Wondering how cryptocurrency is taxed in Switzerland? The Swiss Federal Tax Administration has given clear guidance on Switzerland crypto taxes and it's good news for investors. For the most part - private investors won't pay Capital Gains Tax on their crypto gains, it's only businesses and self-employed traders who would pay Capital Gains Tax. So for many investors, in the so-called 'crypto nation' - you'll only pay Wealth Tax on your crypto, as well as potential Income Tax depending on your specific crypto investments. Read on to learn more about Swiss crypto tax rules for 2023.
This guide is regularly updated
One last thing before we start - the rules on crypto tax are in constant flux. At Koinly we keep a very close eye on the FTA's crypto policies and regularly update this guide to keep you informed and tax-compliant.
24 January 2022: Updated to reflect new guidance from the Swiss Federal Tax Administration.
24 November 2021: Welcome to your Switzerland cryptocurrency tax guide!
I'm a private investor, is crypto taxed in Switzerland?
Yes. Crypto is taxed in Switzerland under the Wealth Tax system. You may need to report specific crypto transactions as part of your annual tax return.
How is crypto taxed in Switzerland?
The Swiss Federal Tax Administration (FTA) don't classify cryptocurrency as legal tender - like the Swiss Franc. Instead, they class crypto as an asset - specifically a crypto based asset or kryptobasierte vermögenswerte.
This classification means crypto is considered a private wealth asset - like a stock or a bond.
For private investors in Switzerland - Capital Gains Tax does not apply to private wealth assets. Capital Gains Tax only applies if you're a self-employed trader or a business.
This doesn't mean you won't pay any tax on your crypto. Crypto is still subject to Income Tax in some instances, as well as the Wealth Tax. We'll break all this down, but first let's look at what makes you a private investor vs a self-employed trader.
Private investor vs. trader
No Capital Gains Tax can sound too good to be true, but it is the case for many investors in Switzerland. These so-called 'safe haven' rules have long applied to securities trading and the same rules apply to crypto. Provided you meet the following conditions - you'll pay no Capital Gains Tax on your profits from selling or trading crypto:
- You've held your crypto asset for at least six months.
- You have a trading turnover smaller than 5x your holding at the beginning of the financial year.
- Your net capital gain is smaller than 50% of your total income throughout the financial year.
- You have no debt financing.
- You use derivatives solely for hedging.
If you do not meet these requirements - your crypto assets may not be tax-exempt from Capital Gains Tax. Each individual canton is responsible for deciding whether you'll be viewed as a private investor or a self-employed trader, so you should seek advice from an experienced accountant if you're unsure.
Which taxes apply to crypto in Switzerland?
As long as you're considered a private investor - this means there's only two taxes your crypto could be subject to:
- Income Tax.
- Wealth Tax.
Let's look at both.
In some instances, you'll pay Income Tax on your crypto - where you're seen to be earning crypto.
For example, if an employee receives cryptocurrency as a salary, this is part of their taxable income. The value of the cryptocurrency in Swiss Francs at the time of receipt must be noted on the pay slip. Similarly, if a self-employed person accepts Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies for the provision of their services, this income must also be included in the income in the amount of the equivalent in Francs.
Other crypto transactions that are subject to Income Tax include:
- Mining crypto.
- Staking crypto.
- Airdrops of crypto.
While the FTA hasn't yet released guidance on a variety of DeFi protocols - it is also possible that many DeFi activities such as yield farming and liquidity mining may be considered additional income and subject to Income Tax too. Something to check with your accountant.
Crypto Income Tax rate Switzerland
Income Tax in Switzerland is made up of potentially three different taxes:
- Federal Income Tax - this is the same tax rate across Switzerland.
- Canton Income Tax - this tax rate is set by the specific canton so varies depending on where you live.
- Municipal Income Tax - municipalities in Switzerland are entitled to set their own communal tax rates, though most follow the Canton Income Tax rates.
Switzerland uses a progressive Federal Tax rate and many cantons follow the same structure - although some cantons have recently introduced flat rate taxation. There are 26 cantons overall and 2,929 municipalities. What all this means is the Income Tax rate on your crypto will vary considerably based on where you live in Switzerland and how much you earn.
This said, here's the Federal Income Tax rates for Switzerland (2021):
Crypto Wealth Tax Switzerland
The Wealth Tax in Switzerland applies to all private wealth assets - which includes crypto.
The FTA defines the taxation value of the most commonly used cryptocurrencies on the 31st of December each year - based on the average price of the currency on a variety of different crypto exchanges. Currencies include Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ether, Litecoin and Ripple to name a few.
Taxpayers need to refer to these values when declaring their crypto assets. If the FTA has not provided a value - the taxpayer needs to declare the value on the 31st of December on the platform they hold the asset on. So for example, if you held ALGO in a Coinbase wallet - you'd declare the fair market value of ALGO on the 31st of December (Koinly can help with this).
You'll then pay tax based on the total value of your assets - including your crypto.
Wealth Tax rates Switzerland
So how much will you pay in Wealth Tax on your crypto? It all depends on where you live and the total value of your assets. Each canton sets their own Wealth Tax rate and in many cantons the Wealth Tax rate is progressive - so you'll pay more if your assets are worth more.
This said, most cantons have a Wealth Tax of between 0.3 - 1%, so it's not a high tax rate in any instance. Each canton also has a Wealth Tax exempt allowance - a portion of private wealth you don't pay tax on. Again, this varies based on the specific canton in which you live but is normally around 100,000 CHF per individual taxpayer. You can find out more about your canton's Wealth Tax rates here.
Crypto tax breaks Switzerland
Due to its unusual tax rules, Switzerland doesn't have any specific crypto tax breaks. But you can make the most of the following tax laws to pay less tax on your crypto:
- Crypto capital gains are tax-exempt: Providing you're a private investor, you'll pay no Capital Gains Tax on your crypto. So make sure you stick to the private investor guidance to ensure you avoid an unwelcome tax bill!
- Federal Income Tax allowance: Every taxpayer gets a Federal Income Tax allowance of 14,500 CHF that is tax free. Many cantons also have their own Income Tax allowances.
- Wealth Tax allowance: Every taxpayer gets an individual Wealth Tax allowance that's tax free. So provided your total assets are under a certain value, you'll pay no Wealth Tax on them. Cantons set the specific allowance that is tax free. Your Wealth Tax allowance will increase if you have dependents.
Crypto capital losses Switzerland
Because crypto gains are tax exempt for private investors, you cannot deduct crypto capital losses. However, if you qualify as a self-employed trader or a business, you may be able to deduct crypto capital losses to reduce your tax bill.
Tax free crypto Switzerland
There are many crypto transactions that are tax free in Switzerland, including:
- Buying crypto with fiat currency - like CHF.
- Selling, trading and spending crypto - provided you're a private investor.
- HODLing crypto - excluding the Wealth Tax on total assets.
- Transferring crypto between your own wallets
Lost or stolen crypto Switzerland
Lost your private keys or been hacked and hoping to reduce your tax bill? Unfortunately, because the FTA don't allow crypto capital losses as deductions, it is unlikely that lost or stolen crypto would be tax deductible. This said, they have released no specific guidance on lost or stolen crypto.
Can the FTA track crypto?
If you have an account with a European digital currency exchange, then it's likely that the FTA already has crypto your data.
When the European Union’s Sixth Anti-Money Laundering Directive came fully into force on June 3 2021, every company that provides financial services to cryptocurrency customers and businesses will have to comply with much tougher regulations about when and how they identify customers. Data is made available between EU member states in a bid to stamp out money laundering and illegal activities.
Do you pay tax when you buy crypto in Switzerland?
No. You'll pay no tax when you buy crypto in Switzerland - regardless of what you buy your crypto with. Though HODLing your crypto is technically taxed under Wealth Tax.
Buying crypto with CHF or crypto
Crypto is seen as a private wealth asset from a tax perspective - so you won't pay any tax when you purchase crypto, regardless of whether you buy crypto with fiat currency, another crypto or even stablecoins.
Buying and HODLing crypto
There's no specific tax that applies to HODLing crypto - but Switzerland has a Wealth Tax. So if the total value of your assets - including crypto - is over your personal Wealth Tax allowance, you'll pay a small amount of tax (maximum 1%) on the value of your crypto each year.
Do you pay tax when you sell crypto in Switzerland?
Provided you're a private investor - no, you'll pay no tax when you sell crypto in Switzerland.
Regardless of whether you sell your crypto for fiat currency like CHF or another crypto - you'll pay no Capital Gains Tax in Switzerland as long as you're a private investor. Self-employed traders and businesses would pay tax.
Do you pay tax when you transfer crypto in Switzerland?
No. You won't pay tax when you transfer crypto around your own wallets or exchanges you use.
Transferring crypto is tax free in Switzerland. You can think of it like moving fiat currency between bank accounts you own. So you might pay a transfer fee for the transaction, but you won't pay any tax on it.
In some countries, transfer fees are tricky business because spending crypto - like ETH on gas fees - is seen as a Capital Gains Tax event. But it's good news because this isn't the case in Switzerland. Spending crypto as a private investor is tax free, including transfer fees.
Adding or removing liquidity
The FTA hasn't issued specific guidance on liquidity pools and how they're taxed just yet. But as these are akin to a transfer - and crypto to crypto trades are tax free - it's highly likely that provided you're a private investor these would be tax free too.
Airdrops and forks tax
Airdrops are subject to Income Tax in Switzerland. Meanwhile, there's no specific guidance for hard forks - but as you would receive an airdrop of coins due to a hard fork, it is likely they're subject to the same tax rules.
According to recent guidance from the FTA, airdrops are taxable at market value as income from movable assets, at the time of allocation. In other words, you'll pay Income Tax at your regular Income Tax rate based on the fair market value of the crypto you receive on the day you receive it.
The FTA has no guidance on hard forks. However, given their hard stance on airdrops being subject to Income Tax regardless of why you received the coins - it's likely hard forks may also be subject to Income Tax based on the fair market value of the crypto on the day you receive it.
POTENTIAL INCOME TAX
Crypto gifts and donations tax Switzerland
Like most taxes in Switzerland - Gift Tax varies depending on the specific canton in which you live. So while there is no Federal Gift Tax in Switzerland, in some instances you may pay tax on your crypto, depending on where you live. In better news, you may be able to reduce your tax bill with a donation!
Each canton sets its own rules for Gift Tax in Switzerland - rates vary between 2% and 36% depending on the amount and the property that was gifted. In some cantons - you'll pay no Gift Tax on gifts to relatives or spouses, while in others you'll pay a reduced rate of Gift Tax to relatives and spouses. You should seek Gift Tax advice based on the specific canton in which you live.
The FTA has not issued specific guidance on donations of crypto and whether they're tax deductible. However, if you sell crypto for fiat currency (which is Capital Gains Tax free for private investors) and make a donation to a qualifying Swiss-based charity - you can claim a tax deduction for charitable contributions. The tax deduction is capped with a ratio of your taxable income - so you can't make a huge donation and pay no taxes.
Crypto mining tax Switzerland
On a Federal level - Switzerland considers crypto mining to be a type of income. To further convolute things though, specific cantons set the limits as to whether mining is considered business or self-employment income which affects the subsequent taxation and deductions.
For example, the cantons of Bern and Zurich state that crypto mining always falls under self-employment income, while the cantons of Lucerne and Zug assess crypto mining activity on a case by case basis to establish whether mining activity constitutes self-employment activity, hobby activity or business activities.
All this to say, the rate of tax and the kind of tax you'll pay on your crypto mining depends on where you live and the level at which you're mining.
Crypto mining is seen as self-employment income in most cantons and you'll pay Income Tax on mined coins based on their fair market value in CHF at the point you receive them.
Crypto margin trading, derivatives and other CFDs
The FTA has not issued specific guidance on crypto margin trading, derivatives and other CFDs just yet. However, they have extensive guidance on the trading of traditional securities and derivatives - and it's good news. Just like with crypto, provided you're a private investor - you'll pay no Capital Gains Tax on profits from crypto margin trades, derivatives or other CFD products. Refer to the private investor vs self-employed trader guidance above to see whether you fit into this category.
DeFi crypto tax Switzerland
The FTA has not issued any clear guidance on DeFi taxes just yet, but this doesn't mean you won't pay taxes on your DeFi activities. It just means you need to interpret the current crypto tax guidance and apply it to your DeFi activities. In most instances, this boils down to whether you're seen to be 'earning' new coins or tokens or whether you're selling or trading on DeFi protocols. It is always advisable to speak to an experienced crypto tax accountant for specific advice around these transactions.
All this said, we can infer from the current crypto tax guidance that the tax treatment of common DeFi activities is likely to be:
- Earning interest from DeFi protocols: Potential Income Tax.
- Borrowing from DeFi protocols: No tax.
- Paying interest to DeFi protocols: No tax.
- Staking on DeFi protocols: Income Tax.
- Yield farming DeFi protocols: Potential Income Tax.
- Liquidity mining: Potential Income Tax on new liquidity pool tokens.
- Adding/removing liquidity: No tax.
- Earning through play/engage to earn DeFi protocols: Potential Income Tax.
- Profits from DeFi margin trading and options protocols: No tax provided you're a private investor.
NFTs tax Switzerland
Like DeFi taxes, the FTA hasn't yet issued clear guidance on non-fungible tokens and tax. However, we can infer from the current crypto tax rules how various NFT transactions would be taxed in Switzerland:
- Buying an NFT with fiat currency: No tax provided you're a private investor.
- Trading one NFT for another: No tax provided you're a private investor.
- Selling an NFT: No tax provided you're a private investor.
- Minting an NFT: No tax provided you're a private investor.
- Creating and selling NFTs: If you're creating and selling NFTs to make an income, depending on the scale, this may be viewed as self-employment income and subject to Income Tax. You should consult with an experienced tax advisor for more advice if this is your situation.
What records does the FTA want on crypto?
Most tax offices around the world require residents to keep detailed records of cryptocurrency transactions for 5 years. Switzerland is no different. It's advisable to keep the following records:
- the date of your crypto transactions.
- the value of the cryptocurrency in CHF at the time of the transaction (which can be taken from a reputable online exchange.)
- what the transaction was for and who the other party was (even if it’s just their cryptocurrency address).
Koinly can help with record keeping. By syncing your wallets and exchanges to your Koinly account you will have one central dashboard from where to record and view all of your crypto activity. Portfolio tracking is available on a FREE Koinly plan.
Cost basis method Switzerland
Remember - capital gains are tax exempt in Switzerland for private investors. However, if you're considered a self-employed day trader or a business the following cost basis methods are allowed:
When do you need to report your crypto taxes to the FTA?
You report your crypto taxes as part of your annual tax return in Switzerland.
The Swiss financial year is the same as the calendar year - so it runs from the 1st of January to the 31st of December each year. You need to file your taxes for the financial year by the 31st of March the following year. This means Swiss taxpayers are currently reporting on the 2022 financial year and they need to submit their annual tax return by the 31st of March 2023. Most cantons will allow you to have one free filing extension if you struggle to do this by the deadline.
How to calculate your crypto taxes
Calculating your crypto taxes so you can report them to your canton is time consuming. You can do it all manually, or you can use a crypto tax calculator like Koinly to save hours of spreadsheets.
If you want to calculate your crypto taxes manually, follow these steps:
- Identify all your taxable crypto transactions for the financial year.
- Identify the fair market value of each of the crypto assets you hold on the 31st of December for the financial year.
- Identify which transactions are subject to Income Tax.
- Calculate the fair market value of any crypto income in CHF on the day you received it.
- Report your crypto income and the total value of your crypto assets to the FTA in your annual tax return by the 31st of March.
How to report crypto taxes to the FTA
All Swiss citizens need to file an annual tax return by the 31st of March 2023, reporting on the 2022 financial year. Individual cantons administer their own tax returns. To declare your income and assets you'll need:
- Salary certificates (pay slips).
- Accounts (for self-employed).
- Pension statements (for retired citizens).
- Bank account statements.
- Statements relating to assets and investments.
You'll declare the income you receive as an employee, and any additional income from self-employment activities or other in come on your annual tax return. You'll also need to declare the following value of the following assets on your tax return:
- Real estate.
- Crypto assets.
- Bank account balances.
- Life and pension insurances policies (surrender value).
- Any collectibles like art.
Your taxable assets under the Wealth Tax are all your assets minus allowable deductions. Debts such as mortgages or loans can be deducted from your total asset value. Many cantons also allow social deductions and a tax allowance. Check the specific rules in your canton for allowable deductions, tax allowances and reportable assets.
You can file your tax return online with your cantonal tax administration. Find a full list here. Each canton has a slightly different process and tax return. For example:
- Canton of Aargau: crypto assets are listed in the annual tax return using Form 101.05 list of securities and credit balances. As well as this, proof of asset storage must be provided, i.e. an end of year holdings report from a given exchange or wallet.
- Canton of Berne: crypto assets are declared in tax return using Form 3 (Wertschriftenverzeichnis und Rückerstattungsantrag Verrechnungssteuer).
- Canton of Basel-Stadt: crypto assets are declared in your tax return using code 835 (Bargeld, Edelmetalle und übrige Vermögenswerte).
- Canton of Lucerne: crypto assets are declared alongside other securities as other assets, but taxpayers must enclose a receipt or proof of the digital wallet holding the asset with the declaration.
- Canton of St. Gallen: crypto assets are declaured in the list of securities and credit balances. For any changes in the holdings of securities (i.e. sale, acquistion), the date of the addition or sale must be listed.
- Canton of Zug: crypto assets are declared in the list of securities using code 160 for asset income and code 600 for assets).
- Canton of Zurich: crypto assets are declared as other assets in the securities and assets register and proof of the digital wallet the asset is stored in must be enclosed.
How to use a crypto tax app like Koinly
Don't get stuck in busywork. Don't get it wrong. Don't rely on your accountant to know where to look. Use Koinly to generate your Swiss crypto tax reports. Here's how easy it is:
1. Sign up for a FREE Koinly account.
It only takes a minute!
2. Select your base country and currency.
In this instance, Switzerland and Swiss Franc.
3. Select your accounting method.
Koinly supports ACB, FIFO, LIFO, HIFO and more.
4. Connect Koinly to your wallets, exchanges or blockchains.
Koinly integrates with more than 350 crypto exchanges, wallets and blockchains (see all). If you can't find yours, let us know - we're always adding more.
5. Let Koinly crunch the numbers. Make a coffee.
Koinly will calculate your cost basis for each crypto asset like ETH, BTC and more then taxes them accordingly. Koinly will calculate each capital gain or loss from your sales, as well as your crypto income and expenses.
6. Ta-da! Your data is collected and your full tax report is generated!
Head to the tax reports page in Koinly and check out your tax summary. This includes your net capital gains, other gains, income, costs, expenses and any gifts, donations or lost crypto.
7. To download your crypto tax report, upgrade to a paid plan.
Download what you need, when you need it. We offer the Swiss Valuation Report to calculate your total asset value for Swiss users.
8. Send your report to your accountant, or complete your tax return yourself.
Use the generated file to complete your annual tax return or send it over to your accountant. Done!
How to pay tax on cryptocurrency in Switzerland
Once you’ve filed your annual tax return with your cantonal tax office- they’ll let you know how much tax you owe on your crypto. You generally have 30 days to pay any due taxes.
How to avoid paying tax on crypto in Switzerland
There are ways to strategically - and legally - reduce your crypto taxes in Switzerland. But remember - you need to make any moves to optimise your tax position by the end of the financial year, so you've missed the boat on 2021. However, for the 2022 financial year, you can pay less crypto tax by:
- Ensuring you're considered a private investor: Check the rules above and make sure you stick to them if you want to avoid all capital gains tax on your crypto!
- Offset losses as self-employed traders: It's not the end of the world if you end up being considered a self-employed trader, it comes with one big perk. You can offset your crypto capital losses against your gains if you're viewed as a self-employed trader.
- Make a donation: Cash gifts to registered charities are tax deductible. So if you sell your crypto and donate that amount to charity - you may be able to offset it against your income and reduce your overall tax bill.
The information on this website is for general information only. It should not be taken as constituting professional advice from Koinly. Koinly is not a financial adviser. You should consider seeking independent legal, financial, taxation or other advice to check how the website information relates to your unique circumstances. Koinly is not liable for any loss caused, whether due to negligence or otherwise arising from the use of, or reliance on, the information provided directly or indirectly, by use of this website.