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Old 23.10.2012, 17:51
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Re: UK resident - setting up as a sole trader

Hi - I don't know if you are still on the hunt for information but… I was in a similar situation to you in Basel and I set up an Einzelfirma. The rule about having a couple of clients does exist, but for the first year I only had 2 clients, and that was ok. Einzelfirmas are cheap to set up, you just have to go to the commerce registry, set up there for 100CHF (Basel, at least), and then of course you must produce accounts at the end of the year, so I pay about 2k for all of that.

The AHV bill you a percentage thereafter. If you are really only going to have a twelve month contract with no possibility of renewing then a GMBH seems a more expensive method in comparison. Though of course you don't want to be breaking the rules. If you find you can amass other clients then the Einzelfirma is very quickly set up, (1 day) and they give you a letter with which you can immediately open a bank account.

The other possibility is you go to a umbrella firm for consultants, Thalent is one. I have a friend there who is happy with what they do. But she gives me to understand that they take roughly a third of her gross billing to cover tax, pension, employment insurance. Each case is different, and you might find what they take off you is smaller. It is definitely less hassle for her than for me when it comes to billing, tax returns etc. Firms like that can also help with permits, if you need that. Voilà!
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Old 23.10.2012, 21:46
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Re: UK resident - setting up as a sole trader

The ANOBAG route is a good one if you have no Swiss employer - i.e. you signed a contract with a non-Swiss (e.g. UK) firm to supply services to a Swiss company. I believe you could also claim part of your home as an office (phone bills, heating, desk, laptop, etc) as you do the admin for this non-Swiss firm. The advantage of this route of course is that you're not paying 5-10% (or more I've heard!) of your salary to a third-party Swiss payroll provider - but you have to do all the work (obviously).

Also, I would imagine as a "normal" empoyee you would be able to get unemployment benefit when the work dries up - which you can't as a sole trader and (as a friend of mine found out) it seems as a director of your own GMbh - even though he paid full AHV/ALV contributions to himself as his "employee".
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Old 23.10.2012, 22:07
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Re: UK resident - setting up as a sole trader

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Also, I would imagine as a "normal" empoyee you would be able to get unemployment benefit when the work dries up - which you can't as a sole trader and (as a friend of mine found out) it seems as a director of your own GMbh - even though he paid full AHV/ALV contributions to himself as his "employee".
A director can claim unemployment benefits but has to leave the GMbH first,
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