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Old 27.06.2015, 10:53
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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, 12:40
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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, 14:17
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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, 14:20
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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 28.06.2015, 22:42
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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 27.06.2015, 17:24
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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, 15:30
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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, 21:13
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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, 22:03
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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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