Crypto Taxes in Switzerland: All You Need to Know!
Switzerland has a complex multi-layered tax structure for income tax, which is levied at three different levels:
- Federal taxes (which apply throughout Switzerland);
- Cantonal taxes (which apply within each of the 26 cantons and are based on each canton's own tax laws and tax rates); and
- Municipal taxes (municipalities follow the cantonal tax law but are allowed to set their own communal tax rates subject to certain limitations).
The tax laws differ significantly between Cantons, so an investor in each canton will need to consider the tax laws of their own Canton to determine their tax obligations.
Information on the tax treatment of crypto asset transactions is often published on the official websites of the Canto territories.
While each of the 26 Cantons in Switzerland have their own regulations, we have compiled information on the four largest Cantons, namely; Zurich, Bern, Lucerne and Zug.
Please note that this guide serves as a general overview of Switzerland’s main Canton’s, and that a professional chartered accountant will be needed to ensure tax is paid in full and correctly.
In Zurich, Crypto assets are seen as digital units of account that can serve as a means of payment and capital investment and not as securities. Owning units in crypto assets is regarded to be financially comparable to owning cash or precious metals.
Capital gains arising from the disposal of movable assets that constitute private assets are exempt from tax and the related capital losses are also disregarded for tax purposes.
In general, business assets are subject to tax at the same marginal tax rates as self-employment income. This is applicable to commercial trading in crypto assets. The marginal tax rates for Zurich are presented below (single taxpayers). For the additional municipal taxes, the above rate has to be multiplied by the respective municipal tax factor, which varies between 0.75 and 1.34 (for example the City of Zurich applies a municipal tax factor of 1.19).
For church tax the basic tax above is multiplied by the church tax factor, which is between 0.06 and 0.15. Zurich has a wealth rate of 4.8% with the first CHF 77,000 being exempt.
Taxable income (in CHF) (CFA) Rates of tax (CFA)
0 - 6,700 0%
6,701 - 1,1400 1% taxable income
11,401 - 16,100 94 + 3% taxable income above 11,400
16,101 - 23,700 235 + 4% taxable income above 16,100
23,701 - 33,000 539 + 5% taxable income above 23,700
33,001 - 43,700 1,004 + 6% taxable income above 33,000
43,701 - 56,100 1,646 + 7% taxable income above 43,700
56,101 - 73,000 2,514 + 8% taxable income above 56,100
73,001 - 105,500 3,866 + 9% taxable income above 73,000
105501 - 137,700 6,791 + 10% taxable income above 105,500
137,701 188,700 10,011 + 11% taxable income above 137,700
188,701 254,900 15,621 + 12% taxable income above 188,700
254,901 and above 23,565 + 13% taxable income above 254,900
For Bern tax law, capital gains arising from the disposal of movable assets that constitute private assets are exempt from tax and the related capital losses are also disregarded for tax purposes (Art. 29 let. k StG resp. Art. 16 para. 3 DBG).
In general, business assets are subject to tax at the same marginal tax rates as self-employment income. This is applicable to commercial trading in crypto assets. Personal income tax is levied at 12%. Bern has a wealth rate of 5.8% with the first CHF exempt77,000 being. Companies in Bern are subject to tax 12.3%.
In terms of Lucerne tax law, capital gains arising from the disposal of movable assets which constitute private assets are exempt from tax and the related capital losses are also disregarded for tax purposes (Section 31 Paragraph 1i StG). However, if someone qualifies as a professional dealer, the profits arising from trading in crypto assets are regarded as self-employment income and subject to tax at the marginal tax rates. This is applicable to commercial trading in crypto assets. Crypto assets are subject to wealth tax (Section 43 (1) StG). Companies in Lucerne are subject to tax rates at the rate of 12%. The highest marginal rate for individuals is 23.1% in Lucerne. Lucerne has a wealth rate of 3%.
Zug is regarded as the home of the Crypto-Valleys, accordingly it is bound to attract greater regulatory scrutiny of crypto assets.
Capital gains arising from the disposal of movable assets which constitute private assets are exempt from tax and the related capital losses are also disregarded for tax purposes.
If a person holds a crypto asset as a self-employment activity or as payment for deliveries or services, it is regarded as income from self-employment (main or part-time employment) and subject to tax. In order to determine the amount of the income, the value at the time that the crypto asset proceeds are received is converted into the Swiss Francs equivalent. The highest marginal rate for individuals is 23.1% in Zug, as well as a wealth rate of 2.5%. The corporate income tax rate has decreased from 14.35% to 11.91% in 2020.
Switzerland Federal Taxes
The mining of crypto assets is regarded as a self-employment activity and subject to income tax at the marginal rates ranging from 0.77% to 11.5%.
ICOs and airdrops
The Swiss tax authorities have not confirmed the tax treatment of ICOs and airdrops. At present there is no consensus regarding the tax treatment of such transactions, accordingly each specific transaction will need to be considered based on the facts of each case.
How much tax do you have to pay on crypto assets?
The tax amount is calculated on the net gain or loss at the time of the sale i.e. the proceeds on sale less the acquisition cost (including the transactional costs). The crypto asset income will be combined together with any other income earned by the taxpayer and subject to tax at a progressive tax rate (single tax payers):
Taxable income (CHF) Rates of tax (CHF)
0 - 14,500 0%
14,501 - 31,600 0.77% taxable income
31,601 - 41,400 131.65 + 0.88% taxable income above 3,1600
41,401 - 55,200 217.90 + 2.64% taxable income above 41,400
55,201 - 72,500 582.20 + 2.97% taxable income above 55,200
72,501 - 78,100 1,096.00 + 5.94% taxable income above 72,500
78,101 - 10,3600 1,428.60 + 6.60% taxable income above 78,100
10,3601 - 13,4600 31,11.60 + 8.80% taxable income above 103,600
13,4601 - 17,6000 5839.60 + 11.00% taxable income above 134,600
17,6001 - 75,5200 10,393.60 + 13.20% taxable income above 176,000
75,5201 and above 868,48.00 + 11.50% taxable income above 755,200
For companies, the federal corporate income tax is levied at a flat rate of 8.5% of taxable income.
Security transfer tax is only applicable to securities transferred for consideration in terms of the Swiss Federal Stamp Tax Act.
Wealth tax is not levied at the federal level. All cantons levy a net wealth tax based on the balance of taxpayers' worldwide gross assets, minus debts; these assets must include the balance of crypto assets held in any digital wallet.
Crypto assets are valued based on their market price on 31 December of each tax year. For the ten most popular cryptocurrencies (including Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin) the Federal Tax Administration (FTA) publishes official tax values based on the average value of various trading platforms.
If the FTA has not published a closing value for a crypto asset, the year-end market value is determined with reference to the value used on the trading platform.
Value-added Tax (VAT)
The exchange of crypto assets into euros and vice versa is exempt from VAT i.e. the purchase, sale or the transfer of crypto assets into fiat does not accrue VAT charges.
With regard to crypto asset mining activities, the Swiss tax authorities have clarified that investors do not have to invoice with VAT. Since the rewards obtained by mining the block and not by the provision of a service to a client.
Zurich does not levy inheritance tax or gift tax.
Which tax forms do you report crypto on?
Investors are required to declare the market value of their crypto assets in their tax return. This includes the number of units of each crypto asset held, as well as their respective value.
The Tax Administration has not prescribed a set of documents and information that crypto asset investors need to submit, however the crypto asset investors will need to maintain detailed records to support the information declared in their tax return. This information may include:
- The date of the transaction;
- The value of the units bought or sold;
- The taxable capital gain on disposals; and
- The number of unit