Finance and taxes
Where can you open a bank account? How does the Swiss tax system work? What can you do if you have debts?
You can listen to brief introductory information in your language here:
+ Merkblatt Schulden (Information page „Debts“)
+ Arrangement of personal loans
+ The Swiss tax system
+ Withholding tax calculator
Frequently asked questions
To open an account, go to the bank of your choice or to the post office and let them inform you about the available options. You will need one of the following documents in order to open an account: Identity card, passport, or foreign national identity card. Bring along an interpreter if needed. Many banks, as well as the Postfinance office, are located close to the Lucerne train station.
+ Bank Info: Here you can find information regarding the locations of all the banks in Swiss communities.
+ Postfinance: Here you can find further information regarding the "bank" of the Swiss postal service.
In Switzerland, many bills can be paid using special payment slips ("Einzahlungsscheine") (orange or red). They contain all the important information such as the recipient’s name, account number, amount of payment, reference number, etc.
You can pay your bills as follows:
You can obtain further information and guidance for paying bills from the post office or the bank of your choice.
Every person who lives, works, or shops in Switzerland must pay taxes. Taxation is a public toll that finances the services of the country, and is the country’s most important source of income.
The direct taxes are the largest source of income. These include: income and wealth taxes as well as capital-gains tax and capital tax.
The indirect taxes include the value-added tax, tobacco tax, dog-ownership tax, cantonal motor-vehicle tax, lottery tax, and others. These are variably levied by the city of Lucerne, the canton, or the federal government.
+ The City Tax Office of Lucerne
+ The Cantonal Tax Agency
+ General information on taxes
All persons living in Lucerne normally have to pay taxes.
Income and wealth are declared once a year on the official tax form, and the amount of your taxes will be based on this information. You will receive the forms for your tax return by mail.
Foreign residents without a Type C residence permit (Niederlassungsbewilligung C) will be charged withholding tax (Quellensteuer). This is deducted directly from the taxpayer’s salary every month by the employer and submitted to the tax department.The responsible authority is the canton of Lucerne. If your income is more than Fr. 120‘000 per year, you must fill out a tax return in addition to the withholding tax.
+ Comparis: Withholding tax calculator for the various Swiss cantons
+ Withholding tax for Lucerne
Tax Department (Dienststelle Steuern)
Community Services (Gemeindedienstleistungen)
Services and Withholding Tax (Services und Quellensteuer)
Buobenmatt 1, Postfach 3464, 6002 Luzern
Telephone: +41 (0)41 228 57 33, Telefax + 41 (0)41 228 51 09
If you have questions about finances and taxes, you can consult the Treuhandsuisse-Zentralschweiz.
If you have financial problems, you should act promptly and seek help from a professional debt advisor.
There are a variety of institutions where you can get assistance, such as a non-profit debt-counseling service, the social service department of your community, or a church counseling service. The counselor can help you to obtain an overview of your financial situation and prepare a budget that will enable you to pay off your debts.
You can find the address of the Department for Debt Concerns in Lucerne here:
+ Debt Counseling Service (Schuldenberatungsstelle)
Department for Debt Concerns (Fachstelle für Schuldenfragen)
Töpferstrasse 5, 6004 Luzern
Telephone: +41 (0)41 211 00 18