Grow your after-tax wealth by optimizing your
US and Swiss taxes
For most of us, taxes are by far our largest expense: income tax, wealth tax, social security tax, gift tax, inheritance tax, estate tax, consumption taxes, you get the idea. Smart tax planning can help you legally reduce your taxes, avoid double taxation, and grow your after-tax wealth faster.
The US tax code is known as one of the most complex in the world. US tax laws follow US citizens everywhere they live. Mistakes are easy to make, and tax reporting alone, even when no tax is due, can be burdensome. Switzerland has it owns tax rules that do not necessarily correspond with the way the USA taxes income and assets. This increases the risk of double taxation, but also provides unexpected opportunities for tax minimization.
Not surprisingly, tax is one of the biggest pain points for our clients, and one of the areas of financial planning where our advice can provide the most value.
We spend hundreds of hours every year studying tax rules, tax strategies and proposed tax legislation, both in the USA and in Switzerland, to make sure that we are always at the forefront of important changes. We understand how the current rules can be used in your benefit, and we can identify the tax strategies that will allow you optimize your tax situation and accelerate the growth of your after-tax wealth.
Our tax planning services include helping you:
- Save for retirement in a tax-efficient manner across different types of accounts: tax qualified, tax free and taxable in both the USA and Switzerland.
- Review your US and Swiss tax returns for reasonableness, the completeness of your offshore financial reporting and to identify potentially overlooked tax planning opportunities.
- Make the best use of US tax rules to avoid double taxation and maximize tax credits, including the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion and the Foreign Tax Credit.
- Make tax treaty benefit elections under the US-Swiss Income Tax Treaty, Social Security Treaty (Totalization Agreement) or Estate Tax Treaty.
- Identify the most appropriate IRS program to correct compliance errors or omissions in foreign income or asset reporting. These programs include Streamlined Domestic Filing Procedures, Streamlined Offshore Filing Procedures and the Delinquent FBAR Submission Procedures.
- Assess the impact of common Swiss tax reduction strategies on your US taxes including Pillar 3 contributions, Pillar 2 buy-backs or buy-ins, or certain Swiss real estate investments. These strategies can potentially reduce your overall Swiss plus US tax and that they avoid instances of double taxation in future years, thereby negating any benefits that may be experienced today.
- Make sure that you are reporting your income and assets according to US and Swiss tax requirements, consequently preventing errors that can otherwise result in onerous offshore penalties or get you in trouble with the tax authorities.
- Plan for expatriation (renouncing US citizenship or giving up your green card) without triggering covered expatriate status.
- Reduce your overall tax by optimizing between the US and Swiss tax systems when only one of the spouses is taxed as a US person.
- Understand when the election to treat a foreign spouse as a US person is beneficial or problematic, and help you understand the long-term consequences of this decision (continued tax consequences).
- Help you revoke US tax elections that were made in error or are no longer beneficial due to changes in your personal situation or laws.
- Efficiently manage the tax implications of your ownership or beneficial interest in a US or foreign trust while you are a Swiss resident.
- Coordinate your US and Swiss tax return preparation services through independent tax firms.
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We believe that every person deserves access to quality financial education that can empower them to make good financial decisions. For individuals and families who are unable to retain our professional services, our public benefit initiatives support free financial education through the Crossborder Planner [free newsletter and blog], and the Crossborder Academy [free webinars], covering topics like tax reporting, tax planning, saving for retirement, benefiting charities or caring for the next generation.