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Old 02.04.2006, 06:06
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branching out professionally

Hello knowledgeable friends who run their own businesses!

I'm currently an independent English teacher. I give lessons in company, then bill the company for the hours. Bookkeeping is a small part of my activity as I must declare earnings and expenses like any taxpayer.

I currently deduct some (not all) English materials if I use them for classes - books, magazines, music CDs, train tickets to cities where the bookshop is where I'm buying the said books for English classes, etc...

I wish I could say I was a "cheater," but I'm too much of a scaredy cat to try to get away with noting all my DVDs and CDs and mags as "English materials." So unless I'm seriously using the main article for a class discussion, "Cat Fancy" would not make it to my expenses list.

I've just recently officially embarked on my next professional activity - writing. That is not to say that I've already been published or sold any writing yet.

My writing buddy lives in Zurich (and this weekend has been damned expensive!). Can I start to include these travel expenses to Zurich when I'm meeting and actively working with my writing buddy? Include many of life's expenses as research? Films, workshops, lunches with friends where there's interesting conversation, etc...? Basically, if there's a genuine link to my writing, can I write it off? Or am I totally hallucinating?

According to the "Service de la population et des migrants," my independent lucrative activity is "language teacher." They used to write it on my B permit every year next to "has Swiss spouse." This year I got my C permit and it doesn't mention either on it!

Project for the coming week: Talk to those guys and ask if I can put "writer" in my file next to "language teacher." In the meantime...

Talk to me, guys! (That means girls, too, in Californian!) Thanks!
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Old 30.08.2006, 18:15
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Re: branching out professionally

...don't know if the topic from February is still current, but a lot of it is all about the form of business you have. There are accounting rules for the various types: Sole Propietership, limited partnership, corporation, etc.

At the end of the day, however, it's a function of what your friendly tax guy or gal at the local village level is going to let you deduct. I've seen spectacularly outrageous items deductible and people often get tacit agreement in advance for some amount of "non-receipted expenses" (see: Representationsspesen, in German).

Are you completely self-employed with no corporate structure? Then it's all a function of what you can get by your local tax folks.
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Old 30.08.2006, 18:45
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Re: branching out professionally

Hi Carrie! Hope all is going well with the writing.... How're you getting on with the tax issues?! I don't know if this is any help or not, but I know there are deductable expenses for a freelance writer (being one myself) but usually they include stuff like paper, fax, photocopy stuff, printer stuff etc if you work from home (like I do) or expenses directly related to a specific job ie. travelling to Zurich to interview a particular person for an article.....

Best advice is to get yourself a nice, friendly tax advisor (or talk to someone in the know) and see what the Swiss system allows. Some countries have more flexible decdction systems than others....

Best of luck!
Megan
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Old 30.08.2006, 18:46
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Re: branching out professionally

Hey David! American? The topic was actually from April. Be careful of dates now that you're in Switzerland.

To get back to this subject, I learned that I must first earn money from writing before I can deduct any "expenses." Until the day it becomes a lucrative activity, it will simply be considered my hobby. The guy suggested that I save all receipts until the big day hits.
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Old 30.08.2006, 18:49
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Re: branching out professionally

Yes, I am American. And, I've been here 20+ years and am up on the date/time formats. But: I quoted the date off your "joined date" (duh...) instead of the post date. Still not that familiar with this forum layout.
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Old 01.09.2006, 10:43
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Re: branching out professionally

If you can make around CHF8000 per year then you can be self-employed. You just need to fill a form and you are good to go. I think you have to just make AHV contribution that comes to around CHF400 per year (assuming u made exactly CHF8000 in the year).
If you make less than 8k then you can continue to be self-employed but you need to pay higner administration fee to the Swiss masters. I think around CHF 300 more. My numbers might be out but you get the rough picture. Contact AHV and they will send you a simple booklet with a form to declare your status as self-employed.
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Old 01.09.2006, 10:50
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Re: branching out professionally

Just deduct everything you think is allowed to be deducted. Don't worry too much if it's allowed or not. Do you think they really check through every single tax declaration form they receive? I doubt it.

If they do check and find out you won't get fined...it's their job to check it. Just claim you didn't know. Everyone I ever spoke to about this does it that way and they're not sitting behind bars
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