Tax Return Student - What do you students need to pay attention to?

Regardless of their status or lack of income, students are obliged to hand in a completed tax return, provided they are over the age of eighteen. However, there are some special characteristics to consider when filling out a student tax return.

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Tax return without income

When reaching the age of eighteen, the age of majority, every person becomes liable to pay taxes in Switzerland. This rule applies to working people as well as students who may not have any income. Regardless of their financiel situation students are obliged to hand in a completed tax return every year where they declare their assets or lack thereof.

Whether or not students have to pay taxes depends on their canton of residence. Normally, students only have to pay taxes which are not income or asset dependet (e.g. poll tax in Zurich). Quite often they do not have to pay any taxes at all.

Internships and part-time jobs

If students have earned an income due to part-time jobs or internships said income is subject to the income tax, as it is considered regular income from employment. However, due to deductions and because most cantons have a lower limit below which income is not taxed, most students do not need to pay any taxes on their earnings at all. Nevertheless, a tax return still needs to be completed.

Please note: Income that you receive in the form of support from your parents, scholarships with support character etc. is tax-free.

Deductions

As a student, you can make deductions from your income on your tax return like any other person. However, it is important to note that some special rules apply.

Basic educational expenses, such as tuition fees, the cost of books, or meal expenses are not deductible (important: your parents may not make these deductions either, as they are included in general child deductions).

If you are gainfully employed alongside your studies, you can of course make the corresponding deductions for the associated professional costs.

Tax deductions

The 10 most important categories for tax deductions.

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Tax deductions

Residence

Swiss people are obliged to pay taxes in their canton of residence. This rule is applicable to students as well as any other person. However, because students often live with their parents on the weekends but may have a room at their place of study during the weekdays, it can be difficult to determine their canton of residence. The decisive factor here is whether students return to their family and friends every weekend as weekly residents, or whether they only see their family a few times a year. If they return regularly they may file a tax return in the canton their parents live in, otherwise they need to pay taxes in the canton they usually reside in.

An explanatory example:

Tim, Manuel and Martina attended high school together in Zurich. For their studies, Tim and Manuel decide to go to the University of Bern, while Martina attends the University of Zurich. Martina is therefore liable to pay taxes in Zurich in any case, whereas for Tim and Manuel it depends on their centre of life.

Let's assume that Tim builds up a new circle of friends in Bern and only very rarely goes back to Zurich to visit his parents, while Manuel is in Zurich every weekend. This means that Manuel continues to be liable for taxes in Zurich as his centre of life is Zurich, while Tim now needs to pay taxes in Berne.

However, it is notable that because students often do not have a high income or a lot of assets the cantons usually do not apply these rules too strictly, but rather accept it when a student files a tax return in either one of the two cantons in consideration.

Tax return student - still got questions?

If you still have questions or want to file your tax return as a student , please feel free to contact us.

We have special offers for students to meet your income situation and the reduced complexity of your tax return.

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