

Medical Expenses

If you have high medical expenses, you may be able to deduct some of them from your taxable income. These medical expenses include:

If you have to pay these from your own pocket (no supplemental insurance or high deductible, or both), you may deduct them from your taxes. However, in most cantons, you can only deduct expenses higher than the minimum of 5% of your net income. So, if your expenses are lower than this minimum, you will not be able to deduct anything. This means that in the immense majority of cases, you cannot deduct anything.


Childcare in Switzerland is incredibly expensive. Fortunately, you can deduct childcare expenses from your taxable income.

If your child is less than 14 years old and you have to pay someone to take care of him, you can deduct this. The tax deduction is due for childcare facilities or day nurseries.

The maximum tax deduction is 25’000 CHF at the federal level, while it varies highly for each canton. This is an important deduction that you should not forget since it will make a big difference to your taxable income.

Unfortunately, most cantons will not accept deductions for childcare if one of the spouses is not working. They will assume that the non-working spouse can take care of the child.


If you are in a couple, there are two different possible tax deductions:

  1. If your spouse does not work, you can deduct 2600 CHF from your taxable income.
  2. If your spouse works, you can get a double-earner tax deduction. This is 50% of the lowest of the two incomes, with a minimum of 8100 CHF and a maximum of 13’400 CHF.


If you have children or are caring for disabled dependents, you can claim up to 6500 CHF per dependent. At the cantonal level, this will vary highly from one place to the other.

If you are divorced and pay alimony to your ex-partner, you will be able to deduct these alimony payments from your taxable income.

You can also deduct gifts you have made to a person who needs this money to live in some cases.

Assets management fees

You can deduct the fees for storing your investment assets:

In most cantons, you can deduct either the effective fees or a flat rate. The flat rate is generally a per thousand value of your net worth. In most cases, the flat rate is higher than the effective costs, so it is better and easier to deduct the flat rate.

House Renovations

If you are doing renovation work on your house (painting, kitchen renovations, heating renovations, …), you may be able to get tax deductions. Whether you can deduct it or not depends on the matter of the work:

  1. If the renovations increase the energy efficiency of the house, you can deduct it from your taxable income. For instance, changing your windows to improve insulation or switching to a heat pump.
  2. If the renovations increase the house’s value, you cannot deduct it from your taxable income. For instance, if you add a winter garden to your home.
  3. Other renovations that do not increase the value of the house can be deducted.

If you are planning large work, it may be interesting to spread it over several years if possible. Since tax is progressive, you can save more money over two years than one. But that is only interesting for large expenses.

House Expenses

You can also deduct other house expenses from your taxable income. However, very few of them are tax-deductible, and you will have to check with your canton what you can deduct. One example is the building insurance premium you can deduct in most cantons.

You will add these expenses together with the house renovation costs. And you can choose either a flat rate or an effective tax deduction. If you do not have any renovation work, you should opt for the flat rate that will likely be higher.

Reduce your property rental value

When you are a homeowner living in your home, you will pay taxes on a fake income, the rental value of your home. You are paying taxes as if you were renting it out. This adds to your taxable income. This can significantly increase your taxes.

There is only one way to reduce this property rental value: claim underutilization of the house. This is possible if you have one room in your house that is not being used. You can claim that you do not use this room and ask for it to be removed from the calculation of the rental value. This can make a significant difference in your rental value and hence taxable income.

Declare your withholding taxes

Finally, if you have paid withholding taxes, you should not forget to declare them. These withholding taxes will count towards the amount of taxes you have already paid. So, they will effectively reduce the taxes that you still have to pay.

You will pay withholding tax on the following gains:

If you are using some U.S. ETFs, you can even deduct the withholding that was done at the source by the United States tax office. I have a guide about declaring dividends from U.S. ETFs.


As you can see, there are many possible tax deductions from your taxable income. However, there is no magic deduction that you can do. Some tax deductions are almost free, such as the third and second pillar contributions. However, most deductions only allow you to deduct things you have paid.

So, in general, there is not much you can do to deduct more from your taxes. The most important thing is that you should not forget any tax deductions! You should make sure you are deducting every possible thing you are allowed to.

Swiss taxes may be fair, but they will be the highest item on your budget if you have a significant income. As such, it is important to do everything possible to reduce them to the maximum.

If you want more information, you can read my guide on Switzerland’s taxes or my article on the marginal tax rate.

Do you know any other tax deductions that we can use?

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Photo of Baptiste Wicht

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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41 thoughts on “Tax Deductions in Switzerland for 2023”

  1. Thank you for your article, should have read it before doing my taxes, though I deducted what I could :)

    One thing I discovered this year, IVF cost (not covered by insurance in CH) can be a part of the medical cost deductions in some cantons, but is hardly ever mentioned!

    For those with B permit (like me), you can do a full or simplified submission, depending on the canton, but be aware that once you file, you need to keep doing it every year, can’t pick and choose when convenient. Generally if you max out 3rd pillar, you should get some money back, but it is not immediate, sometimes I had to wait for several years for my final tax confirmation.

    1. Hi JP,

      Thanks for sharing. I did not know IVF would be considered in some cantons. That still has to be higher than the minimum, which gets quite large based on your income.

      Yes, it’s not guaranteed that switching from tax at source to full declaration is a win. And as you said, once you start, you can’t go back. And it’s very difficult to estimate beforehand whether it’s worth it.

  2. Hi, great article as usual!
    What expenses/deductions can you claim for your sole proprietorship company? Thanks!

    1. Hi Marco,

      The company is taxed on the net result, which is added to my income. So anything that can reduce the net result will reduce my taxes. I have deducted all the fees for hosting and WordPress plugins and online tools. But I have also deducted expenses for the office itself like the new desk of last year.

  3. Thanks for your informative blog which is very helpful. I have a question in regards to the purchase of a (holiday) home in Switzerland. I incurred costs for the purchase in 2022 (e.g. Grundbuch costs etc.), however the transfer of deeds is effective 1 Jan 2023 as well as the mortgage.
    Can the purchase costs be claimed as a cost deduction for 2022? For 2023 I can deduct the mortgage interest costs and will have to add the property value for wealth tax.

    1. I have no idea honestly. I have never been through buying a holiday property. For a main residence, I don’t even think you can deduce the purchase costs, so I am not sure that’s the case for secondary residence.

  4. Hi,
    Sometime you can deduct expenses for language courses. For example, in Kanton Basel-Stadt if you are Ausländer you can deduct German language classes, even if they are not directly work related. You would need to provide some details about the costs, as well as about the course program.

  5. I’m reading that from 2023, the Kita tax deductible amount increased to chf25,000 from 10k per year.

  6. Hello there,
    this one sounds interesting “claim under-utilization of the house.”

    Do you think it means to have a room completely empty and then someone is going to check?


    1. Hi

      For me, it means having an empty room indeed. I doubt they will check the room, but in theory, it’s possible yes. If you are a family of 6 in 3 rooms and you claim that one room is not used, they will probably agree. On the other hand, if you are a couple in a 6 room house, this may be working.

  7. Dear Baptiste,

    Thank you for this informative article! I believe this will help me a lot.
    I hold a B permit and thus I pay withholding taxes. In 2022, I had significant expenses for transportation (I had a GA) and medical treatments. So, I was wondering if I can file a tax declaration and thus apply for a deduction of those expenses (in addition to those you have listed in the article)?
    In case the withholding tax (which I have already paid) is higher than the tax calculated after thedeductions, will get I receive a refund?

    Thank you for your help :)

    1. Hi Claudio,

      If you are taxed at source, you can request a tax declaration, but I am not sure whether this will be retroactive, it may be too late for that. Keep also in mind that taxes at source are different than standard taxes and it may not necessarily be interesting for you to switch.
      You may want to ask your tax office if that would be retroactive or not.

  8. Thank you very much for the detailed information, Baptiste!

    As a married couple, both working, both with B permits, can we do this? And more importantly, can we do it ourselves, or should we find a financial advisor? How does it work in this case?

    Appreciate it!

    1. Hi Cosmin,

      Are you asking if you can get tax deductions? As long as you fill a tax declaration, you can deduct all these tings. If you are taxed at source, you can’t. You could ask for a full tax declaration, but in that case, other parameters will play a role and you may not save money.
      But there is no need for a financial advisor to fill your taxes, unless you have a very complicated estate.

  9. Thank you for the useful information! :)
    If I want to deduct from my taxes the work related expenses (commute/meal/clothing/courses), do I need to provide some proof? And if yes, then what it can be?

    1. Hi Ana,

      For commute and meal, normally no unless you want to deduce more than the base rates provided by your canton.
      For clothing and courses, you will indeed have to provide proof of payment and may have to explain them that it’s really necessary for your work.

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