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  #121  
Old 12.12.2007, 13:46
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Re: Can I invoice clients without a registered business?

What is the starting point for someone moving to Zurich and wanting to work as a freelance? There seems to be a lot to take in - registering, VAT numbers, tax, AHV... I'm not really where to start when I move there in Jan though.

Em
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  #122  
Old 12.12.2007, 14:31
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Re: Can I invoice clients without a registered business?

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What is the starting point for someone moving to Zurich and wanting to work as a freelance? There seems to be a lot to take in - registering, VAT numbers, tax, AHV... I'm not really where to start when I move there in Jan though.

Em
You could do worse than reading this thread from the start and follow the links mentioned
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  #123  
Old 12.12.2007, 15:15
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Re: Can I invoice clients without a registered business?

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You could do worse than reading this thread from the start and follow the links mentioned
I did move that post into this thread I thought since it was a hugely technical search for the word "freelance" that Acorn rightly struggled
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  #124  
Old 12.12.2007, 16:37
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Re: Can I invoice clients without a registered business?

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I did move that post into this thread I thought since it was a hugely technical search for the word "freelance" that Acorn rightly struggled
Ah!

OK to answer the question, which seems to have got lost in the post as it were:

Can I invoice clients without a registered business?

Yes, I've been doing it for the last 15 years. Just invoice in your name...
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  #125  
Old 12.12.2007, 17:51
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Re: Can I invoice clients without a registered business?

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Ah!

OK to answer the question, which seems to have got lost in the post as it were:

Can I invoice clients without a registered business?

Yes, I've been doing it for the last 15 years. Just invoice in your name...
Or indeed in your not registered business name. There is no obligation in Switzerland to register a business...
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  #126  
Old 21.01.2008, 10:59
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Re: How to freelance in Switzerland?

Hello all of vast knowledge and time, I spent most of saturday reading all this stuff and other posts about gmbh/freelance/ag and so on, and i have questions. I am currently employed which gives me a AHV and a B permit.

This will end at the end of the month when I become a contractor in my chosen field, I will remain in Basel and my first post will also be in Basel, I have been told that my salary will be PAYE, which is fine for ease of use,to begin with. But sometimes I will not work,and other times I will work out of the country(but remain living in Basel) and sometimes I will pay for myself to go to school for a few weeks.

Anyway to the point:

Would it be better to just go down the freelance route and deal with the taxes that way, or become a business? I do not buy or sell, you could consider me a IT contractor just farming out my body for others to abuse until ive had enough.

Last edited by swissbob; 21.01.2008 at 23:30.
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  #127  
Old 25.01.2008, 10:54
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Re: How to freelance in Switzerland?

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Hello all of vast knowledge and time, I spent most of saturday reading all this stuff and other posts about gmbh/freelance/ag and so on, and i have questions. I am currently employed which gives me a AHV and a B permit.

This will end at the end of the month when I become a contractor in my chosen field, I will remain in Basel and my first post will also be in Basel, I have been told that my salary will be PAYE, which is fine for ease of use,to begin with. But sometimes I will not work,and other times I will work out of the country(but remain living in Basel) and sometimes I will pay for myself to go to school for a few weeks.

Anyway to the point:

Would it be better to just go down the freelance route and deal with the taxes that way, or become a business? I do not buy or sell, you could consider me a IT contractor just farming out my body for others to abuse until ive had enough.
Well lets start by making a "strange" statement. When you "become a contractor", as far as the Swiss authorities are concerned, you have simply changed companies. You are not freelancing at all. In order to freelance you would need to send your own bills to whomever and they would pay them - note here no mention of a formal company.

Technically this is possible however I am guessing you are going through an agent and they will have great difficulty dealing with this as they restrict themselves to either GmbH or direct employee. You might ask why and you might have read why elsewhere but put simply it is to do with social benefit payments.

Moving on...

So looking at your situation, if the contract is short term stay with the agent and long term say 12 months+ then you would be fine spending plenty of that time working for an agent, but with a view to form some other structure and bill the agent later on. As far as tax is concerned it is not optimal but hey so what it is okay and less hassle.

But if you are intending to physically stay for a long time ie over 12 months, then you should start to think about how best to deal with your situation and that will almost certainly mean forming a company or alternatively joining a company that is already formed.

The point with agents and the way they work is that they are happy when you are giving them a 15-25% cut of every cent you earn. Very happy. They are not so happy when you try and use their services to your advantage and therefore tell you to get lost.

Where your direct agent approach fails is the ability to save money for training. When you are a company this is easy and has multiple advantages...

It is getting near to time for me to write another post on advantages of companies against agents. Ummh wonder how well that will go down...
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  #128  
Old 21.07.2008, 02:52
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selbständig - doing training abroad

I could get a contract to do some days of training outside Switzerland.
Is it enough to bill the company and then tell the tax guys of my courses? Will it be enough to fill a normal tax declaration, in a few words no Enzelfirma?

Thanks!
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  #129  
Old 15.09.2008, 18:56
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Re: How to freelance in Switzerland?

Hi Richard and all you other very helpful people

I've read through all the posts in this thread but I'm afraid I still need some help...

I'm an educated translator who recently moved to Zürich, Switzerland. I have a B permit and the AHV is already taken care of.

I wish to work as a translator on a freelance basis for companies inside as well as outside Switzerland. The problem is, all the different Amts I have been to haven't given me a straight answer on what it is I need to do before I start taking translating jobs here.

1. Do I have to start my own company in order to be able to take small translating jobs from companies inside or outside Switzerland?

2. I've heard the term "freiberufler". Does this apply to me? Could I be a "freiberufler" and in that case, what do I have to do in order to become one?

3. The work I want to do is very simple; I get texts via email from translating companies in for instance Sweden in one language and I translate them into another language. For this they pay me some money. Could someone please explain to me just what I have to do before I start things up?

I would be immensely grateful for you help. All the different Amts have not been any help at all so far. They all say different things.

Please please help a poor girl out.

Best regards and thanks for an informative thread.
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  #130  
Old 15.09.2008, 19:00
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Re: How to freelance in Switzerland?

Yes, you need to register as self employed at the AHV authorities. Call SVA Zürich, they are very good and should be able to explain exactly what you need to do to get this registration.

You may want to check out this page also:

www.gruenden.ch

Should cover most questions you may have.


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Hi Richard and all you other very helpful people

I've read through all the posts in this thread but I'm afraid I still need some help...

I'm an educated translator who recently moved to Zürich, Switzerland. I have a B permit and the AHV is already taken care of.

I wish to work as a translator on a freelance basis for companies inside as well as outside Switzerland. The problem is, all the different Amts I have been to haven't given me a straight answer on what it is I need to do before I start taking translating jobs here.

1. Do I have to start my own company in order to be able to take small translating jobs from companies inside or outside Switzerland?

2. I've heard the term "freiberufler". Does this apply to me? Could I be a "freiberufler" and in that case, what do I have to do in order to become one?

3. The work I want to do is very simple; I get texts via email from translating companies in for instance Sweden in one language and I translate them into another language. For this they pay me some money. Could someone please explain to me just what I have to do before I start things up?

I would be immensely grateful for you help. All the different Amts have not been any help at all so far. They all say different things.

Please please help a poor girl out.

Best regards and thanks for an informative thread.
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  #131  
Old 23.09.2008, 12:35
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Re: How to freelance in Switzerland?

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Hi Richard and all you other very helpful people

I've read through all the posts in this thread but I'm afraid I still need some help...

I'm an educated translator who recently moved to Zürich, Switzerland. I have a B permit and the AHV is already taken care of.

I wish to work as a translator on a freelance basis for companies inside as well as outside Switzerland. The problem is, all the different Amts I have been to haven't given me a straight answer on what it is I need to do before I start taking translating jobs here.

1. Do I have to start my own company in order to be able to take small translating jobs from companies inside or outside Switzerland?

2. I've heard the term "freiberufler". Does this apply to me? Could I be a "freiberufler" and in that case, what do I have to do in order to become one?

3. The work I want to do is very simple; I get texts via email from translating companies in for instance Sweden in one language and I translate them into another language. For this they pay me some money. Could someone please explain to me just what I have to do before I start things up?

I would be immensely grateful for you help. All the different Amts have not been any help at all so far. They all say different things.

Please please help a poor girl out.

Best regards and thanks for an informative thread.

I think this thread could usefully still be answered.

I'm in the the same situation or very similar and even after reading all the threads it's still not quite clear what is actually happening when we are freelancing. I want to do some small irregular consultancies over the next few months as I haven't found a permanent job yet. I'm on a family B permit as my spouse is employed here, which the OCP tells me is fine so long as I work less than 90 days per year as an independent (after which I need to get a different permit).

When I register with AHV/AVS, am I registering as a company or simply a person who bills clients for work?

An additional problem is this. The client I have is insisting I prove I'm registered with AVS. AVS is insisting on bills and proof of work before they'll register me. This is a problem!

Could we set up a very simple set of instructions somewhere for the most basic set of procedures for straightforward individual freelancing?
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  #132  
Old 23.09.2008, 12:40
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Re: How to freelance in Switzerland?

Did you read all the info on the link I gave?


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I think this thread could usefully still be answered.

I'm in the the same situation or very similar and even after reading all the threads it's still not quite clear what is actually happening when we are freelancing. I want to do some small irregular consultancies over the next few months as I haven't found a permanent job yet. I'm on a family B permit as my spouse is employed here, which the OCP tells me is fine so long as I work less than 90 days per year as an independent (after which I need to get a different permit).

When I register with AHV/AVS, am I registering as a company or simply a person who bills clients for work?

An additional problem is this. The client I have is insisting I prove I'm registered with AVS. AVS is insisting on bills and proof of work before they'll register me. This is a problem!

Could we set up a very simple set of instructions somewhere for the most basic set of procedures for straightforward individual freelancing?
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  #133  
Old 23.09.2008, 12:47
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Re: How to freelance in Switzerland?

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When I register with AHV/AVS, am I registering as a company or simply a person who bills clients for work?
You will be registering yourself because you will need to make your social security payments based on you freelance income. This may have to be estimated in the first year. This assumes (and this is the most straightforward way of doing this) that you will be trading as K Savage Translation Services...
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  #134  
Old 23.09.2008, 13:00
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Re: How to freelance in Switzerland?

Yes, but there are some immediate stumbling blocks for the beginner.

It's for Zurich, so I don't know how much it applies outside Zurich. Assuming most of it does, the next issue is that for the beginner, even these great instructions assume some level of knowledge I don't have, though perhaps if I continue digging it will be clearer.

Is a freelancer, who simply wants to do independent work, also going to be a 'sole trader'? All the instructions I've found begin at 'sole trader'. Get a business plan, register as sole trader, etc.

But this is already way more complicated than I'd hoped. I simply want to do some straightforward ad-hoc consultancies. No business plan. No desire to register myself as an entity of any sort.

This is what Iv4e and myself don't understand even with the detailed instructions. As he/she put it 'do we need to 'start my own company'. This is what we start thinking when the starting point is 'sole trader'. We don't really understand what that means. I don't imagine Iv4e has a business plan either.

I think there are some very very basic concepts and terms that we could usefully have explained to us by some of the experienced people in the forum, to get us on the right footing.

Cheers
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  #135  
Old 23.09.2008, 13:12
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Re: How to freelance in Switzerland?

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You will be registering yourself because you will need to make your social security payments based on you freelance income. This may have to be estimated in the first year. This assumes (and this is the most straightforward way of doing this) that you will be trading as K Savage Translation Services...
Thanks AbFab.

It's still a bit confusing for me. I think what is needed is a flowchart showing who, when, and why we have to register with.

I think I have permission to do up to 90 days work on my B permit, and therefore do not need, yet, to change permits, or set up a business as a 'sole trader'.

That only leave the social insurance payments, AVS, for which I'm having trouble because they not only want permission from my landlord/regie because I'll use my home address for the work but they also don't want to register me until I've had three contracts for work so I can prove I'm doing it. But my first client doesn't want to give me a contract until they see I'm registered with AVS!
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  #136  
Old 23.09.2008, 13:13
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Re: How to freelance in Switzerland?

In Switzerland you are either employed or independent. Independent is what is called Einzelfirma or Sole trader. There is no requirement for independents to register their "company" with the trade register. They do however need to register themselves as independent with the AHV offices. As the AHV offices want to be sure that you and your client aren't simply trying to avoid taxes, they require some proof of your independent status.

So if you want to act as independent, there is no way around you getting this approval from your local AHV office. They are usually very friendly and helpfull however so if you call them and explain your mandate base, they should be able to grant you this status. There are no absolute rules on what defines an independent in Switzerland, it is at the discression of each AHV office to decide. Thus, it is crucial that you open up the communication channel with them. Maybe set up a meeting with them etc.

The reason your client is so strict on this proof is because they are obliged to check that you have the status you claim you have. If they engage you and later it turns out you don't, they have to pay your AHV and a fine.
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  #137  
Old 23.09.2008, 13:25
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Re: How to freelance in Switzerland?

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Thanks AbFab.

It's still a bit confusing for me. I think what is needed is a flowchart showing who, when, and why we have to register with.
Flowchart!?!

For me it went like this. I was teaching English freelance without doing anything but issuing invoices in my name. All was fine until the company I taught at said I needed to be registered as self-employed and pay my own AHV (social security), otherwise they could be liable for the payments.

I went to my local tax office in the town where I lived. They said could I bring in a couple of invoices or quotations for work done or pending. This I did and they said that I could be self-employed. The tax office then contacted the social security office (AHV / SVA in Canton Zurich), who sent me a bill for previous years based on what was shown on my tax returns.

I have never received anything but quarterly bills and circular letters from the social security office. I have never been there in person.

My suggestion is just start doing the business and as soon as you have issued an invoice or two pop down to your tax office and show then these and they will start the very small ball rolling...
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  #138  
Old 23.09.2008, 13:40
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Re: How to freelance in Switzerland?

Thanks, that's a very re-assuring story and also helpful to hear from Tilia.

This is really exactly all that I want to do, and I think Iv4e too, albeit with different actual work.

Now the only challenge for me is to make AVS and my first client agree with each other somehow. Next step I think is to go back to AVS where there is a nice lady that began helping me yesterday. Perhaps she can contact my client or perhaps AVS will accept a conditional offer from them.

Thanks for the advice and relating your own experience.

Cheers.
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  #139  
Old 14.10.2008, 15:55
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Re: How to freelance in CH?

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Hi,

I just wrote a FAQ for contractors which you can read here:

http://www.rebgasse.com/reblog/?page_id=59

Cheers,
Nick
Thanks Nick, very helpful FAQ!
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  #140  
Old 16.01.2009, 23:21
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Re: How to freelance in Switzerland?

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Danny/Cas,

My experience has been all with Kanton Zug and must say it's been quite fruitful and rewarding. It took me about few weeks to go thru the whole thing and end up with B permit for 5 years. Mind you, am a dual citizen and inter alia have a citizenship from one of the new EU members that joined the EU in 2004. The steps involved:

1. Write a business plan with earnings forecasts, activities, potential clientele, plans for development, long-term vision. Took 9 pages all in all with the title page and table of contents.
2. Prepare the application form and other docs to be later submitted to the Auslaenderamt, found on http://www.zug.ch/kwa/32_0d_1b.htm
3. Get an address in kanton, aka rental agreement (it was a vicious circle whereby the rental agency is asking for a permit to rent out a place and you need a place to get an Einzelfirma and a permit). I did a small trick there.
4. Open Einzelfirma on the above-mentioned address. www.hrazg.ch
5. Submit the full application to the Auslaenderamt to get a permit.

Since i went as an EU-8 application i got the B for 5 years.
I am an EU (German) citizen in Switzerland on a student B permit (I have to renew the permit every year, prove I'm still a student, etc.) Also, I'm in Zurich - I see your info above is on Zug.

If I quit school and want to stay in Switzerland and freelance/be an Einzelfirma I'm hoping I can do the above (produce business plan, tell Gemeinde, register with AHV) and turn my student B permit into a 5-year B permit. Anyone see any gotchas with this? Might my current student status somehow preclude this?

Thanks everyone for a VERY helpful thread! (Where's the stupid thankyou button?!?)
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