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Old 06.10.2020, 07:49
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Freelancing with just one client?

OK, I've read a lot of confusing threads about this topic with no clear answer. This is my situation:

- I have a part-time job at a Swiss company (80%)
- A startup has asked me to freelance for them
- I will probably earn 1.5K - 2.5K per month from the freelancing job (this could dry up at any time, so is the nature of freelancing)
- I do not intend to freelance for any other client (don't want to nor have I the capacity to do so)

Question: do I have to register as "Selbstandig" with the AHV Office? Their website says I would need to have "multiple clients" to qualify. From my 80% job I already pay AHV and all other social taxes.

What do I do if they reject my application because of having only one client? Can I just work for them, send invoices, and forget about any other paperwork?
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Old 06.10.2020, 08:38
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Re: Freelancing with just one client?

Try starting at your local tax office - providing them with your invoices and / or quotations for the freelance work.

That's what I did for English teaching some 20 years ago now. The tax office then informed the AHV people - who billed me for some passed years. Not much though.

For tax you declare your freelance work on Hilfblatt A. You do not need to be registered anywhere like the Handelregister. You can offset your income with expenses like computers office space at home etc.

All the authorities want is to collect a bit of tax and ensure you get a pension based on your income...
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Old 06.10.2020, 11:11
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Re: Freelancing with just one client?

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OK, I've read a lot of confusing threads about this topic with no clear answer. This is my situation:

- I have a part-time job at a Swiss company (80%)
- A startup has asked me to freelance for them
- I will probably earn 1.5K - 2.5K per month from the freelancing job (this could dry up at any time, so is the nature of freelancing)
- I do not intend to freelance for any other client (don't want to nor have I the capacity to do so)

Question: do I have to register as "Selbstandig" with the AHV Office? Their website says I would need to have "multiple clients" to qualify. From my 80% job I already pay AHV and all other social taxes.

What do I do if they reject my application because of having only one client? Can I just work for them, send invoices, and forget about any other paperwork?
For proper self employment you need to be taking risks, 0 clients is the reality for many real start up situations. There was a member who became 100% self employed, gross income less than 1k first year.

Being part time self employed is easier, whilst with the RAV, I had a UK client who I did the off days work for on a self employed basis. No issues, the question is are you really an employee that should be on the payroll?
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Old 06.10.2020, 11:52
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Re: Freelancing with just one client?

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For proper self employment you need to be taking risks, 0 clients is the reality for many real start up situations. There was a member who became 100% self employed, gross income less than 1k first year.

Being part time self employed is easier, whilst with the RAV, I had a UK client who I did the off days work for on a self employed basis. No issues, the question is are you really an employee that should be on the payroll?
OK, that was clear as mud, and has nothing to do with my original question
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Old 06.10.2020, 12:01
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Re: Freelancing with just one client?

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OK, that was clear as mud, and has nothing to do with my original question
It depends on the level ofearnings, you don't 'need' to register. If you declare the income on your tax return & your earnings exceed the limit, the tax office will ask you to get a confirmation that you have registered. Clear as mud answer to your original question?
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Old 06.10.2020, 12:14
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Re: Freelancing with just one client?

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It depends on the level ofearnings, you don't 'need' to register. If you declare the income on your tax return & your earnings exceed the limit, the tax office will ask you to get a confirmation that you have registered. Clear as mud answer to your original question?
OK, now we're getting somewhere. What's the limit?
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Old 06.10.2020, 12:19
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Re: Freelancing with just one client?

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OK, now we're getting somewhere. What's the limit?
I googled the question, the answer is in the document in English, I did check.
https://www.ahv-iv.ch/p/890.e
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Old 06.10.2020, 13:09
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Re: Freelancing with just one client?

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What do I do if they reject my application because of having only one client? Can I just work for them, send invoices, and forget about any other paperwork?
So long as you declare the income and pay taxes, yes. The AHV will be informed and they will go after your employer, for that is what the company is, for failure to register you, deduct social security payments, operate a pension fund etc...

An then there will be the issue of work permits - did they follow procedures, do you have the right to freelance your services etc...

You could operate through an umbrella company and help them avoid all the hassle, they are not aware of from their suggestion... it’s up to you.
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Old 06.10.2020, 14:11
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Re: Freelancing with just one client?

Another useless comment. The whole point of hiring a freelancer is that the client doesn't have to pay the social costs of an employee. That's supposed to be up to the freelancer to take care of.
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Old 06.10.2020, 14:16
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Re: Freelancing with just one client?

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Another useless comment. The whole point of hiring a freelancer is that the client doesn't have to pay the social costs of an employee. That's supposed to be up to the freelancer to take care of.
It's not, unless you are taking risk & choosing how / when / where to do the work, you are likely an employee, even for an engagement of 4 hours as a one off in the year.
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Old 06.10.2020, 14:31
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Re: Freelancing with just one client?

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It's not, unless you are taking risk & choosing how / when / where to do the work, you are likely an employee, even for an engagement of 4 hours as a one off in the year.
You speak in riddles, with no logical thread. Next.
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Old 06.10.2020, 14:38
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Re: Freelancing with just one client?

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Another useless comment. The whole point of hiring a freelancer is that the client doesn't have to pay the social costs of an employee. That's supposed to be up to the freelancer to take care of.
If you know better, why are you asking here?

Generally speaking, you can't be selbständig with only one client. In the situation you describe, it doesn't matter what the client or you intend, the authorities will probably deem you an employee. You could set up a GmbH, and operate through that - it's certainly allowable in some cantons.

Most likely though, given the amounts you've quoted, the only really viable route is to be an employee, and have two employers. Each employment is AHV'd independently.
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Old 06.10.2020, 14:40
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Re: Freelancing with just one client?

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You speak in riddles, with no logical thread. Next.
You can't be self employed just because a company decides it does not want to pay your social costs. The Swiss are strict on this.

If you buy goods that you sell at a stall on a Sunday, that would be part time self employment as you are taking a risk.

If you work for a company on Friday afternoons, in their offices, using their PC, doing work they assigned you to do you are an employee.
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Old 06.10.2020, 14:41
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Re: Freelancing with just one client?

Again, useless.


I have an 80% job with a large company.


I am just freelancing on the side for 1 client.



This forum is really losing it's edge.
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Old 06.10.2020, 14:45
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Re: Freelancing with just one client?

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Again, useless.


I have an 80% job with a large company.


I am just freelancing on the side for 1 client.



This forum is really losing it's edge.
It's not, you will likely be working as an employee for that company even if on an ad hock basis.

If for example you were a plumber 80% & a separate company phoned you up & asked you to fix their toilet. You reply I will see you tomorrow at 8.00 but actually turn up on Friday afternoon, that would show self employment as it was you & not the employer who decided when to do the work.

Although what you want to do is illegal, most likely you will get away with it, till someone notices.
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Old 06.10.2020, 14:55
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Re: Freelancing with just one client?

If Swiss companies engage a freelancer, the companies are legally bound to pay the AHV and social part of payments made to the freelancer.

Thus companies with their heads screwed on will not take on freelancers who are not registered as such for tax and AHV.

If this doesn’t help you, do not bother telling me. Thanks...
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Old 06.10.2020, 16:23
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Re: Freelancing with just one client?

What exactly is your problem? You've had your questions answered. Here's a summary:
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Question: do I have to register as "Selbstandig" with the AHV Office?
Yes.

Quote:
Their website says I would need to have "multiple clients" to qualify.
You do. You will not have multiple clients and so will not qualify.

Quote:
From my 80% job I already pay AHV and all other social taxes.
Every job has its own AHV liability quite independently of any other job, so this is utterly irrelevant.

Quote:
What do I do if they reject my application because of having only one client? Can I just work for them, send invoices, and forget about any other paperwork?
Well, they will reject your application. How you behave after that is entirely up to you. If you choose to work for them via invoice and forget any paperwork, and your client doesn't object, you might get away with it. But it isn't in accordance with the rules, and if they find out, they will hit your client with a bill for the AHV you haven't paid.

There we are. All your questions answered (again).
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Old 06.10.2020, 16:25
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Re: Freelancing with just one client?

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If for example you were a plumber 80% & a separate company phoned you up & asked you to fix their toilet. You reply I will see you tomorrow at 8.00 but actually turn up on Friday afternoon...
I'd call you by 9:00 and tell you not to bother. We had a contract - you coming at 8:00 was part of that.
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Old 06.10.2020, 17:15
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Re: Freelancing with just one client?

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Another useless comment. The whole point of hiring a freelancer is that the client doesn't have to pay the social costs of an employee. That's supposed to be up to the freelancer to take care of.

So I told you what will actually happen and how to avoid it and you think that is useless information is it?


One can only assume you are trolling then.
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Old 06.10.2020, 17:24
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Re: Freelancing with just one client?

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Another useless comment. The whole point of hiring a freelancer is that the client doesn't have to pay the social costs of an employee. That's supposed to be up to the freelancer to take care of.

So a smart employer would hire all employees as freelancers. Why didn't they think of that?
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