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Tax return in Obwalden

The individual Swiss cantons can independently determine their income tax rates and the deadlines for filing the tax return. One of the smallest Swiss cantons is Obwalden, with Sarnen as its capital, which had only 32,215 inhabitants at the end of July 2021. The canton has only seven communes.

Obwalden is one of the Swiss cantons with the lowest income tax compared to the average of the Swiss cantons. The income tax rate is well below average. All residents of the Canton of Obwalden who have reached the age of 18 are required by the Cantonal Tax Administration to submit a tax return.

Tax rate in the canton of Obwalden

With an income tax rate of 24.3 percent, the Swiss canton of Obwalden is one of the cantons with the lowest income tax, measured against the average for Swiss cantons, which is 33.6 percent.

Only in the canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden, at 23.8 percent, and in the canton of Zug, at 22.2 percent, is income tax even lower. Residents in the canton of Obwalden are not only taxed by the canton. Taxes are also levied by the federal government and the municipality, and by the church if it belongs to the church. The municipalities use different municipal tax rates, which they report to the cantonal tax administration. Therefore, taxes differ in each municipality.

In addition to income tax, a wealth tax is levied on all assets. Unlike income tax, it is calculated in parts per thousand rather than as a percentage.
Unlike most other Swiss cantons, the canton of Obwalden does not levy inheritance and gift taxes.

Address and contact of the Tax Administration of the Canton of Obwalden

The Cantonal Tax Administration of the Canton of Obwalden requests all residents who are at least 18 years old to submit a tax return each year. This is the web address of the Cantonal Tax Administration Obwalden: https://www.ow.ch/aemter/186
The mailing address is:

Tax administration Obwalden
St. Antonistrasse 4
6060 Sarnen

If you have any questions, the Cantonal Tax Administration Obwalden can also be contacted by e-mail or telephone. The contact details are listed on the website of the cantonal tax administration. Questions about the tax return or the deadlines for submission can also be answered by the relevant municipal office.

Which tax software is accepted in the canton of Obwalden?

Tax returns can be submitted digitally in all Swiss cantons, including the canton of Obwalden. A tax software makes the tax return easier. Individual cantons accept different tax software. In the canton of Obwalden, the tax software eTax.OW is accepted, which can be accessed via the website of the cantonal tax administration. The software can be used directly via the browser. A download is not required.

In order to use the tax software, registration with an e-mail address and password is required. An explanatory video explains how to use the control software. In addition, support is available.
If you want to make it easier for yourself to prepare a tax return, you can hire a tax consultant. Errors in the tax return are thus avoided.

Deadlines for filing the tax return

Different deadlines apply in the individual cantons for the submission of the tax return.

The ordinary deadline is longer than in most other cantons, because it ends on April 30 of the current year.

The tax return must always be filed for the current year. Thus, the filing deadline for the 2022 tax return is April 30, 2023.
If the regular deadline cannot be met, an extension of the deadline can be requested free of charge. The application can be submitted online and must include information on

  • Tax period
  • PID number
  • Date of birth of the taxpayer
  • required deadline


contain The deadline extension is possible until December 31 of the current year. If this deadline cannot be met either, it is possible to apply to the cantonal tax administration for a further extension of the deadline. The request must be justified and submitted in writing. A fee of CHF 30 will be charged for this request.

Consequences of failure to meet the deadline or to file the tax return

Anyone who does not submit a tax return in the canton of Obwalden by the deadline and does not submit a request for an extension of the deadline will receive a reminder. No fee is charged for the first reminder. If the taxpayer fails to comply with the reminder within the specified period, he will receive a second reminder for which a fee of CHF 30 will be charged.

If the deadline is not met or a tax return is not submitted, the cantonal tax administration levies a fine depending on income. It can be up to CHF 1,000. A fine of up to CHF 10,000 may be levied in repeated and serious cases if tax evasion is suspected. If tax evasion is suspected, the cantonal tax administration can initiate debt collection proceedings for which a fee of CHF 150 is charged.

Possibility of payment relief for income tax

The cantonal tax administration does not mention on its website that payment relief is available for income tax. However, anyone who finds themselves in a financial bottleneck can contact the cantonal tax administration to request a deferral of income tax or payment by installments. The Odwalden Tax Administration may require certain evidence, such as a budget, in order to grant an installment payment.

What is tax-free in the canton of Obwalden?

In the canton of Obwalden, various incomes are tax-exempt. The salary of militia firefighters paid for services rendered in connection with the performance of the core duties of the fire department is tax-exempt up to CHF 5,000 per year. Winnings from games in casinos and from licensed large-scale games do not have to be taxed up to CHF 1 million per game. Winnings from small games as well as from games of skill and lotteries for sales promotion are tax-free up to CHF 1,000.

What is tax deductible in the canton of Obwalden?

In the canton of Obwalden, various expenses are tax deductible:

  • Covid-19 measures for home office under professional expenses.
  • Travel between home and work up to CHF 10,000 by public transport
  • significantly lower amounts can be deducted for journeys between home and work by motorcycles, small motorcycles, cars and bicycles
  • Professional expenses such as professional literature, private study room or professional clothing
  • Professional expenses for secondary gainful employment with a minimum of CHF 800 and a maximum of CHF 2,400 per year
  • Property maintenance costs
  • Insurance premiums and deposits for health, accident and life insurance policies
  • Savings interest
  • Sickness, accident and disability costs
  • Costs for outside care of children who have not yet reached the age of 14, up to CHF 10,000 per child
  • Donations and membership fees to political parties up to CHF 10,000 per year
  • Further training and retraining costs up to CHF 12,000 per year
  • Stakes on winnings from permitted cash games up to CHF 5,000 per game and a maximum of CHF 25,000 per year
  • Deduction of CHF 3,400 if both spouses are gainfully employed, if the marriage is legally valid and the spouses do not live apart from each other