Most tax offices remain closed, but they are still working. If you need assistance from your local tax office, you are recommended to call or email them but not to visit in person.
In most cantons, the initial deadline for filing the tax return is 31 March and it is also possible to extend this deadline free of charge. At the time of writing this post, on 20 March, we had not yet seen a decision at federal level, but we have seen some measures taken by some of the cantons.
In most cantons the situation in Switzerland is far from clear, with only a few of them having made a formal pronouncement.
If you have the obligation to file a tax return in Switzerland and will not be able to make it by the deadline, we strongly recommend that you apply for a deadline extension as soon as possible.
Canton Zurich announced on 20 March 2020 that the deadline for all personal tax returns has been extended to 31 May 2020. This is not going to affect any of Thortax’s clients who file tax returns in Zurich as we had already managed to extend their deadlines until later than that time.
What is still not clear is whether the measures will be extended to those who do not file a full tax return but who have tax at source and wish to do a ‘tariff correction’. For such persons, the deadline had so far been a strict 31 March following the tax year, without the possibility of extension.
In Canton Zurich as well, it has been further announced that taxpayers who are currently unable to pay their tax bills due to the consequences of the coronavirus have the option of deferring the payment or making payments in instalments. Individuals or companies who predict a drop in income in 2020, can ask the local office to adjust the provisional tax bills for the state and local taxes. The measures extend to the final tax bills regarding previous years. If you are in financial difficulty, get in touch with your local tax office to organise the best course of action.
This crisis is far from over and it is probably the case that it will worsen before it gets better. There are some measures which are always available, be it to extend your filing deadline, amend your provisory tax bill or even get some more time to pay your final tax bills. What is certain though is that your tax returns or your tax liabilities will not go away. Eventually you will have to settle them, so it is better to get a head-start during the quarantine period.