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Swiss tax deductions

tax deductions in Geneva

Taxpayers are taxed on their total income and assets. However, they are allowed to deduct a calculable number of costs and expenses. You'll find cbelow is a list of tax deductions that can be applied to your 2023 tax return.

Table of contents

Swiss tax deductions

Every year, we have to pay our taxes. Each and every one of us has an obligation to file our tax returns correctly.

Faced with a tax return, the question arises. What is deductible from my taxes?

Let's take a look at the deductions you can use to reduce your tax bill. Happy reading!

Types of tax deductions in Switzerland

There are three types of tax deduction in Switzerland.

Organic deductions: These are directly linked to taxable income.

General deductions: These are linked to the taxpayer's lifestyle.

Social deductions: These take into account the taxpayer's family situation.

11 tax allowances in the canton of Geneva :

1. 3rd pillar deductions

Deduction 3rd pillar A

It may be worth taking out a 3rd pillar to reduce your tax bill and improve your situation once you retire.

The 3ème pilier A is linked to retirement age and attached to the conditions of the 2ème pilier for the withdrawal of funds. This is deductible up to 7,056 CHF in 2023 (6,883 CHF in 2022).

For self-employed people not affiliated to a 2ème pilier, the deduction can be up to 20% of realized income, but no more than 35,280 CHF in 2023 (34,416 CHF in 2022).

Deduction 3rd pillar B

3rd Pillar B premiums are deductible up to 3'300 CHF for couples and 2'200 CHF for single, widowed, divorced or separated.

Ces limites sont doublées si les contribuables, qu’ils soient en couple ou non, ne sont pas affiliés à une institution de prévoyance. Si un seul des époux est affilié, la limite pour le couple passe à 1,5 fois la valeur initiale.

The deduction is increased by 900 CHF for each dependent. For a single, widowed, divorced or separated taxpayer living alone with dependent children and not affiliated to a provident scheme, the deduction doubles. When, in a couple, only one of the spouses is affiliated to a provident scheme, the deduction for family dependants is 1'350 CHF.

2. 2nd pillar purchases

Your salary has evolved, your situation has changed and you've been able to save a little money. It may be worthwhile checking with your pension fund to see whether a purchase is possible. The LPP buy-back is 100% deductible from your income.

3. Alimony payments

Maintenance contributions made to your ex-spouse following a divorce or de facto separation, as well as payments to your ex-spouse for minor children, are deductible.

Pensions for adult children are not deductible.

4. Deductions for childcare costs

The canton of Geneva has decided to treat camps as deductible childcare costs, a deduction of CHF 250 per camp and week will now be possible for all Geneva parents from the 2022 tax year.

The previously capped CHF 10,100 childcare costs will rise to CHF 25,000 per dependent child under 14, also comes into force from 1er January 2023.

A social deduction of 6,500 CHF is granted for each child for whom the taxpayer provides maintenance. Provided that:

  • The child is under 18
  • The child is aged between 18 and 25 and in education or apprenticeship

5. Travel expenses

Necessary transport costs between home and work are deductible up to a maximum of CHF 500 in Geneva.

At federal level, you can deduct up to 3'000 CHF depending on the distance travelled between your work and home.

6. Meal expenses

The meal expenses are deductible up to CHF3,200 per year provided that:

  • The employee cannot have meals at home
    (long distance/irregular or night shifts)
  • The employer does not pay for the meal

If the employer contributes to the reduction of the burden (case G) by means other than cash, for example by providing a canteen or restaurant for the employees. This deduction is halved (max. 1,600 CHF).

7. Training costs

You can deduct from your taxes the cost of training and continuing education for professional purposes, including retraining costs, up to max. 12,000 CHF per year.
Provided :

  • Hold an upper-secondary level diploma
  • Be aged 20 or over, and be following a course of study leading to a diploma other than a first upper-secondary level diploma.

8. Donation deductions

Donations to legal entities domiciled in Switzerland and pursuing a tax-exempt charitable purpose, as well as donations to the Confederation, cantons, municipalities and public institutions, are deductible up to a maximum of 20% of net income.

9. Interest deductions

Interest on consumer loans, mortgages or private debts is deductible.

Please note that interest on building loans is not deductible.  

Interest is deductible to the extent of the return on assets plus CHF 50,000.

10. Tax deductions for work

Maintenance/renovation work

All work carried out to maintain the value of the property is considered maintenance.

Energy-saving work

Work aimed at saving energy is deductible. (Insulation, energy monitoring, photovoltaic panels, replacement of certain appliances provided they are part of the building).

Management and other actual costs

Management costs may be deducted provided they have been incurred by third parties. These include postage, telephone, advertisements, printed matter, legal proceedings, court costs and management fees.

11. Medical expenses

Health-related costs are deductible, including health and accident insurance premiums.

Actual costs incurred by the taxpayer as a result of illness or accident are also deductible, provided that the costs exceed 0.5% of net income.

Example of deductible expenses :  

  • Medication: Medicines that are not covered by insurance can be deducted provided they have been prescribed by an approved doctor or naturopath.

  • Dental expenses : Dental expenses, orthodontic treatments, surgeries, hygiene are eligible and considered as medical expenses. On the other hand, expenses related to purely cosmetic purposes are not deductible.
  • Natural medicine: Expenses related to alternative medicine treatments are deductible provided they are prescribed by a registered naturopath. No need to have a prescription from a conventional doctor.
  • Dietary expenses: In the event of a vital need to follow a special diet, particularly in the case of diabetes. A lump-sum deduction of CHF 2,500 is allowed without the need to bring or keep supporting documents.

Tax advice

There are many deductions and, above all, they are subject to countless conditions. We can help you draw up your Geneva tax return, so that you don't forget anything and can claim all the deductions to which you are entitled.

Our patented specialists will answer your questions and help you if your situation changes (birth, death, acquisition of a property, etc.).