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Old 20.03.2021, 10:31
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Sole Trader living in Swiss, Working from UK info

Hi all,

First of all thank you for viewing my post! Hope all is well for all.

I have a few questions and am hoping this can be the most updated post here on how to achieve a few detailed steps regarding setting up a business on your own and tax due.

I've tried to work the steps reading posts here and google but have to admit so much info has confused me as not all consistent and some links on some posts within English forum are old and thus do not work.

It would super helpful if actual steps can be listed as opposed to sending a link as I have found the info. isnt always 100% consistent, as mentioned earlier, if similar links are followed leaving one perplexed - what is actually correct?

Here's my scenario and trying to get as accurate info as possible:

1) Interested in setting up my own business as a consultancy and thus need to operate as a sole trader in Switzerland.

When registering with the local canton what does it actually cost? I have read prices from 120 CHF to 5K-6K? I can imagine each canton has its own price (?), however can it be confirmed it is 120CHF range or yes it does go upto a 4 digit figure.

I am aware if you are earning over 100K then you must be officially registered with your name in the name of the business you have setup


2) If setting up as a sole trader, is it mandatory to have a business bank account? If yes -> Is there a good website comparing the rates of all the business bank accounts in Switzerland?

3) When it comes to Taxes operating as a sole trader, do you have to file them every quarter with the canton (every 3 months) or is it end of year?

4) I've approached a few payroll companies (Helevitca, Payroll Solutions & a few others) to do the taxes and haven't found anyone offering less than a 1000 CHF cut (when earning above 100K) and on a annual basis that does feel expensive.

I'm certain no accountant would charge a sole trader 12K to do their business accounts/earnings (dependant on earnings in the 100K mark). Thus, what is the expected amount an accountant would charge a sole trader to work out and submit taxes due if every quarter or if payments are due annually - every year? Any recommended accountants for sole traders?

The questions above are what I feel could really help myself and many others and appreciate in advance all those that can provide detailed guidance.

This next part is a personal question and might not be the standard but I'm sure many others have travelled down this path or will 1 day.

I am a resident in Switzerland and have been offered a 6 month contract in the UK by an agency to pay into a UK bank account. The actual work to carry out is for a company based in Switzerland and my question is this:

5) There is an official 183 day rule in Switzerland one can work without having to pay taxes as an international worker BUT is this applicable for those who are officially registered resident in Switzerland?

The UK & Switzerland have a dual tax agreement, meaning you do not have to pay taxes in both countries if you are working in 1 and living in the other (necessary forms to declare etc) but what I cant confirm if this is applicable to those with resident permits.

If yes, taxes must be paid in Switzerland based on the dual tax agreement, where salary being paid in the UK and thus income tax will be paid, what taxes/how much would one be expected to pay whilst living in Switzerland.

Once again, thank you for those that took the time to read this lengthy post and any help offered. Hopefully, the answer will help many others in regards to the sole trader setup steps/costs etc.
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Old 20.03.2021, 11:25
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Re: Sole Trader living in Swiss, Working from UK info

So you‘d like to reinvent the wheel. Searching EF for ‚freelancing‘ will answer your questions.

It would also be helpful to have an idea of your projected turnover. Unless your turnover will run into 100,000s you are over thinking this.

Also knowing whether you are a UK taxpayer and if are you taxed at source here and complete a Swiss tax form...


EDIT: unless you live in an aircraft, the rest of us live in Switzerland.
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Old 20.03.2021, 12:21
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Re: Sole Trader living in Swiss, Working from UK info

Thanks - looked at freelancing just now

Turnover to be honest, its fixed term 6 months daily so will be less than 100K, I'm aware when earning over 100K then definitely have to register

Just trying to get literally a playbook on setting up and costs, as opposed to:

google ahv etc

So a Swiss resident can work for an overseas company, get paid overseas but actually live and work in Switzerland for that contract. With all taxes paid in UK, only source tax has to be in Switzerland?

Is it a set amount or based on overseas earnings?
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Old 20.03.2021, 14:37
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Re: Sole Trader living in Swiss, Working from UK info

1) The 4-5K figure will be to set up a GmbH.
2) You should have a separate bank account anyway
3) Dunno
4) It's really not difficult to do payroll yourself.
5) You are taxed where you work.

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So a Swiss resident can work for an overseas company, get paid overseas but actually live and work in Switzerland for that contract. With all taxes paid in UK, only source tax has to be in Switzerland?
You are taxed where you work. No taxes to pay in the UK if you don't work there. The agency should not be making any deductions.

If you are working for only one client, then the chances of you being sole trader are very low, and you should look at ANOBAG as an alternative.
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Old 20.03.2021, 14:41
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Re: Sole Trader living in Swiss, Working from UK info

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Thanks - looked at freelancing just now

Turnover to be honest, its fixed term 6 months daily so will be less than 100K, I'm aware when earning over 100K then definitely have to register

Just trying to get literally a playbook on setting up and costs, as opposed to:

google ahv etc

So a Swiss resident can work for an overseas company, get paid overseas but actually live and work in Switzerland for that contract. With all taxes paid in UK, only source tax has to be in Switzerland?

Is it a set amount or based on overseas earnings?

Of course not. You have so many misconceptions in there that you would be very well advised to seek proper professional advice.


For instance if you are resident in Switzerland, providing a service to a Swiss client through a UK based agency, there are VAT issues to be considered on top of everything else. Proper advice now could save you a lot in the future.
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Old 21.03.2021, 11:19
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Re: Sole Trader living in Swiss, Working from UK info

don't do a sole trader. its not tax efficient. gmbh needs 25k cash to set it up but that's money you can use for company expenses. plus a few hundred in cantonal fees and maybe pay the lawyer who does it if you don't have a handy lawyer friend.

get a good local accountant. maybe pay 1500 for both company and personal / year.

don't 'need' a separate bank account for sole trader but its a good idea. gmbh would need separate bank of course. ask your current bank - ubs/cs etc - pretty easy. you need the bank account to register the company so have your lawyer check the name you chose is available first.
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