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Old 27.06.2015, 09:53
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employment by a foreign (UK) company while resident in Switzerland

Can a company incorporated abroad (in the UK for example) and without an office or legal entity in Switzerland employ somebody who is resident in Switzerland, working at home some weeks and commuting to London some weeks?

How complicated is it for such a company to register with the local authorities, for example, to remit social insurance deductions and BVG to the right places?

Can anybody recommend any local payroll agencies that can administer such an arrangement?

I've seen arrangements where the employee is hired by an agency, but that is not what I'm asking about. What I'm looking at is a situation where the employee's contract is permanent and it is a contract with the real employer.

One other aspect of this situation: if the majority of employees are in the UK but 1 or 2 are in Switzerland working from home and there is no proper office here, is there any real risk that the company would be deemed to have a permanent establishment in Switzerland? I've heard that in such cases (if the company has a little office here or something) the Swiss want to tax a percentage of the company's profits.
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Old 27.06.2015, 11:40
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Re: employment by a foreign (UK) company while resident in Switzerland

Ask the Ausgleichkasse how this should work.

Maybe you can register as self-employed. The British company pays you your gross salary and then you pay tax and AHV deductions here yourself.
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Old 27.06.2015, 13:17
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Re: employment by a foreign (UK) company while resident in Switzerland

Don't think of them as your employer, rather your client. You are a service provider, not an employee, then...

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...The British company pays you your gross salary and then you pay tax and AHV deductions here yourself.
This. Quick easy simple.

I work a UK company via my GmbH, so that's another route. Cost more but does limit liability.

(Although if you want self-employment and yet still have limited liability, work self-employed to a UK limited liability partnership, that provides services to the end client.)
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Old 27.06.2015, 13:20
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Re: employment by a foreign (UK) company while resident in Switzerland

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Don't think of them as your employer, rather your client. You are a service provider, not an employee, then...
However it seems that if you only have one client, the Swiss authorities do not consider you self-employed but instead an employee of the company that is your "client." It sounds like your GmbH gets around that hurdle?
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Old 27.06.2015, 16:24
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Re: employment by a foreign (UK) company while resident in Switzerland

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Ask the Ausgleichkasse how this should work.

Maybe you can register as self-employed. The British company pays you your gross salary and then you pay tax and AHV deductions here yourself.
That sounds interesting but if working that way, isn't it more difficult to apply for a credit card or mortgage or car loan or to get a C permit?
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Old 28.06.2015, 14:30
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Re: employment by a foreign (UK) company while resident in Switzerland

I am in a similar position in that I work from home for a US company with no physical or financial presence in Switzerland. I work as a contract employee which frees my company from any Swiss obligations. However, this has had tax ramifications both locally in Switzerland and in the US. I understand that the tax situation in the US is quite different from the UK, but I would advise you to investigate any changes in your tax obligations with your employer or tax adviser sooner rather than later. Wishing you the best of luck!
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Old 28.06.2015, 20:13
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Re: employment by a foreign (UK) company while resident in Switzerland

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I am in a similar position in that I work from home for a US company with no physical or financial presence in Switzerland. I work as a contract employee which frees my company from any Swiss obligations. However, this has had tax ramifications both locally in Switzerland and in the US. I understand that the tax situation in the US is quite different from the UK, but I would advise you to investigate any changes in your tax obligations with your employer or tax adviser sooner rather than later. Wishing you the best of luck!
Just to clarify: I am not a US or UK citizen and I have not previously been employed by the company in the UK. These two facts make it a lot smoother.

As far as I know, US citizens are paying US taxes no matter who they work for in Switzerland, whether it is a Swiss company or a US company, because of the special tax rules that are unique to the US and Eritrea. So comparison with the situation of a US citizen probably doesn't help me a lot.
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Old 28.06.2015, 21:03
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Re: employment by a foreign (UK) company while resident in Switzerland

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However it seems that if you only have one client, the Swiss authorities do not consider you self-employed but instead an employee of the company that is your "client."...
If your client isn't in Switzerland, then they really don't mind. What they're interested in is getting the maximum tax. Being self-employed for one client within switzerland would yield less tax than being employed - that's why they make it difficult.
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Old 28.06.2015, 21:42
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Re: employment by a foreign (UK) company while resident in Switzerland

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Don't think of them as your employer, rather your client. You are a service provider, not an employee, then...

This. Quick easy simple.
Seconded, works, might depend on the Kanton and how happy they are to receive your taxes. That, and on kantonal taxes, and so on, and so forth..

I get the general impression that financially it might be a better idea to go the gmbh route. (Me, I don't like money. The less it occupies the mind, the better.)
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Old 29.06.2015, 09:56
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Re: employment by a foreign (UK) company while resident in Switzerland

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If your client isn't in Switzerland, then they really don't mind. What they're interested in is getting the maximum tax. Being self-employed for one client within switzerland would yield less tax than being employed - that's why they make it difficult.
I have no concern about paying the correct amount of tax under this arrangement.

I'm simply trying to understand if the foreign entity can register with the authorities here to act as an employer and make payroll deductions and remit those amounts of money to the BVG, SUVA, etc or does the foreign company have to establish a branch or subsidiary here first?
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Old 02.11.2016, 14:36
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Re: employment by a foreign (UK) company while resident in Switzerland

Hi there

How did you do in the end?

Did you went through the Gbmh route?

thanks!
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Old 24.05.2018, 13:30
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Re: employment by a foreign (UK) company while resident in Switzerland

Just to open up this thread again.


Without going GMBH or Self-employed, is it possible for me (from the UK with a C permit married to a Swiss) to live in Switzerland and work as an employee for a Norwegian company?


Tax wise I'm sure it would work, but what about pensionkasse, ahv/rav etc?


I will check with the local Gemiende and tax office, but I don't think they will have all the answers.


Anybody done this kind of thing?
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Old 24.05.2018, 13:42
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Re: employment by a foreign (UK) company while resident in Switzerland

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Just to open up this thread again.


Without going GMBH or Self-employed, is it possible for me (from the UK with a C permit married to a Swiss) to live in Switzerland and work as an employee for a Norwegian company?


Tax wise I'm sure it would work, but what about pensionkasse, ahv/rav etc?

AFAIK either the company has a presence here and would pay directly, or you go the ANOBAG route. Sorry, canīt remember when this was answered specifically.
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Old 24.05.2018, 14:10
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Re: employment by a foreign (UK) company while resident in Switzerland

You'd need to register as ANOBAG (cannot be self-employed with only one client). It's usually the same department in the cantonal AHV/AVS office that deals with independents (the registration should be possible through the gemeinde).
Your employment contract should be the 'Swiss' type (notice period, vacation, etc) and with a EU/EFTA-based employer there is also a form to confirm that you will fulfill all employer's duties towards social insurance (for which the employer should pay you their share).
AHV will then send you quarterly invoices (both your and employer's part) based on the salary specified in the employment contract and will then finalise the bill once you file supply the confirmation of salary received at the end of the year. (or in some cantons after you file your taxes and tax authority lets communicates the revenue taxed)

You'll need to arrange your own accident insurance as ANOBAG (I can recommend Mutuel as they were way cheaper than others and the benefits are always the same) and possibly also a Pillar2 insurer (definitely required for EU, not sure about Norway).
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