How to calculate one’s direct federal taxation (DFT/IFD)?

The Swiss tax system is based on three levels: communal, cantonal and federal. If you are visiting this page to understand how the federal tax works, I have some good news for you: it is the easiest of the three to calculate.

And if you need help with your tax return in the canton of Vaud, Geneva or Valais, we will be happy to accompany you!

In the following lines, I will explain to you how to calculate the amount of your federal tax.

What is your gross income? 

Net income corresponds to your gross income, minus social insurance. It is what is paid into your bank account, usually at the end of the month.

What is your taxable income?  

Taxable income is your net income minus the deductions allowed at federal level. These deductions are not necessarily the same as those allowed at municipal and cantonal level. 

You will find below a table summarising all the deductions granted by our dear Confédération.

Table summarising the main deductions authorised in the canton of Vaud for income tax purposes

Are you single, married or in a registered partnership? 

Your marital status has an impact on the tax scale. A single person will be taxed at a higher rate than a couple with children.  

If you are single, then you should base your calculations on the first three lines of the table below. 

 If you are married or in a registered partnership, columns 1, 4 and 5 will be applicable to your case.

Federal direct income tax (DIT) scale

Find all the federal tax scales for past and future years.

In which salary bracket is your taxable income? 

Have you found the grade you fall into?   

The next step is to identify the range in which your taxable income falls. 

For example, mine is precisely 71,000 CHF.

Extract from the Federal Direct Income Tax (DTI) scale

So, I will have to refer to this line only. 

One more step and you will have calculated the amount of taxes you will have to pay to the Confederation.

How to calculate the total of your federal tax? 

The line “70,000” indicates the amount of my basic tax : 1’001,41 CHF.

This number corresponds to the tax for an income of  70,000 CHF. I still have to apply the rate which appears at its right to the difference between 71,000 CHF and 70,000 CHF, that is 2,97% on 1,000 CHF.

1,000 x 0,0297 = 29,7.

By adding up these two numbers – the basic tax and the rate applied to the difference between the minimal amount of the grade and the taxable income, I get the total federal tax.  

1’001,41 CHF + 29,7 = 1,031.10 CHF.

The amount of my federal tax is thus 1,031.10 CHF.

If you have children, it is very simple: all you will have to do is taking 255 CHF off per child to the calculated tax. 

Example of how to calculate direct federal tax (DFI) as a married couple

If we take the same example, a married couple with an income of CHF 71,000, we will have a basic direct federal tax of CHF 700 on the first CHF 70,000. We would then have to tax the additional CHF 1,000. The tax rate is 3%.
Finally, all we have to do is add up the CHF 700 + (1,000 x 3%) = CHF 730.

There you go! 

To determine your communal and cantonal taxes, I invite you to have a look at our addional articles. 

If you want to estimate your taxes without having to understand how it functions, (I feel for you, Swiss taxation is a real haedache), check out our online fiscal calculator!