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TAX

Revealed: The Swiss canton with the best tax rates for families

A widespread analysis has revealed which Swiss canton has the best taxation rate for families.

Revealed: The Swiss canton with the best tax rates for families

The analysis, completed by newspaper Le Matin Dimanche, compared the tax paid by families at different income brackets. 

The newspaper found that Zug had the best tax regime for families in various income brackets of all of Switzerland’s 26 cantons. 

Zug is home to several large international companies and has a significant population of foreign workers.

Zug reduced its tax levels during the coronavirus pandemic. 

READ: Switzerland’s strangest taxes – and what happens if you don’t pay them 

CHF60,000

The first comparison was a married couple with two children on an income of CHF60,000 in cantons across Switzerland. 

The family would pay zero income tax in Zug, as well as in Geneva. 

Conversely, the family would pay CHF1,562 in Bern. 

READ: This Swiss canton is about to become the world’s top tax haven 

CHF125,000 

A couple on the higher income of CHF125,000 with no children would pay CHF5,451 in taxes in Zug. 

In Geneva, this amount would be three times higher – and four times higher in Neuchâtel. 

In particular, the report notes how several French-speaking cantons levy large tax obligations on high earners. 

In particular, Geneva, Lausanne and Neuchâtel have higher tax rates. 

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COST OF LIVING

Can I have a fire in my backyard or courtyard in Switzerland?

The winter months are on their way and the weather is getting colder. If you’re lucky enough to have a backyard, can you light a fire?

White marshmallows toast over a fire
If you want to toast marshmallows in your backyard in Switzerland this winter, first make sure it's OK. Photo by Leon Contreras on Unsplash

Even if you own a property, the rules for what you can and cannot do in Switzerland can be relatively restrictive. 

As we covered in the following article, laws or tenancy rules can prevent you from doing several types of activities in your own backyard, including felling trees or washing your car. 

You can also be prevented from certain activities on particular days. For instance, rules, bylaws and tenancy arrangements may prevent you from mowing your lawn or hanging out your laundry on a Sunday. 

READ MORE: What am I allowed to do in my backyard or apartment courtyard in Switzerland?

As the weather gets colder, you might be tempted to stock up the fire pit, fire basket or fire bowl with wood and set it alight. 

The rules for lighting fires are also relatively complex. What you are allowed to do will depend on your canton, your tenancy arrangement and the type of fire. 

Can I light a fire on my own property in Switzerland? 

If you’re living in one of the few Swiss houses to have a fireplace, then you are presumably allowed to use it, unless tenancy regulations prevent it at certain times. 

You are also usually allowed to have a barbecue or grill either on your balcony or in your backyard, provided the noise and smoke is not excessive. 

READ MORE: Can I have a barbecue on my balcony in Switzerland?

Whether or not you are allowed to have a fire in your backyard however will depend on the rules in your canton. 

You are generally prohibited from burning any waste in Switzerland, other than typical forest or garden waste (i.e. wood, grass, twigs, sticks and leaves). 

That however can also be restricted at certain times of the year.

In Zurich, for instance, fires in backyards are only permitted from March to October, meaning that you will need to find other ways to stay warm in the winter months in Switzerland’s most populous canton. 

Even if lighting fires is permitted, you may want to check with the rules of your rental contract to see if you are technically allowed a fire. 

What about fires in the forest or open parks? 

A campfire might also sound like a nice way to spend a winter evening, but this may be restricted or completely prohibited depending on the circumstance. 

There is no federal ban on fires in forests and other outdoor areas, provided you are not burning waste (other than garden waste etc) and you are not producing excessive emissions. 

The rules are the same on August 1st, Swiss National Day, where special bonfires usually require a permit. 

Note that there are special rules for burning old Christmas trees, which is prevented by law. 

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