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27/12/2019 | Sell my property

What taxes and levies are due when selling property?

What taxes and levies are due when selling property?

If you are selling a property with capital gains, taxes on such gains are charged in all Swiss cantons. Their amount depends on the canton and time of occupying the property. You can obtain complete tax exemption if you have lived in that house or apartment for long enough. Below, we present information to get acquainted with before the sale.

Taxes and levies related to property sales in Switzerland
Taxes and levies related to property sales in Switzerland

How is the property tax charged?

Tax on capital gains related to property is charged on the basis of profit achieved when selling the property. Maximum tax rate can achieve even 50% profit if the property is sold within two years from purchase. If the sale takes place 20 years or more, the tax is reduced, and can total from 0% to 15%. The amount of tax on property sold is calculated by tax administration  of the canton where the sold property is located.

Which canton do you live in?

This is the first question to ask because each canton applies different rates depending on the time of property occupation. Check this with the tax office of the canton you live in and/or with the property dealer in charge of selling your property. In most cases, tax on capital gains on property is charged by cantons. In some cantons, however, e.g. in Zug and Zurich, the taxes are charged by municipalities.

Are you buying another property to live in?

If the profit from sale of a house or apartment where you have lived for some time is used to buy a new house or apartment where you will live and the price of which is at least equal or higher than the price of the previous property, tax on capital gains on property is deferred for a specific amount which depends on the portion of the profit allocated to the purchase of a new house.

Apply for tax deferral at the municipality where the sold property is located. This does not mean tax exemption, but you will have from one to five years to pay it, depending on the canton. Your duty is to inform the relevant municipality in writing. It is recommended to do so before purchasing a new house or apartment.

Fees for ownership transfer

Fees for ownership transfer are the „tax on civil law activities aimed at transferring ownership right established on the property from one person to another”. Fee for entry in the Property Register (or tax on property ownership transfer) is usually charged by the cantons, but sometimes may be charged by municipalities; they are calculated on the basis of the transaction amount, and amount to 0.1 to 3.3% transaction value.

It must be remembered that the fees may come under different names. Depending on the canton, they may be referred to as right, levy, contribution, tax, or fee (droit, impôt, contribution, taxe czy émolument).

Fees for ownership transfer: who should pay them? 

Basically, in most cantons (Fribourg, Jura, Lucerne, Neuchâtel, Soleure, Valais, Berne, Bâle-Ville, Genève), the fees for ownership transfer are covered by the buyer. It may, however, happen that the seller must pay the whole or part of the amount due. In the cantons of Appenzell Innerrhoden, Graubünden, Nidwalden, St. Gallen, Thurgau, and Vaud, the ownership transfer fee is paid by the buyer, but the seller is jointly liable for payment, and may be obligated to pay it if the buyer fails to do so. In the cantons of Appenzell Ausserrhoden (unless the contract states otherwise), Bâle Campagne/BaselLandschaft and Obwalden, the seller and the buyer pay the ownership transfer fees by half. In the cantons of Schwyz, as well as Glarus, Aargau, Schaffhausen, Ticino, Uri, Zug, and Zürich, there is no ownership transfer fee, so one must only pay administration fees in the land register, or registration fees.

Selling a property? Who can quickly give you precise information on taxes in your canton?

Read also: Selling a property is not an improvisation. Take an advantage of the assistance and advice of a real estate agent

Tax administration at your canton will provide you with all the information you need. Nevertheless, viewing and understanding all such information can be a complex task. Our partners – real estate agents familiar with regulations related to properties applicable in their cantons can provide you with detailed information on the amount of taxes due. These are carefully selected specialists praised in their sector for professionalism and diligence. They will provide you with detailed information about the amount of tax and payment terms applicable in your canton or municipality.

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