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Old 15.09.2014, 12:08
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Another self employed question!

Yes I've read all the other self employed threads…

But here is my situation;

EU citizen, B-permit through marriage to a Swiss citizen, employed part time.

I want to do a bit of self employed work, just here and there in the evenings. I want to do it all legally, don't fancy getting into trouble with the authorities.

What do I need to do? Can I just register as self employed for AHV/tax purposes? Will I have to submit a business plan etc? (because there is no plan). My husband (Swiss) just rang up and registered for AHV. I'm hoping it will be as simple for me as I am not using this to try and get a permit.
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Old 15.09.2014, 13:36
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Re: Another self employed question!

Hi, Island M. I just got my approval for self-employed status here in Zurich. I'm not sure how the procedure will differ for you in Interlaken but here's how it played out for me - sorry, this will be a bit lengthy so just disregard anything that isn't useful for you.

I am also an EU national, here on a B Permit. I was employed the first three years but my position was based on funds from a research grant for which the funding was not renewed. So as of July 1st I was unemployed. I got a late start on the self-employment process because we had already made plans to be gone over the month of July. But I went through the checklist on gründen.ch while we were on vacation so I pretty well knew what the requirements would be. Not many, since my business does not involve finance or transport and will not generate enough profit to require registering it (I translate research papers from German to English and also edit and correct manuscripts written in English, preparing them for publication).

Then in August I stopped by the local Personenmeldeamt to see if there was anything I needed to do before going to the SVA office. SVA is the office here in Zurich that handles social insurance, called AHV. I think other regions call the insurance something else but this office is the one that decides whether or not you will be recognized as self-employed.

Unfortunately, the Personenmeldeamt directed me to go to the Migrationsamt which turned out to be totally unnecessary. However, the folks there were very helpful and printed out a copy of the actual legislation on self-employment. Reading this did reassure me that I was in the clear with my plans so it wasn't a wasted trip. Anyway, I then headed over to the SVA (Sozialversicherungsanstalt) to ask about the documentation I should provide with the application. I had hardly sat down to wait when I was called to speak with a really friendly woman who went over the application form with me. I have to say, I was quite impressed with how helpful she was.

Strangely enough, you show them that you intend to be self-employed by actually beginning the business and then providing them with whatever evidence you have that it is up and running. I have a very basic operation so I was worried that it might not be sophisticated enough to pass muster. For example, other than a new computer and software, I didn't need equipment or an office to meet with clients so there was no loan or investment involved to show them other than those receipts.

I had already finished a couple of small projects so I printed out my emails (the original inquiry from the client, my offer, and then the invoice), and I copied my spreadsheet where I track projects and incoming payments. I also included one of my business cards, my information sheet with a description of fees and terms, a flyer, and an ad that I've placed on a university marketplace. I don't have a website yet so I couldn't include anything for that.

I sent off the completed application and the documentation and about a week later got a letter from SVA asking for more information. Apparently they wanted to be sure that I hadn't been laid off only to be re-hired on a contract basis. So they wanted me to show them that I have clients outside of the couple I had indicated. They also wanted to see actual contracts. I had a moment of panic because, like I said, my operation is pretty basic. The clients contact me via email and I respond with information on fees and timelines, etc. And I operate pretty much within the small world of academic healthcare research so my clients are mostly through my former work contacts. But I put together the correspondence from two new potential clients and wrote a letter describing in detail what it is I'm doing and why my client base is as narrow as it is. That seems to have done the trick because my approval came in the mail last week. What a relief!
They have backdated my status as self-employed to March when I completed my first project, even though I was still employed at that time.

Now the only thing I still have to do is go back to the Personenmeldeamt to have them change the informaton on my B Permit to reflect my change in status from employed to self-employed. I hope the process goes as smoothly for you. Feel free to PM me if you have any questions. And good luck!
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Old 15.09.2014, 14:38
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Re: Another self employed question!

Thanks QoC!! Very useful. So they didn't mind that you'd done some work already?

I'm hoping as my b permit is through marriage, not work, that it will be a little more simple .... I mean I'm already here, I just want to pay them more tax ....... I can hope hey!
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Old 15.09.2014, 15:48
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Re: Another self employed question!

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Thanks QoC!! Very useful. So they didn't mind that you'd done some work already?

I'm hoping as my b permit is through marriage, not work, that it will be a little more simple .... I mean I'm already here, I just want to pay them more tax ....... I can hope hey!
Indeed. But it really wasn't that complicated. Just collecting the documentation that they needed and sending it off. I need not have gone to the office - I could have downloaded the application and just sent it in.

Not only did they not mind that I had done some work already, but I doubt I could have gotten the approval if I hadn't! I know, it took me by surprise as well. That's why I went to their office. I just wanted to have them confirm that I was on the right track.

Have you been able to do a project or two yet? If not, I would get started with whatever the work is that you have in mind, keep records of everything and then fill out the application. If you are a little bit nervous about the sequence then maybe you should pay them a visit. It was actually quite a nice office, the one here in Zurich. Very pleasant. Again, good luck and I hope you are a great success.
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Old 15.09.2014, 16:48
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Re: Another self employed question!

Ok. I just went to the Geminde (I hate going in there, they tend to want to make my life as difficult as possible normally).

I went into the tax office and told them what I wanted to do. The guy filled out a one page form with me, which I think registered me as an Einzelfirma. He said as I had a permit and was married to a Swiss citizen there was absolutely no issue. Then I had to go next door to the AHV office, they gave me a form to fill in and return, with a copy of my qualification certificate.

…. and that's it, job done. Can't believe it was so easy As I thought, they seemed happy at the chance to take more tax money off me!
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Old 08.10.2014, 12:46
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Re: Another self employed question!

I take it all back!

I filled in the paperwork. I have since had a letter (which I don't fully understand) but I think the jist is, they won't let me be self employed as I don't have large expenses or rent a property etc. They say the companies I work for will have to pay my deductions.

What I wanted to do was work as a massage therapist in many different hotels. The hotel just calls me when they need me, maybe once a year, maybe once a day. As if a hotel, who rings me up to go and do a one off massage treatment, is going to agree to pay AHV, BVG etc. Also, it would seem crazy to have 10+ hotels paying tiny amounts of deductions here and there.

I just don't get their reasoning. I bloody hate Swiss bureaucracy and it appears it hates me! All I want to do is pay social security and tax. No idea what the best thing is to do now.
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Old 08.10.2014, 13:32
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Re: Another self employed question!

Sounds as if they think you're not earning enough to really be self-employed as such. Is there any way some, if not all, of the hotels would employ you on a more regular basis which may help? Do you any sort of contracts with the hotels?
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Old 08.10.2014, 13:47
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Re: Another self employed question!

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Sounds as if they think you're not earning enough to really be self-employed as such. Is there any way some, if not all, of the hotels would employ you on a more regular basis which may help? Do you any sort of contracts with the hotels?
Well I have an employed job and my permit is through my Swiss Husband, which means I don't have to work if I don't want to. this was just to earn a bit of extra money. I could understand it if I was trying to get a permit through this, but I'm not. It's just so frustrating, you'd think they'd want a bit of extra tax.
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Old 08.10.2014, 14:45
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Re: Another self employed question!

Probably don't see it as being serious self-employment, more like you just want to earn as they used to say some "pin money", i.e. just a little extra now and then which is what you're doing. Do you declare any earnings on your tax return each year?
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Old 08.10.2014, 15:11
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Re: Another self employed question!

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Probably don't see it as being serious self-employment, more like you just want to earn as they used to say some "pin money", i.e. just a little extra now and then which is what you're doing. Do you declare any earnings on your tax return each year?
I do my tax return with my husband each year. I'm guessing that I can't declare any earnings on the tax return, if they won't let me be self employed and pay AHV etc!?
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Old 08.10.2014, 15:21
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Re: Another self employed question!

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I do my tax return with my husband each year. I'm guessing that I can't declare any earnings on the tax return, if they won't let me be self employed and pay AHV etc!?
If the earnings are low (used to be less than ca 3250 a year) then you don't need to register as the min AHV payment is about 475 a year.

Are you looking to be 100% self employed or part time self employed? being part time self employed it's easier to get accepted.
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Old 08.10.2014, 15:26
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Re: Another self employed question!

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If the earnings are low (used to be less than ca 3250 a year) then you don't need to register as the min AHV payment is about 475 a year.

Are you looking to be 100% self employed or part time self employed? being part time self employed it's easier to get accepted.
Part time. But I'll be earning more than 3250 a year I think.

They stated reasons like to be recognised as self employed you need to make significant investment, be liable for debts, employ people (surely thats a business not self-employment), rent property etc. So it looks like because I want to do something simple and I don't have any risk, I have to be an employee, not self-employed. Bizarre.
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Old 08.10.2014, 15:27
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Re: Another self employed question!

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If the earnings are low (used to be less than ca 3250 a year) then you don't need to register as the min AHV payment is about 475 a year.

Are you looking to be 100% self employed or part time self employed? being part time self employed it's easier to get accepted.
Not for IM it seems. She's already tried and they say no to her part time self-employment.
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Old 08.10.2014, 18:18
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Re: Another self employed question!

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Part time. But I'll be earning more than 3250 a year I think.

They stated reasons like to be recognised as self employed you need to make significant investment, be liable for debts, employ people (surely thats a business not self-employment), rent property etc. So it looks like because I want to do something simple and I don't have any risk, I have to be an employee, not self-employed. Bizarre.
If you set up a website that shows your 'open' for business, I suspect they will allow. If you keep working for the same companies you are probably an employee, if your available to work 1 off for anybody then they should reconsider.
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Old 08.10.2014, 18:50
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Re: Another self employed question!

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if your available to work 1 off for anybody then they should reconsider.
Exactly! If a hotel calls me to do a one off massage and I say "sure, but you need to pay me via bank transfer, pay my deductions, issue me a pay slip" … for one hours work, I'm pretty sure they'd say "Erm, it's ok thanks, we'll find someone else". I understand if I'm doing regular hours at one hotel then it should maybe be as an employee, but until I get started, I don't know if or where I'll get regular hours.

I was ready to pack my bags and emigrate to somewhere with sense this morning I am so angry and frustrated
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Old 12.10.2014, 19:37
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Re: Another self employed question!

They basically want to make sure that this is not a scheme allowing the hotels to circumvent their legal requirements of paying your social security.
There certainly is no obligation to own property, or to employ others.
You have to be able to show that this activity is not just a hobby or passtime, and that you carry the economic risk ( which as an entrepreneur means no income if you do not do a good job). Usually, at least three client names are required. You may also mention how you advertise your services.
This decision can be appealed if you have enough "ammunition": clients, a business plan of sorts, pricing strategy, advertising, etc
Good luck!
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Old 12.10.2014, 19:54
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Re: Another self employed question!

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They basically want to make sure that this is not a scheme allowing the hotels to circumvent their legal requirements of paying your social security.

There certainly is no obligation to own property, or to employ others.

You have to be able to show that this activity is not just a hobby or passtime, and that you carry the economic risk ( which as an entrepreneur means no income if you do not do a good job). Usually, at least three client names are required. You may also mention how you advertise your services.

This decision can be appealed if you have enough "ammunition": clients, a business plan of sorts, pricing strategy, advertising, etc

Good luck!

Of course if your really self employed & invest substantial sums in your business, you will probably also have zero clients when you start out. This would be true of any restaurant, shop or tradesman.
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Old 13.10.2014, 11:09
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Re: Another self employed question!

Appeal letter sent.

I included emails sent to hotels to advertise my services, a business card, an example invoice, a link to my Facebook page. I explained again that I am available to all hotels and also to go to local peoples homes as a mobile massage therapist and that this is not possible unless self-employed. Also that I already have a residence permit and another job as an employee. Now I just have to wait and see what further crazy excuses they come up with
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Old 23.10.2014, 20:06
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Re: Another self employed question!

Update!

I can be self employed if I rent my own premises (amongst other things). Which part of "mobile therapist" they didn't understand is beyond me I said that I might rent somewhere in future when I'm established and have the business to cover the cost, but can't get established as they won't let me!

I give up…. stupid F****** Jobsworths
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Old 23.10.2014, 20:42
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Re: Another self employed question!

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Update!

I can be self employed if I rent my own premises (amongst other things). Which part of "mobile therapist" they didn't understand is beyond me I said that I might rent somewhere in future when I'm established and have the business to cover the cost, but can't get established as they won't let me!

I give up…. stupid F****** Jobsworths
Looks like you won't have to pay any taxes then
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