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Old 15.08.2007, 11:46
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Freelance translator seeking tax advice (Basel)

Since January I have been working as a freelance translator in Switzerland. I am based in Basel but most of the work I do is for the international organizations in Geneva, although I also do a small amount of work from home. I am looking for a tax advisor to help me fill in my tax return form at the end of the year. I have approached one company who estimated that it would cost about CHF 700 for them to assess my tax situation and fill in my tax return form. Does that seem a reasonable amount? Could anyone recommend an accountant/tax advisor that they have used?
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Old 15.08.2007, 11:54
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Re: Freelance translator seeking tax advice (Basel)

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Since January I have been working as a freelance translator in Switzerland. I am based in Basel but most of the work I do is for the international organizations in Geneva, although I also do a small amount of work from home. I am looking for a tax advisor to help me fill in my tax return form at the end of the year. I have approached one company who estimated that it would cost about CHF 700 for them to assess my tax situation and fill in my tax return form. Does that seem a reasonable amount? Could anyone recommend an accountant/tax advisor that they have used?
It should not cost more than around CHF400. But then again why so you need someone to fill it in for you? Are you in BL or BS?
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Old 15.08.2007, 12:10
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Re: Freelance translator seeking tax advice (Basel)

I thought it would be better to get my tax return done by a professional as it is my first year in Switzerland and I don't really know how the system works.
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Old 15.08.2007, 12:11
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Re: Freelance translator seeking tax advice (Basel)

Sorry, I forgot to say that I live in Basel-Stadt.
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Old 15.08.2007, 12:33
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Re: Freelance translator seeking tax advice (Basel)

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Sorry, I forgot to say that I live in Basel-Stadt.
Hi Kim,

In Basel Stadt you are at the mercy of the incompetence ultra plus council. BS has one of the highest tax rates in the whole of Switzerland but never mind you are there now. I take it that you are referring to the tax for 2007. I would suggest as your first step you move to somewhere else Münchenstein for example is in Basel Land and you can still walk to the station from there or take a tram...

And you have something like 8 months before you need to fill your return in.

The question really then is, are you somehow a difficult case, ie is there something complicated with your case? You can PM me if it is personal...
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Old 15.08.2007, 12:36
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Re: Freelance translator seeking tax advice (Basel)

My partner is Swiss and did his taxes for the first time his self this year here in Basel. He said it was hard and has never done taxes before but at last was able to do it. He had this e program that he got at this email address. baltax@bs.ch or call 061 267 67 67. Maybe they can help. Good luck.
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Old 15.08.2007, 12:52
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Re: Freelance translator seeking tax advice (Basel)

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My partner is Swiss and did his taxes for the first time his self this year here in Basel. He said it was hard and has never done taxes before but at last was able to do it. He had this e program that he got at this email address. baltax@bs.ch or call 061 267 67 67. Maybe they can help. Good luck.
But that won't help as there is no version for 2007 available yet.

You can actually download it here: http://www.steuerverwaltung.bs.ch/baltax.htm but that of course is for 2006 as 2007 is not yet available... And the telephone number is the help line for technical problems and not how to problems...
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Old 15.08.2007, 12:56
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Re: Freelance translator seeking tax advice (Basel)

I don't think I am a particularly difficult case, there are many of my kind living in Geneva, but it seems to complicate matters that I am based in Basel (my partner works there). Most of my income comes from short-term in-house contracts at the UN and other international organizations, which as I understand it, is exempt from tax. I have done about 12 days work from home this year, and I believe I have to pay tax on my income from that. I suppose it is a matter of knowing which forms to fill in, but my previous attempts at finding out what I should do have left me none the wiser.
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Old 15.08.2007, 14:27
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Re: Freelance translator seeking tax advice (Basel)

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I don't think I am a particularly difficult case, there are many of my kind living in Geneva, but it seems to complicate matters that I am based in Basel (my partner works there). Most of my income comes from short-term in-house contracts at the UN and other international organizations, which as I understand it, is exempt from tax. I have done about 12 days work from home this year, and I believe I have to pay tax on my income from that. I suppose it is a matter of knowing which forms to fill in, but my previous attempts at finding out what I should do have left me none the wiser.
Ah well you are a bit wrong there in that you are indeed an unusual or difficult case. You are quite right that income from international organisations such as the UN is normally free from tax as long as a formal contract exists directly with the organisation. That your partner is based in Basel should not be a worry for you as Geneva is worse and with a taxable income of only a few thousand you are not going to be hit with any significant tax bills. Question here is really only why you are in Basel Stadt and what kind of a relationship have you with your partner. Here I mean married, simply living together, officially cohabiting.

If you are a freelancer then you need to be registered as such - are you. If not that could get you in serious kaka... IF you are then you need to pay yourself and based on what you pay yourself you will have social obligations probably to pay. If your annual salary is under 23K you will not... You then will need to give yourself an annual salary statement and based on that you will pay tax. Given that you have a few thousand before you pay tax, you will not be paying much at all...
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Old 15.08.2007, 15:18
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Re: Freelance translator seeking tax advice (Basel)

We chose to live in Basel-Stadt to be near the centre of town and it is also close to my partner's work so moving is not an option. I think that my partner and I are officially cohabiting (he is referred to as my Lebenspartner on my Swiss permit). I believe that my next step is to get back in touch with the immigration authorities to make sure that I have the correct permit to register as a freelance...

Thank you for your advice.
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Old 15.08.2007, 15:25
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Re: Freelance translator seeking tax advice (Basel)

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We chose to live in Basel-Stadt to be near the centre of town and it is also close to my partner's work so moving is not an option. I think that my partner and I are officially cohabiting (he is referred to as my Lebenspartner on my Swiss permit). I believe that my next step is to get back in touch with the immigration authorities to make sure that I have the correct permit to register as a freelance...

Thank you for your advice.
Okay if you are officially cohabiting you need to check on a few things. For example if BS tax you individually or jointly. In your circumstance it could well be beneficial to be jointly taxed.

If you are EU then you have the right permit. If not then you do not unless your partner is Swiss.

With respect to moving not being an option. Why don't you get on a tram and travel to Obi (Dreispitz) that is in Münchenstein... not exactly far but BL and hence reduced taxes...
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Old 15.01.2008, 23:37
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Re: Freelance translator seeking tax advice (Basel)

I realise that this is an old thread, but I have a question anyway. Please humour me!

I am in a similar boat to the original poster, working as a freelance translator (service provider) for one of the UN organizations, but I also have other customers. Previously working from France where I was registered as a sole trader, I was led to believe that this income was taxable, and so declared it to the authorities.

I am hoping to be awarded a post that I have applied for, but would like to move back to the area even if I don't get the post (we are currently in Scotland). Would these international organization earnings be taxable if I was registered as a company or sole trader in CH (while probably living in Annecy, FR)?

Hope someone has some knowledge in this area.

Cheers,
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Old 17.02.2008, 23:52
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Re: Freelance translator seeking tax advice (Basel)

Only employees of UN (and similar diplomatic) organizations are exempt from Swiss income tax. Vendors and contractors are liable to I-T. You can deduct expenses. Actuals if you can prove it. Or 20% flat, subject to certain maximums.
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Old 18.02.2008, 12:10
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Re: Freelance translator seeking tax advice (Basel)

Thanks for that - I have since found out that you are quite right! Cheers,
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Old 05.03.2008, 07:11
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Re: Freelance translator seeking tax advice (Basel)

Sorry I am a little amused about your discussion. Because somehow all of you are right but none of you got the point of Swiss taxes in case of being a freelancer!

1. If you got an offer for CHF 700.00, take it and don't even think about doing it by yourself. A tax consultant (a good one) knows about your possibilities to make deductions. Deductions which are not written in any "Wegleitung" for your "Steuererklärung.
2. If you want to have it for less than CHF 700.00, tell me. I would tell it to my tax advisor and after he has seen your case he might be able to do a better price (he's from Basel)
3. And this is for all of you: Learn about our system! It's surely a kind of integration but even more it will save you a hell of money for the coming yeas. YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND THAT OUR FINANCAL SYSTEM IS A CIRCLE OF TAXES, FINANCES, SOCIAL SECURITIES AND INSURANCES. If you once got that the world is easier and cheaper for you.
4. I pay every year something between 200 and 250 to my tax advisor. Please believe me if I tell you this is a little % of what he is saving me.
5. Think about this: Why Switzerland has more tax consulting companies or independent tax consultants than any other country in the world?

... Freelancer and from abroad!.... Well already this sounds like heaven to save taxes for me. Our system is a chance to pay less than anywhere!!!
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Old 05.03.2008, 22:23
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Re: Freelance translator seeking tax advice (Basel)

At least the first year, do get professional advice. Subsequent years, you have a template. Even then, your hourly rate may be higher than the advisor's. So why not stick to your knitting?
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Old 18.03.2008, 00:58
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Re: Freelance translator seeking tax advice (Basel)

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Sorry I am a little amused about your discussion. Because somehow all of you are right but none of you got the point of Swiss taxes in case of being a freelancer!

1. If you got an offer for CHF 700.00, take it and don't even think about doing it by yourself. A tax consultant (a good one) knows about your possibilities to make deductions. Deductions which are not written in any "Wegleitung" for your "Steuererklärung.
2. If you want to have it for less than CHF 700.00, tell me. I would tell it to my tax advisor and after he has seen your case he might be able to do a better price (he's from Basel)
3. And this is for all of you: Learn about our system! It's surely a kind of integration but even more it will save you a hell of money for the coming yeas. YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND THAT OUR FINANCAL SYSTEM IS A CIRCLE OF TAXES, FINANCES, SOCIAL SECURITIES AND INSURANCES. If you once got that the world is easier and cheaper for you.
4. I pay every year something between 200 and 250 to my tax advisor. Please believe me if I tell you this is a little % of what he is saving me.
5. Think about this: Why Switzerland has more tax consulting companies or independent tax consultants than any other country in the world?

... Freelancer and from abroad!.... Well already this sounds like heaven to save taxes for me. Our system is a chance to pay less than anywhere!!!

Hello there, this is my 1st time on EF and I hope I am doing the right thing. I am also living in Basel as a Freelancer and I am activaly looking for a tax agent/advisor. Fortunately my 2007 tax return should be very easy. The problem is that I am currently not in Switzerland and it is difficult for me to submit my tax return. So does anyone know a tax advisor who could do it via email ? In advance thanks
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Old 06.02.2009, 21:10
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Re: Freelance translator seeking tax advice (Basel)

Hi. My first time on EF too. I am living in Baselstadt and looking for a tax advisor to do my tax return. Could someone recommond one?

Many thanks
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Old 04.03.2009, 17:07
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Re: Freelance translator seeking tax advice (Basel)

Hi, did any of you freelancers get a reply? this is my first year doing my own tax return, wouldn't mind some help ...

any advice would be appreciated! what can you deduct etc...
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Old 04.03.2009, 17:11
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Re: Freelance translator seeking tax advice (Basel)

Keep it simple... hire an accountant (Treuhander) to do your taxes for
you. They know the laws and the best way to keep your taxes as low
as possible.

Do it yourself and probably pay more.

Plus, if you'd note the date of the OP and all other except the last two
before mine, it was posted more than a year ago.
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