Both you and your recipient may need to include the transfer on your taxes.
Regardless of whether you’re sending cash or a direct bank deposit, transfers over $10,000 need to be reported to the US government, and some Swiss citizens will have to report the transfer to their canton.
How Switzerland regulates large remittances
Switzerland does not impose inheritance or gift taxes at the federal level, which typically affect remittances. However, similar to the US — where our 50 states are separate sovereign mini-governments — the Swiss Confederation comprises 26 cantons, each with varying laws on taxation.
If your recipient lives in a canton with a gift tax, they’ll need to pay them with their normal tax returns. Nearly all cantons exempt spouses, registered partners and children from paying the gift tax. To learn more about which cantons tax international gifts and at what rate, search for your recipient’s canton.
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What are the penalties in Switzerland if my recipient fails to file?
Penalties vary by canton, but the government monitors remittances into and out of Switzerland closely — which means your large money transfer is likely to be caught. Encourage your friends and family in Switzerland to declare any large remittance on their general tax returns.
In general, if a Swiss taxpayer fails to file their taxes correctly, the government’s tax authorities can apply a default taxation. This default amount is typically much higher than the actual amount due.
Do I have to report large transfers out of the US?
Yes. If you’re sending more than $10,000 for business purposes you’ll need to file a currency transaction report, and if you’ve given away more than $15,000 for any reason in the past year you’ll need to file a gift tax return.
In the wake of 9/11, banks report all cash transactions to Switzerland that exceed $10,000 — and any transaction that rouses their suspicions. Depending on the circumstances, a money transfer business can be required to report transfers as low as $1,000.
Tax forms for sending more than $10,000 from the US
Must read: How much money can I send to Switzerland?
Legally, you can send as much money as you want to Switzerland. However, some transfer providers will set their own limits. If you plan to initiate a large transfer, XE is a secure provider with no maximum transfer limit.
How will my recipient in Switzerland get the money?
How your Swiss family or friends actually receive your money depends on the provider you choose and how you’ve chosen to deliver it. In Switzerland, convenient delivery options include bank transfers, cash pickup and transfer to mobile wallets.
If picking up the money in person, your loved ones may need to show government-issued ID or a confirmation number to prove they’re the intended recipient.
How to send money to Switzerland
If you’re gifting a large sum of money to someone in Switzerland, both you and your recipient may need to include it on your tax returns. While you won’t have to actually pay any taxes in the US unless you’ve gifted more than $11.18 million, your recipient might, depending on what canton they live in. To help recoup some of the cost, make sure you’re choosing an international transfer provider with competitive exchange rates and fees.