Do I have to pay taxes on fellowships?


Legally, fellowships are defined as an amount of money indigent people get without an engagement of return or consideration. Such fellowships are in principle tax-free Switzerland. Therefore, not every amount of money commonly called "fellowship" is a fellowship in the juridical sense.

  • If you get a fellowship without condition, it is tax-free.
  • If you get an amount of money linked to an application or a contract of employment, it is assessable.
  • Depending on the canton, tax systems may be very different. To determine whether a fellowship is subject to taxes or not, you should contact the cantonal tax administrations.

SNSF-fellowship for prospective researchers

The SNSF-fellowship for prospective researchers (Post-Doc-Stipendium für angehende Forschende/ bourses pour chercheurs, chercheuses) to make a postdoc abroad is tax-free at federal level. It is tax-free at cantonal and communal level as well for most of the cantons with the following exceptions: Aarau, Baselland, St. Gallen, Zurich. 

Host countries do - apart from some exceptions - not charge tax on the fellowship. However, some countries may ask a confirmation of the SNSF that can be requested directly at the SNSF. It is recommended to ask at the embassy of your host country. 

Detailed information can be found here (deutsch / français).