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View Poll Results: Have you got a business are interested in how to do things here or save (avoid) tax?
Would like to have a business but boy don't know where to start 151 39.22%
Am a contractor but my pimps are asking me to bend over and hold my ankles every month 25 6.49%
I am a freelancer doing it myself (so to speak) and want to know more 103 26.75%
I have my own legally structured company and don't like paying so much to everybody 50 12.99%
I am employed but am always interested in any way to reduce tax 49 12.73%
I think this is a waste of breath you oxygen thief 7 1.82%
Voters: 385. You may not vote on this poll

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  #221  
Old 14.10.2008, 21:59
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Re: Help for Businesses/Freelancers in CH

Thanks both, helpful as ever. I have a strategy to put to E&Y and see if they are willing to think outside the norm...
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  #222  
Old 13.11.2008, 12:47
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Re: Help for Businesses/Freelancers in CH

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As a Soletrader you actually are in a reasonable position. You simply declare yourself self-employed and fill in the necessary AHV form to register as such. This is usually available at your local town hall. It is possible to move a lot of life costs to company costs but you are in the situation of not being able to benefit from many things. Pension is more difficult if not impossible. Differentiating between personal monies and business money is difficult to maintain. But perhaps the hardest thing of all for the small person is you are not able to write statutes to allow you to forego certain things and thus all expenses are actual expenses with all the necessary requirement to keep every possible receipt and then to prove that the expense was necessary when someone asks. You also run into potential difficulties with the AHV guys if you do not have multiple customers so a shop or carpenter works fine but an IT contractor with a 12 month contract with UBS does not. And finally, just one small additional point, if you run up a debt or are subject to some kind of fine as a soletrader you pick up the bill and I am talking of every last penny of it, even if that means selling your house to pay.
Thanks for good information.
My situation is slightly different. I got my B-permit thru my Swiss spouse and now working at home in Zurich as an expat for a US based company (still on US payroll). The company is closing down the Swiss branch by this year end but they still want to keep me employed. The company also has entities in Germany and France, if that helps. What choices do I/company have?
Option 1) Can I keep the same working status? The company seems to think that it's impossible because of taxes/pension/payroll issues. We probably will return to the US in two years, so this option would be best for us.
Option 2) I become a self-employed ("sole trader"). Are there anything else I need to do besides doing the AHV paper work? What are company's obligations to me and the Swiss government (e.g. taxes, AHV, etc)?
Other options???
Thanks in advance!!!
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  #223  
Old 13.11.2008, 16:12
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Re: Help for Businesses/Freelancers in CH

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Thanks for good information.
My situation is slightly different. I got my B-permit thru my Swiss spouse and now working at home in Zurich as an expat for a US based company (still on US payroll). The company is closing down the Swiss branch by this year end but they still want to keep me employed. The company also has entities in Germany and France, if that helps. What choices do I/company have?
Option 1) Can I keep the same working status? The company seems to think that it's impossible because of taxes/pension/payroll issues. We probably will return to the US in two years, so this option would be best for us.
Option 2) I become a self-employed ("sole trader"). Are there anything else I need to do besides doing the AHV paper work? What are company's obligations to me and the Swiss government (e.g. taxes, AHV, etc)?
Other options???
Thanks in advance!!!
If you are self employed (your Option2) then your former employer company has no further obligations to the Government. Towards you the company has a buyer-vendor relationship for your services.

If you only have this 1 "customer" than the AHV authorities may refuse you the status of "self-employed". Hence, you may consider an Option-3 to float a GmbH (Limited Liability Company). Some administrative hassles and chores are however the price for running your own LLC. Alternatively, you may negotiate with someone who has a running LLC to take care of these formalities for a fee.
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  #224  
Old 14.11.2008, 15:03
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Re: Help for Businesses/Freelancers in CH

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If you only have this 1 "customer" than the AHV authorities may refuse you the status of "self-employed".
Thanks for a quick response. Where do I go to register as a "self-employed"? What is the procedure? How long would it take?

Thanks!
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  #225  
Old 14.11.2008, 20:10
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Re: Help for Businesses/Freelancers in CH

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Thanks for a quick response. Where do I go to register as a "self-employed"? What is the procedure? How long would it take?

Thanks!
The topic has already been extensively discussed on other EF threads. Please search.
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  #226  
Old 03.12.2008, 15:01
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Re: Help for Businesses/Freelancers in CH

Hey, apologies in advance if this has been already answered. I have done a quick (admitted) search and couldn't find anything out there.

I have some profit left in my accounts (GmbH) and want to know two things:
  1. What is the best way to minimise my tax bill?
  2. If I want to get the money left in the accounts and invest it in a new business outside Switzerland, what is the best way to do so and to maximise the amount left? (Even considering closing existing business)

Thanks in advance;
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  #227  
Old 03.12.2008, 15:28
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Re: Help for Businesses/Freelancers in CH

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Hey, apologies in advance if this has been already answered. I have done a quick (admitted) search and couldn't find anything out there.

I have some profit left in my accounts (GmbH) and want to know two things:
  1. What is the best way to minimise my tax bill?
  2. If I want to get the money left in the accounts and invest it in a new business outside Switzerland, what is the best way to do so and to maximise the amount left? (Even considering closing existing business)
Thanks in advance;
Basically you have 2 choices, salary or dividends:
  1. Salary: Must pay soc-sec (AHV) contributions and income tax.
  2. Dividends: Company is taxed for profits and the dividend taxed as income. Could be exempt of soc-sec.
You have to do the sums and determine which is better. It depends on where you live, what your other incomes are, etc.
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  #228  
Old 03.12.2008, 15:40
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Re: Help for Businesses/Freelancers in CH

...and the social contribution in turn is tax free. So you may want to explore your posibilities of paying extra into your BVG (2nd Pillar).


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Basically you have 2 choices, salary or dividends:
  1. Salary: Must pay soc-sec (AHV) contributions and income tax.
  2. Dividends: Company is taxed for profits and the dividend taxed as income. Could be exempt of soc-sec.
You have to do the sums and determine which is better. It depends on where you live, what your other incomes are, etc.
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  #229  
Old 03.12.2008, 21:35
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Re: Help for Businesses/Freelancers in CH

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...and the social contribution in turn is tax free. So you may want to explore your posibilities of paying extra into your BVG (2nd Pillar).
You can top up your pension plan, if there is indeed a deficit. Ask your pension-plan administrator. The pension contribution is not entirely tax free, because there is a small tax on withdrawal. Also your money gets blocked for a while. Note that many pension funds are underfunded because of market declines.
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  #230  
Old 05.12.2008, 11:51
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Re: Help for Businesses/Freelancers in CH

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You can top up your pension plan, if there is indeed a deficit. Ask your pension-plan administrator. The pension contribution is not entirely tax free, because there is a small tax on withdrawal. Also your money gets blocked for a while. Note that many pension funds are underfunded because of market declines.
Thanks for all the answers. What I am trying to do is to maximise the cash left; so I think paying into my pension, etc won't be a solution for that. Is there an amount of money that is not subject to tax? My company is not even 1 year old, are there any exceptions for year 1?

Thanks again;
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  #231  
Old 05.12.2008, 12:35
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Re: Help for Businesses/Freelancers in CH

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Thanks for all the answers. What I am trying to do is to maximise the cash left; so I think paying into my pension, etc won't be a solution for that. Is there an amount of money that is not subject to tax? My company is not even 1 year old, are there any exceptions for year 1?

Thanks again;
No retroactive tax exemptions for new companies. Depending on company's activities and location, it may have been possible to negotiate a tax holiday before establishing the company.
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  #232  
Old 31.10.2009, 11:40
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Re: Help for Businesses/Freelancers in CH

Hi all,

My LTD company is registered in the UK, but I wish to move out and be based in Switzerland to be with my swiss girlfriend.

I'm aware I should be going for the B permit, but what is the best option for me with regard to paying tax? I have no swiss clients, and a small number of UK clients.

Thanks for any info!
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  #233  
Old 31.10.2009, 13:34
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Re: Help for Businesses/Freelancers in CH

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Hi all,

My LTD company is registered in the UK, but I wish to move out and be based in Switzerland to be with my swiss girlfriend.

I'm aware I should be going for the B permit, but what is the best option for me with regard to paying tax? I have no swiss clients, and a small number of UK clients.

Thanks for any info!
If you live in Switzerland then you pay tax in Switzerland on your worldwide income.

Your UK company pays tax on profits in the UK.
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  #234  
Old 31.10.2009, 14:29
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Re: Help for Businesses/Freelancers in CH

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My LTD company is registered in the UK, but I wish to move out and be based in Switzerland to be with my swiss girlfriend.

I'm aware I should be going for the B permit, but what is the best option for me with regard to paying tax? I have no swiss clients, and a small number of UK clients.
I'd say, if you plan to make less than 100K CHF per annum, register as a sole trader in Switzerland (Einzelfirma). If it's more, register a GmbH (analog to LTD). For GmbH you would need 20000 CHF as a start capital, this is all discussed on EF in details.

Then you can charge your UK LTD or your clients directly. If you charge your own UK company, there's some room for tax optimization, as you can charge less than you get from the end client.

But of course the best thing is to consult with professionals
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  #235  
Old 02.11.2009, 13:39
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Re: Help for Businesses/Freelancers in CH

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No retroactive tax exemptions for new companies. Depending on company's activities and location, it may have been possible to negotiate a tax holiday before establishing the company.
It depends if the company already closed the accounts and submitted the tax return. If not, then it is still possible to apply for a ruling like base company or holding regime. If you mean tax holiday, then first you need the min. number of jobs, a project close to industry and submit the request usually before you start the project or right after. Submission within the first year is usually accepted by tax authority. After 2 years, usually no retroactive effect, though, I have seen that in some specific cases.

One should also keep in mind that the tax holisay it is not only for the creation of a new company, it can be requested for the creation of a new business line within an existing company.
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  #236  
Old 11.02.2010, 17:12
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Re: Help for Businesses/Freelancers in CH

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1. deregister from UK tax system if you have moved to Switzerland
2. register in Switzerland as self employed (you can keep your uk clients of course)

You will have 6 months on a B permit to prove yourself financially (although it depends on the enthusiasm of the Kanton as to whether this is followed up - for me, it was not).
Is it really as simple as that for a UK citizen if you aren't already resident here? Just call AWA (in ZH), say "I've been offered work as an independent in CH, please give me a B permit" and register for AHV? Do you need to set up an Einzelfirma? What sort of income is deemed "sufficient means", 4000 ish a month gross for a single person? Enquiring for a family member, been here long enough myself to be unclear

Last edited by eng_ch; 11.02.2010 at 19:03.
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  #237  
Old 23.02.2010, 09:57
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Re: Help for Businesses/Freelancers in CH

Hi. I'm new to the English Forum, but have been reading these threads with interest. I am so grateful to find some clear, well explained information about self employment in Switzerland. I am registered as self-employed in Britain, but have not carried out any work here in Switzerland so far. I am looking to offer proofreading services here now, and want to be sure that I am not breaking any of the often-hard-to-spot-until-you-go-wrong rules of Switzerland. From my point of view, the most useful thing to know is...what is the minimal requirement for someone wanting to carry out self-employed work here, where the anticipated income will fall well below the CHF 70,000 limit. Am I right in thinking that the only requirement is to register for AHV at the Gemeinde? And if so, what exactly does that entail?
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  #238  
Old 18.10.2010, 12:25
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Re: Help for Businesses/Freelancers in CH

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Well it seems like there are 11 people interested in knowing more plus one or two others I guess who have been two lazy or don't want to raise their heads just now. So I guess I need to start structuring the topics and posting. Anybody got any burning issues to resolve now.
Hi Richard,

I am a musician. A am in CH on a visit. I was proposed to do some gigs while here and I am wondering if that would be OK - legal? I am a freelancer. What should I do? Do I need a work permission? Do I have to have a contract for that gig? Do I pay tax to the authoroties in CH?

Thanks in advance
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  #239  
Old 11.12.2010, 17:44
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Re: Help for Businesses/Freelancers in CH

Can anyone do favour and answer why GmbH and not AG , yes i know the capital of the gmbh is less than AG but what what about the others please ?

if one of the shareholders of GmbH company not resident at swiss , will be granted swiss resident or permit ?
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  #240  
Old 12.12.2010, 12:29
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Re: Help for Businesses/Freelancers in CH

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Hi Richard,

I am a musician. A am in CH on a visit. I was proposed to do some gigs while here and I am wondering if that would be OK - legal? I am a freelancer. What should I do? Do I need a work permission? Do I have to have a contract for that gig? Do I pay tax to the authoroties in CH?

Thanks in advance
There are special rules for Musicians, sportsmen etc. You need to register your gig and then you will be charged a withholding tax by the organiser of the gig. So it is entirely legal to perform without a permit etc and there are special rules that apply to you. To do it legally you need to have your work organised and paid by a Swiss company or one registered with the Swiss authorities. You can indeed create a company to organize such events but I don't suppose you are interested in that...
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