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REVEALED: These parts of Zurich have the highest income tax rates

With 162 municipalities in Zurich, Switzerland’s largest canton, there are plenty of different income tax rates that could apply.

A tram in the Swiss city of Zurich
There are 162 different municipalities in the Swiss city of Zurich - which can mean 162 different tax rates. Photo by Alexis Fauvet on Unsplash

In Switzerland, income tax is levied at a federal, cantonal and municipal level (with a few exceptions). 

In some cases there is little difference in the amount of income tax you would pay in different municipal areas or communes. However in others the difference could be so significant that it acts as an incentive to move area – particularly for the uber-wealthy. 

READ MORE: Which Swiss canton has the most millionaires?

Zurich, as Switzerland’s largest canton, has 162 municipalities. Some are urban, some suburban and some at least resemble rural Switzerland.

Please note that the following takes into account only the income tax levied at a municipal level. 

As already reported by The Local this year Zurich canton will cut taxes for the first time in two decades – although this will only result in a cut of around CHF15 per year.

Have your say: What will you do with Zurich’s tax cut money?

First things first, what is municipal taxation? 

In this case it refers to the income tax levied at a municipal (i.e. communal/local council) level. 

This does not take into account other taxes that can be levied as a consequence of living in a particular municipality, like property taxes. 

Municipal taxes are levied at the municipal level according to the applicable municipal tax quota (German: Gemeindesteuerfuss, French: coefficient de l’impôt communal), which in most cantons are expressed as a percentage of cantonal tax. 

Reader question: Can I deduct working-from-home costs from my Swiss taxes?

This is why you might see your municipality as having a 115 percent tax rate (or sometimes expressed as a decimal 1.15). 

Fortunately, this does not mean you need to pay 115 percent of your income to the municipality. 

Instead, it means in that municipality, you need to pay 115 percent of the cantonal tax. 

For instance, imagine the cantonal tax rate is 5 percent.

You earn CHF100,000 per year, then the cantonal tax will be CHF5,000 per year on the basis of your income.

Where the municipal tax is 115 percent, you will need to pay CHF5,750 in total (as this is 115 percent of CHF5,000). 

This amount covers both your cantonal and municipal taxes (i.e. you do not need to pay CHF5,750 to the council and to the canton). 

This percentage can often be lower than 100, for instance 85 percent (or 0.85). 

In this case, you would need to pay CHF4,250. 

Which Zurich municipalities have the highest income tax rate? 

OK, now that we’ve got the number crunching out of the way, we can look at the comparative tax rates of different parts of Zurich. 

These figures do not take into account church tax (which is a topic for another article). 

The highest municipal income tax rate of all 162 municipalities in Zurich is in Maschwanden, where residents pay 130 percent of council tax. 

ANALYSIS: Is Switzerland actually a tax haven?

This is followed by Wildberg (129%), Bachs (127%), Adlikon (126%) and Humlikon, Rifferswill, Schlatt and Winterthur (all 125%). 

At the other end of the scale, the lowest rate is 72 percent in Kilchberg. 

This is followed by Küsnacht (75%), Rüschlikon (75%), Winkel (76%) and Neerach (76%)

A full list of the tax rates of each of Zurich’s 162 municipalities can be found here. 

How has this changed? 

The tax rates changed over the past year at a municipal level. 

By and large things stayed the same, with the majority keeping their tax rates the same as in 2021. 

READ MORE: How wealthy foreigners can ‘buy’ a Swiss residence permit

There were however 27 municipalities which raised their taxes and 12 which decreased the tax burden for residents. 

The biggest increase came in Weisslingen, which raised taxes by ten percent. 

Oetwil an der Limmat and Bassersdorf both increased taxes by five percent. 

Dietlikon, in the central part of the canton, was the only canton to increase taxes in both 2021 and 2022. 

On the other side of the coin, the biggest decrease was in Stäfa (8%) and Stammheim (5%). 

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Zurich approves simplified path to Swiss citizenship

Voters in Switzerland’s most populous canton on Sunday approved a proposal which will make it easier for foreigners to get Swiss citizenship.

Zurich approves simplified path to Swiss citizenship

The vote passed with 69.1 percent support, making it the most popular of the four initiatives put to the polls. 

Around 350,000 foreigners live in Zurich, which is roughly one quarter of the population – although the percentage is as high as 50 percent in some municipalities. 

The successful proposal called for Zurich’s naturalisation process, including the citizenship exam, to be made uniform across all 162 municipalities. 

The questions in the exam will now be centralised on a cantonal level. 

The test will include 350 questions about Swiss history, tradition, politics and culture, with a focus on Zurich. 

Anyone taking the test will be given 50 questions at random and must answer at least 30 correctly to pass. 

More information about the citizenship process in Zurich can be found at the following link. 

EXPLAINED: How Zurich wants to make naturalisation easier

What else was decided on Sunday? 

Voters in Zurich also decided to reject a proposal to lower the voting age to 16, with 64.1 percent saying ‘nein’ to the proposal. 

A proposal to provide for more parental leave – and even up gender imbalances between fathers and mothers – was also rejected. 

Finally, voters supported law changes which sought to enshrine Zurich’s climate change goals in the cantonal constitution. 

A detailed breakdown of the vote can be seen here.