Tax Consultancy

What do you need to pay attention to when having your tax return completed?

Completing the tax return can be a very time-consuming and confusing task, which is why a lot of people outsource said job to a tax advisor or tax consultant.

However, there are a few things to consider when searching for and choosing a tax consultant. In the following we will explain to you what you need to pay attention to when deciding on a tax advisor and how to minimize the associated risks.

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Where can you have your tax return completed?

Nowadays, there are countless tax consultants which offer all kinds of different services. Furthermore, professional titles such as tax advisor, tax expert or trustee are not protected in Switzerland. These circumstances make the search for a suitable advisor all the more difficult.

As a result it can be challenching for non-experts to assess wheter or not an offer is seriour or may lead to subsequent complications.

To avoid unpleasant surprises, here are some tips:

  • Check whether or not a potential tax consultant has a title such as "Diplomiert", "eid. Diplomiert", or "Fachausweis". These protected terms indicate successful completion of a professional examination and guarantee a certain level of expertise.

  • Find out whether or not your tax advisor is a member of one of the two relevant industry associations:

  • Since there are cantonal differences in the calculation of taxes, it is advisable to hire a tax consultant from your own canton. Alternatively, you can ask an extra-cantonal tax advisor for experience with tax returns in your canton.

  • Always request a cost estimate and ask for references. Furthermore, you can look for recommendations in your personal environment.

When looking for a tax consultat that suits your needs, we recommend using common methods such as a Google search or recommendations from friends.

A good tax advisor can save you a lot of money over a long period of time. It is therefore important that you take your time to find a tax consultant which best suits your needs. Make sure that you are confortable with you choice. You should have a good feeling about the relationship.

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Save taxes thanks to a professionally completed tax return

Is is not difficult to fill out a tax return, you've probably already done it yourself. So why spend money on it?

The answer to this question is simple: tax optimization. By outsourcing the task to a tax consultant, you benefit from the expertise of a professional who has hands-on experience in the field of tax. Instructing a tax advisor with filing your taxes is similar to hiring any other professional in an area you are not familiar with. When building a new kitchen, for example, you will usually hire designers and craftsmen because you expect a better result than if you do it yourself. The same goes for outsourcing your tax return to a tax consultant. Ideally, having your taxes filled out by a professional tax consultant will result in the lowest tax liability possible.

Since the amount of taxes you pay depends largely on your assets, your income, and the deductions possible, we will briefly discuss these topics below.

Assets are made up of valuables such as cash, bank accounts, salary accounts, securities, real estate, art collections and private loans. Overall, assets thus represent the summed value of your possessions

Income includes, for example, wage payments from self-employment or employment, dividend payments from stocks, rental payments from real estate, or lottery winnings. As a whole, income covers all cash inflows that you have earned within a tax period.

Deductions are reductions of your taxable income. These are added together and then subtracted from your income. In the Swiss tax system there are various possible deductions which depend on a series of different factors such as marital status, children or line of work.

The aim of a tax advisor is to ensure that you declare as few assets and as little income as legally possible, while at the same time maximizing permissable deductions.

Since there are many different types of deductions which can be difficult to understand and change overtime it is worth having a professional take care of it. A competent tax advisor ensures that you make all possible deductions and will also actively engage in conversation with you about tax-related issues as well as your financial situation.

In addition, there are several non-monetary incentives to take into consideration. By hiring a tax consultant you not only save money but also a significant amount of time which allows you to take care of other things.

Think of Roger Federer, for example. He could certainly fill out his tax return himself, but it is more beneficial for him if he hires a tax consultant to do it and trains for Wimbledon in the meantime.

For more detailed information on how to save taxes, click on the following link: Save Taxes.

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Getting your tax return filled out professionally - but how?

In addition to the question of identifying a reputable provider of tax consultancy services, there are other important issues to consider, such as; how much does it cost to have your taxes filled out? What kind of documents do you need to send to the tax advisor? How long does it take to get the tax return completed? What kind of guarantees will you receive?

The following explanations provide answers and clarifications to these questions by giving you a comprehensive overview on the subjects.

How much does it cost to have your tax return completed?

The cost of having your tax return filled out by a professional vary greatly. Mainly this is because depending on your personal situation (assets, income, debts, deductions etc.), completing the tax return can be a more or less time-consuming task.

Because most tax consultants provide a price list on their website, it is often is possible to figure out the cost yourself by checking the terms and conditions. If this is not the case, we recommend that you ask your tax consultant for a cost estimate prior to having him fill out your tax return. It should be emphasized that when billing on an hourly basis, it is always advisable to contractually stipulate an upper limit for the costs in order to avoid unpleasant surprises.

The price of a tax consultancy service furthermore depends on how much the tax advisor is supposed to do. A complete all-round service is more costly than having the professional fill out only parts of the tax return or provide selective advice.

We highly recommend you to closely inspect what services are included in an offer, especially if an offer seems surprisingly low. Research by SRF Kassensturz has shown that a trained tax expert charges around CHF 200-500 to complete the tax return of a private person.

If you find an offer too expensive, you should talk to your tax advisor who can show you exactly where and how much you can save on taxes. Ideally, these savings will cover the costs of the tax consultant - and in addition save you some time.

Tax consultancy services for companies or entrepreneurs usually cost are usually more expensive than those of private individuals. In these cases it is advisable to talk to the tax consultant, since substantial optimizations are often possible, which save you significant amounts of money and therefore justify a higher fee for the tax advisor - a win-win situation.

What documents do you need to provide?

In principle, the tax advisor needs all documents that are relevant for tax purposes. As a result you must provide him with all financial statements in order to ensure a correctly filled out tax return. Relevant documents are for example the closing documents for your accounts and income statements. Moreover, it is advisable to enclose all documents that support a claim of a deduction to allow for maximum tax reductions.

How long does it take for a tax return to be completed?

The time by which your tax return is completed depends to a large extent on your willingness to pay. Basically, the faster it needs be done, the higher the price. Furthermore, it matters how quickly you can provide your tax advisor with the necessary documentation. Overall, it is advisable to contact your tax advisor as early as possible to minimize costs and maximize tax savings.

What guarantees do you get?

Ultimately, you are responsible for the information you provide in your tax return. Therefore, you should double check the information you provide to the local tax authority instead of relying blindly on your tax advisor, as he or she may make mistakes.

If errors occur, you can talk to your tax advisor and ask for corrections or cost reductions.

Note: The contractual relationship between you and your tax advisor is a so-called mandate, which enables you to exercise the associated rights according to Art. 394 ff of the Swiss Code of Obligations in the event of a breach of contract.

Do you still have questions or do you need help? Our specialists at taxea are happy to assist you with their comprehensive expertise.