The cantonal tax authority of Zurich updated the directive on the deductibility of costs for managing private asset securities on September 27, 2023.
No deduction for flat fees charged by non-bank asset managers
The directive continues to distinguish between deductible and non-deductible costs, with deductible costs including expenses for the administration and safekeeping of assets by third parties (banks, authorities, trustees, etc.), as well as the costs for creating tax records and refund claims for foreign withholding taxes. Non-deductible costs still include expenses for the acquisition and sale of securities (commissions, fees, etc.), stamp duty, commissions, expenses for financial and investment advice, and other costs related to asset transfers. The flat fees charged by non-bank asset managers are now also listed as non-deductible costs.
Deduction options: flat-rate deduction vs. actual cost deduction
As before, the directive distinguishes between the option of a flat-rate deduction and an actual cost deduction. The new directive states that, for each tax period, taxpayers can choose between the flat-rate deduction and the deduction of actual costs, with no possibility of combining both deduction methods within one tax period.
For the flat-rate deduction, the existing practice remains unchanged: For the safekeeping and administration of third-party-managed securities (without loans and bank deposits of any kind) and for creating tax records by third parties, a flat-rate deduction of 0.3% of the tax value of privately held assets managed by third parties can be claimed, up to a maximum of CHF 6,000.
Deduction possibilities for an all-in-fee
However, if higher deductions are claimed, both the actual costs paid and their deductibility must be fully substantiated. In cases of a flat fee charged by the managing third party (referred to as an “All-in-fee”), where the division between deductible and non-deductible costs cannot be demonstrated, the amount of deductible actual costs must be estimated. The following principles apply:
- For depot values up to CHF 2 million, a deduction of 0.3% of the depot value, as before, is permissible.
- For depot values over CHF 2 million, CHF 6,000 plus half of the flat fee reduced by CHF 6,000 can still be deducted, but now, a maximum of 0.2% of the depot value plus CHF 2,000 can be deducted.
- The estimation of deductible actual costs is done per depot.
|CHF 2 million|
CHF 3 million with an All-in-fee of CHF 9,000
CHF 3 million with an All-in-fee of CHF 11,000
CHF 20 million with an All-in-fee CHF 30,000
|CHF 6,000 (0.3% flat rate without proof of actual costs)|
CHF 7,500 (9,000 – 6,000 = 3,000 / 2 = 1,500 + 6,000)
CHF 8,000 (3 million * 0.2% = 6,000 + 2,000 = 8,000)
CHF 18,000 (30,000 – 6000 = 24,000 / 2 = 12,000 + 6,000)
This directive applies only to state and municipal taxes, but it is also used in Zurich’s assessment practice for direct federal taxes due to the lack of a corresponding directive from the Federal Tax Administration. The new practice is effective immediately for all open tax periods.
Other cantons have similar regulations regarding the deductibility of asset management costs. For example, the Canton of Zug also allows a deduction of 0.3% of the depot value, with no requirement for proof of actual costs up to CHF 9,000. The Canton of Thurgau sets the limit at 0.2% of the depot value. The Canton of Solothurn has a tiered deduction: a maximum of 0.3% for the first CHF 2 million, then 0.15% for the next CHF 6 million, and a maximum of CHF 15,000 for depot values over 8 million.
The adjustment to the directive of the cantonal tax authority of Zurich implements recent jurisprudence and introduces a limitation of the deduction for All-in-fees on depot values over 2 million to 0.2% of the depot value plus CHF 2,000.
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