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Old 10.08.2018, 13:14
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Reporting income self-employed/freelance tutor

I know these kinds of questions have been asked before, but Iím still really lost and would appreciate help if possible.

Background: In the US, I have a dual English and French bachelors. I donít have teaching qualifications officially, but Iíve got years of experience working in private schools and private tutoring for my own business. Here, Iíd like to teach too. Iím married to a Swiss who makes our main income, but besides wanting to contribute toward our savings Iím also needing to keep busy and work in the area I loveóteaching. Finding employment in private schools here has proved very difficult and I want to see if I could get a successful tutoring business going instead of going back to uni just to get teaching qualifications here. (I would eventually like to get a masters but would prefer doing so to expand my linguistic knowledge, not necessarily just to get the official qualifications. I felt the same in the US; itís not an inherent problem I have with the Swiss system )

The problem: how do I report my income, deal with taxes, and insurance etc here in Switzerland? Especially since I have TWO countries interested in my tax returns, I want to be sure to do everything right. Iíve tried unsuccessfully to find someone who is self-employed in a similar way who could help me. So Iím reaching out to you all hoping someone can help.

Useful information: Iím located in canton Fribourg but would likely do much of my business in Vaud/with Vaudois.

Thank you for any help you can give!
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Old 10.08.2018, 13:26
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Re: Reporting income self-employed/freelance tutor

Will you be issuing invoices to your private students at all? Will you be working for a school?
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Old 10.08.2018, 13:31
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Re: Reporting income self-employed/freelance tutor

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Will you be issuing invoices to your private students at all? Will you be working for a school?
No, not working for a school. I would be independent.

And yes, i will be charging my students, and I want to do things ďabove the tableĒ so to speak, so I wonít be asking for cash and then neglecting to declare the income.
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Old 10.08.2018, 13:35
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Re: Reporting income self-employed/freelance tutor

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No, not working for a school. I would be independent.

And yes, i will be charging my students, and I want to do things ďabove the tableĒ so to speak, so I wonít be asking for cash and then neglecting to declare the income.
Yes I understand that you will be charging. I just wondered if you were going to issue invoices. Students rarely ask for these. I have personally (as a teacher) have never been asked for one and as such have never issued one. And all payments have always been in cash at the lesson. Cash is still quite popular here, especially for that sort of thing. I have always been paid in cash and then had to pay in the money myself to my account.
An alternative is to provide students with a paying-in slip.
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Old 10.08.2018, 15:01
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Re: Reporting income self-employed/freelance tutor

Could you explain what the difference would be as far as my administration is concerned?
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Old 10.08.2018, 15:27
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Re: Reporting income self-employed/freelance tutor

I had basically no admin. I simply accepted cash payments and banked these myself, so there was no paperwork involved.

If you issue invoices and/or students require/request these you will have more paperwork/admin - though I am not sure exactly what this would entail.
I have yet to come across someone who actually issues invoices for this sort of thing to be honest.
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Old 10.08.2018, 15:38
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Re: Reporting income self-employed/freelance tutor

Ok, thank you.

So I accept the cash payments, keeping a record of course for myself, bank those payments and report that to the government for the purpose of taxes? How do I do that part, do I need to have an account or something special set up at the bank, or are there forms where I can do it myself? Iím trying to find things out from the government websites but I am not having much luck.
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Old 10.08.2018, 15:51
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Re: Reporting income self-employed/freelance tutor

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report that to the government for the purpose of taxes? How do I do that part, do I need to have an account or something special set up at the bank, or are there forms where I can do it myself?
I don't think you necessarily need a separate account.

As for reporting for tax. I did this only when the tax form came through the following year. My first B-permit was for self-employment so this is why I received a tax form as they knew that was why I was here. I declared my total earnings for the three months (I arrived on 1st Oct) from Oct. to Dec. of the year in question and was taxed accordingly.

Note: years later I received a separate invoice for pension contributions based on those self-employment earnings. It was for a few hundred francs. But all goes towards your pension.

Also from the January of the following year I switched my permit from self-employment to 'employable', so actually I no longer needed to declare my self-employment earnings, despite continuing to teach privately.
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Old 10.08.2018, 16:00
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Re: Reporting income self-employed/freelance tutor

If i understand you correctly, you want to be self-employed. At this point of time forming a company may not be feasible. Here is practical advice, which is in line with regulations. And this advice concerns only freelance teaching.

1. Establish a few /not less than 3/ permanent clients. Teach them for 3 months, start generating income. Do your figures.

2. Apply to the ahv. You will find a registration form online. Here is where info from item 1 above will be useful. Before ahv register you they need to see an active viable business, that already generates cash. They will not register anyone just on the chance that a business with zero clients might take off.

3. Ahv will then, upon successful registration, start sending you quarterly invoices, they will also account for the previous income you got before the registration.

4. I prefer issuing invoices and keeping records of all my numbers. I just have a simple excel document with invoices and reconciliation sheets. To avoid too much work, i invoice once a month. Some people may invoice per 10 lessons.

5. That's it for the swiss registration and taxes part, except annual forms that you would have to fill out, so that ahv can adjust their taxes after year end. They tax based on figures provided by you, then adjust tax amount based on actual figures disclosed in your annual report.

I am sure with your French you may find someone at your ahv department who would provide any additional info. Don't be nervous. Good luck!
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Old 10.08.2018, 17:15
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Re: Reporting income self-employed/freelance tutor

In addition to the state pension contributions as VenusC mentioned, for taxes, you will add the new ncome to your family tax declaration the your husband does every year.
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Old 10.08.2018, 18:10
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Re: Reporting income self-employed/freelance tutor

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Also from the January of the following year I switched my permit from self-employment to 'employable', so actually I no longer needed to declare my self-employment earnings, despite continuing to teach privately.
Why not? Surely they are a part of your taxable income, in addition to what you earn as an employee?
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Old 10.08.2018, 21:06
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Re: Reporting income self-employed/freelance tutor

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Why not? Surely they are a part of your taxable income, in addition to what you earn as an employee?
I would have thought that tuition or lessons need not be taxed as it's usually a private arrangement between teacher and student paid in cash.
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Old 10.08.2018, 22:31
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Re: Reporting income self-employed/freelance tutor

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I would have thought that tuition or lessons need not be taxed as it's usually a private arrangement between teacher and student paid in cash.
Well you thought wrong.
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Old 11.08.2018, 09:01
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Re: Reporting income self-employed/freelance tutor

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I don't think you necessarily need a separate account.

As for reporting for tax. I did this only when the tax form came through the following year. My first B-permit was for self-employment so this is why I received a tax form as they knew that was why I was here. I declared my total earnings for the three months (I arrived on 1st Oct) from Oct. to Dec. of the year in question and was taxed accordingly.

Note: years later I received a separate invoice for pension contributions based on those self-employment earnings. It was for a few hundred francs. But all goes towards your pension.

Also from the January of the following year I switched my permit from self-employment to 'employable', so actually I no longer needed to declare my self-employment earnings, despite continuing to teach privately.
Thank you for your insights.

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If i understand you correctly, you want to be self-employed. At this point of time forming a company may not be feasible. Here is practical advice, which is in line with regulations. And this advice concerns only freelance teaching.

1. Establish a few /not less than 3/ permanent clients. Teach them for 3 months, start generating income. Do your figures.

2. Apply to the ahv. You will find a registration form online. Here is where info from item 1 above will be useful. Before ahv register you they need to see an active viable business, that already generates cash. They will not register anyone just on the chance that a business with zero clients might take off.

3. Ahv will then, upon successful registration, start sending you quarterly invoices, they will also account for the previous income you got before the registration.

4. I prefer issuing invoices and keeping records of all my numbers. I just have a simple excel document with invoices and reconciliation sheets. To avoid too much work, i invoice once a month. Some people may invoice per 10 lessons.

5. That's it for the swiss registration and taxes part, except annual forms that you would have to fill out, so that ahv can adjust their taxes after year end. They tax based on figures provided by you, then adjust tax amount based on actual figures disclosed in your annual report.

I am sure with your French you may find someone at your ahv department who would provide any additional info. Don't be nervous. Good luck!
Thank you so much for your detailed response! This was s very helpful. Administration makes me nervous but Iíve always had a bent for having my own business and Iím hopeful that if I manage this right, I can have a successful tutoring business, say between twenty and thirty hours a week, in a few years time. ďBack homeĒ I had about fifteen hours a week, and that was with very little effort put towards advertising (read: none) alongside my university studies. Weíll see; for now, Iím glad to know how to get started!

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In addition to the state pension contributions as VenusC mentioned, for taxes, you will add the new ncome to your family tax declaration the your husband does every year.
Thank you. I know this is a bit of a separate topic, but when it comes time to do the American abroad thing, I will then of course just file my own income, since my husband has no taxable connection to the US. Which means I file as head of household or something like that? I guess Iíll cross that bridge when I come to it.
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