Withholding tax (PM)

Reimbursement of withholding tax to permanent missions and their members of personnel

General principles

According to article 28 of the federal Law of 13 October 1965 on withholding tax :

  • Foreign States are entitled to the reimbursement of withholding tax deducted from the interest earned on assets they have placed in Swiss banks for the exclusive use of their diplomatic and consular representations.
  • The members of diplomatic representations are entitled to reimbursement of the withholding tax on securities and assets held in a bank and on the earnings from these, insofar as the legal provisions, conventions or common usage exempts them from payment of cantonal taxes on securities and assets held in a bank and on the earnings from these.
  • Reimbursement will be denied to foreign States that do not observe reciprocity, as well as to the members of their diplomatic and consular representations.

According to article 65 of the Ordinance of 19 December 1966 on withholding tax :

  • If the eligible party can show in a plausible manner that he or she is entitled to a reimbursement of at least CHF 4,000 as calculated over the year, the Swiss Federal Tax Administration, upon request, will grant reimbursements in instalments.
  • Persons granted reimbursement in instalments must submit a request for the full amount of withholding tax within three months of the end of the year in question, detailing all payments received.


The withholding tax is not exempted at the source. A request for reimbursement must be submitted in writing.

The permanent missions, Heads of mission, diplomatic agents and administrative and technical staff members (holders of a "B", "C" and "D" legitimation card) must request the reimbursement of the withholding tax in writing to the Swiss Federal Tax Administration (see details below). The request for reimbursement should include the supporting documents together with the form R 25 (available from banks).


Only those persons domiciled in Switzerland are entitled to reimbursement of the withholding tax. Persons living abroad are still subject to withholding tax unless there is double taxation agreement between Switzerland and their State of residence (which also assumes that the assets in question are subject to normal taxation in the State of residence).

Relevant authority

Swiss Federal Tax Administration
Eigerstrasse 65
CH - 3003 Berne
Tel. +41 (0)58 465 60 84
Fax +41 (0)58 463 70 80

Specialist Contact

Permanent Mission of Switzerland to UNOG
Office of Privileges & immunities
Rue de Varembé 9-11
P.O. Box 194
CH-1211 Geneva 20
Tel. +41 (0)58 482 24 24
Fax +41 (0)58 482 24 37