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Old 13.08.2010, 19:52
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Freelance illustrator with *only* non-Swiss clients

General situation - We're all Eu. I've been here since 1st June, and have a permanent job with the resulting B permit. My partner, and our two children join me this month. I signed a rental agreement for a place in Duebendorf last week.

I have two questions:
1. Should my partner ensure she provides specific documents for her visa (considering her freelance status).

2. To continue working - exclusively with non-Swiss clients - does she need to register at all (AVS, company, single trader, VAT).

I've read other threads (especially the Italian translator one, and some of Richard's ten page thread), but really am not sure about this.

This is the deal: we're coming from France, and (French) Gf has been a freelance illustrator for over 20 years. Clients are 99% French - no Swiss clients as of yet. We've come to Switzerland for my job.

In France she has 'freelance' status ('Agessa'), but simplified tax returns and no dealing with VAT. Her initial intention is to carry on working with French clients.

So paid in Euros, tax deducted in France apparently, and of course declaring her income in Switzerland (she will not be double taxed due to bilateral tax agreements).

With that in mind, back to my two questions above. Is everything going to be easy when when we go to anmelden in two weeks (we're in Zurich canton)?

And bonus question - what if anything changes if she gets a Swiss client?

Sorry for such a long post, but I'm not sure how this situation differs to a translator or other profession with earnings *only* coming from abroad...
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Old 13.08.2010, 20:18
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Re: Freelance illustrator with *only* non-Swiss clients

I can only answer a bit of it.... in Switzerland we are taxed at source (via our employers) or we complete a declaration in February for the previous tax year's activities (Jan to Dec). When I arrived here I was not taxed at source as my employer was in another canton, Zurich. He had to provide a bond of CHF 20,000 to Fribourg against the possibility that I would do a runner and not complete the tax declaration. So be prepared to leave a sizeable bond with the Swiss tax man before she gets a permit issued.

I would suggest girl friend brings her audited French accounts for the past 5 years with her, nothing is free in Switzerland and they will be very interested in her potential earnings. She would pay full tax here as she lives here, maybe none in France unless she has a company there.

As for the AVS, it is very generous compared to others in Europe, and anyway as you live here you would have to pay the contributions here.

You really should go to an accountant here, there could be some pitfalls to avoid.

I have been told that in France in order to claim a pension you must produce all your employment records and monthly pay slips. So don't throw anything away!
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Old 13.08.2010, 21:11
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Re: Freelance illustrator with *only* non-Swiss clients

Can't give you full detailed advice but I'm a freelance graphic designer. I moved here with UK clients still in tow and I gained some Swiss clients. I registered as an einzelfirma and registered with AHV. I submit my accounts with GBP and CHF earnings and pay all tax here. My accountant did all the paperwork for me and everything else, so I suggest you find an accountant to help you both out. Oh and as is in Switzerland my accounts and tax returns are lumped in with my husbands
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Old 13.08.2010, 22:10
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Re: Freelance illustrator with *only* non-Swiss clients

Lives in Switzerland, works from Switzerland, shouléd pay taxes in Switzerland, which are probably far less then French taxes. If she is self employed and issued with a independant certificate from AVS people then she can of course deduct ALL her business expenses, trips to France, entertaining clients in Switzerland and abroad, travel costs to meet clients....etc etc
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Old 13.08.2010, 22:19
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Re: Freelance illustrator with *only* non-Swiss clients

Why should she pay taxes in France? Isn't it better is she starts her own company here in Switzerland and bills her customers from her Swiss company?
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Old 14.08.2010, 10:32
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Re: Freelance illustrator with *only* non-Swiss clients

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2. To continue working - exclusively with non-Swiss clients - does she need to register at all (AVS, company, single trader, VAT).
Yes.

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So paid in Euros, tax deducted in France apparently, and of course declaring her income in Switzerland (she will not be double taxed due to bilateral tax agreements).
Living in Switzerland - liable to tax in Switzerland. She will pay full Swiss tax and any bilateral agreement will reduce her liability in France.

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With that in mind, back to my two questions above. Is everything going to be easy when when we go to anmelden in two weeks (we're in Zurich canton)?
Easy enough but would be so much easier if you were married .

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And bonus question - what if anything changes if she gets a Swiss client?
Absolutley nothing.
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Old 17.08.2010, 23:37
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Re: Freelance illustrator with *only* non-Swiss clients

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Why should she pay taxes in France? Isn't it better is she starts her own company here in Switzerland and bills her customers from her Swiss company?
The French tax man said that taxes would be paid here, but taken off at source. Can't remember the exact details, will have to find the e-mail again.

My girlfriend likes things as hassle free as possible, so if she can continue working without starting a company, she will.
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Old 17.08.2010, 23:41
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Re: Freelance illustrator with *only* non-Swiss clients

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The French tax man said that taxes would be paid here, but taken off at source. Can't remember the exact details, will have to find the e-mail again.

My girlfriend likes things as hassle free as possible, so if she can continue working without starting a company, she will.
If you find an accountant they will sort it all. It took me all of oh ten mins popping to their office answering a few questions and signing the doc. They filled it out. A week or so later I got my AHV card/number and never had to do anything else but submit my accounts each year which she will have to do regardless of where she is registered to pay tax
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Old 17.08.2010, 23:43
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Re: Freelance illustrator with *only* non-Swiss clients

So to summarise, and check that I've understood

1. Should be no problem with the permit. She'll be bringing along the last couple of years' tax returns and a couple of contracts.

Regardless of where her clients are:
2. She has to register with and pay AVS (I'll look this up via Search).

3. She does not have to register as a sole trader (Einzelfirma).

4. She will file a tax return in February like everyone else (except for 'us' who are taxed at source). She should not be double taxed due to bilateral tax agreements between France and Switzerland.

If things are that simple, I doubt she'll want to see a tax adviser right now (if ever knowing her).
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Old 17.08.2010, 23:45
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Re: Freelance illustrator with *only* non-Swiss clients

Forgot to say thanks for the replies (and could not see how to edit my post).
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Old 17.08.2010, 23:52
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Re: Freelance illustrator with *only* non-Swiss clients

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So to summarise, and check that I've understood

1. Should be no problem with the permit. She'll be bringing along the last couple of years' tax returns and a couple of contracts.

Regardless of where her clients are:
2. She has to register with and pay AVS (I'll look this up via Search).

3. She does not have to register as a sole trader (Einzelfirma).

4. She will file a tax return in February like everyone else (except for 'us' who are taxed at source). She should not be double taxed due to bilateral tax agreements between France and Switzerland.

If things are that simple, I doubt she'll want to see a tax adviser right now (if ever knowing her).
I registered as an einzelfirma (I think) again accountant sorted this. I used the same accountant as my husband already had to help him do his tax returns. Costs about 250chf a year so not a great loss to your wallet.

I can only advise what I have done working in a similar industry.

My husband is taxed at source but still has to fill out a tax return. Might be due to earning over a certain amount (again unsure)

I am not double taxed on my income from the UK
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Old 16.01.2011, 18:42
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Re: Freelance illustrator with *only* non-Swiss clients

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I registered as an einzelfirma (I think) again accountant sorted this. I used the same accountant as my husband already had to help him do his tax returns. Costs about 250chf a year so not a great loss to your wallet.

I can only advise what I have done working in a similar industry.

My husband is taxed at source but still has to fill out a tax return. Might be due to earning over a certain amount (again unsure)

I am not double taxed on my income from the UK
Nicky:

Could you please give a quick summary of what your deductions look like? I'm now thinking of either using a payroll company or going down the self-employed route. The payroll company charges 6%, and the total deductions for me would be around 35%. I was wondering how it looks like when being self-employed.

You mentioned that you're paying 250 CHF a year for the accountant. That seems very low - I've seen other posts saying that people pay around 2500 CHF.

Cheers
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