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Old 23.11.2019, 23:06
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Employer not paying tax at source (Quellensteuer)

Good evening to all.
I work in Zürich with a B permit and recently my colleagues and me (all foreigners) have found out that our employer is not paying our taxes.
We receive regularly our payslip where we can read all the figures, but we have already crossed-checked with the AHV that he does not really deposit the money.

If I am not wrong, the below letter I have received from AHV state, confirm what I wrote:
"Wunschgemäss bescheinigen wir, dass mit uns bis zum jetzigen Zeitpunkt für das Jahr 2018 kein Quellensteuern abgerechnet wurden.
Wir werden in diser Angelegenheit weitere Schritte einleiten. Wir bitten Sie um Gebuld."


So, now, I am bit puzzled about how to proceed.
If am not wrong, the Quellensteuer is a responsible of the employer for all his B permit workers.
Is there any responsibility from my side (should I have checked earlier? Was I too naive?)
The problem is that he always wrote the right amount on the paper, but I never bother to checked it regularly with AHV, so I assumed that everything was fine.
Some of my colleagues in the office already got in touch with some lawyers, with Unia and with AHV itself, but we haven´t got a final answer yet. Some have even said we have to pay the missing amount by our self!
Any tip would be much appreciated.
Thanks
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Old 24.11.2019, 10:12
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Re: Employer not paying tax at source (Quellensteuer)

Quellensteuer and AHV payments are separate offices.

Depending on the size of your employer, for AHV, they may only have to 'pay' both their share (employers) and your share (employee) they have retained on behalf of the AHV office once a year. In most cases though it is deposited quarterly but some companies get accounting/book-keeping flexibility to bulk deposit. I understand the Quellensteuer is similar.

In both cases the employer has to show that they have the funds to enter into such a less frequent deposit of the statutory taxes. (but things change I suppose!)

^ this above is an honest and acceptable way of doing things, I've seen it done. Accounts filing can be tricky, long process.

In your case, if you suspect something criminal: the company is retaining and not depositing these statutory payments to the relevant offices in a timely manner, then you are going about it the right way. Keep all your payslips/bank deposits records, get your union involved, contact and inform each State/Canton department.

In the end if you can prove the money has been retained then it becomes a problem for the authorities and the employer. If they have cash flow problems or the risk of going bust, then the state/canton offices will be first in line of creditors and I'm nearly sure there will be state cover to make sure you are in the clear for more payments.

If you work for an AG there is a mandatory 3rd party audit to be completed, and for GmbHs over a certain size as well. These checks above are part of that. It is unusual that you would find this to be something criminal, more likely delayed filing, business/cash flow issues, which in itself should be worrying for you.

You should also check your BVG (company pension, pillar2)
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Old 24.11.2019, 10:52
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Re: Employer not paying tax at source (Quellensteuer)

Company I work for pays AHV yearly. It is actually due the first working day in the new year. Quellensteuer is paid monthly.
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Old 24.11.2019, 11:05
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Re: Employer not paying tax at source (Quellensteuer)

The AHV asks you to await their results since they will start to investigate, what you could do is ask them for an indication of how much time they would need for such, also it might be smart to not all go about this in personal and different ways but act together as employees. So you could have a meeting somewhere outside the office with all and if wanted a lawyer could be present to answer questions.

Don't take the info from your co-workers from what will happen now all to seriously many people simply have no clue about the rules and are not shy of spreading their own truth which might be correct but as easily completely incorrect.

And it might be worth it to make an estimate for if the company actually has the assets to pay this. We're talking all of 2018, I assume also 2019 (And any info about earlier years?) so that could amount to a lot of money, if the company did withhold the money from your payments but has insufficient funds you might be in need to look for a new job.
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Old 25.11.2019, 10:17
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Re: Employer not paying tax at source (Quellensteuer)

Several comments to add to the above:


1. Source tax (Quellensteuer): the employer is the debtor (Schuldner) and unpaid (and underpaid) source taxes are the employer's responsibility.
- The OP could also contact the local Finanzverwaltung to determine the status of his source tax payments.

2. AHV: the employee should retain all copies of salary statements to demonstrate that AHV was withheld by the employer. AHV should be willing to credit the employee's account even if the employer does not pay. This will be worthwhile later when applying for old-age AHV and to avoid "holes" in contribution years.
- The OP could also contact the designated compensation fund (Ausgleichskasse) to inquire whether AHV funds have been received.

3. Pension, pillar 2 (BVG): in the event that the employer has not passed the pillar 2 pension money to a pension fund, these are insured.
- The Stiftung Auffangeinrichtung BVG would be able to assist with an insurance claim.


Good luck!
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Old 25.11.2019, 21:38
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Re: Employer not paying tax at source (Quellensteuer)

Thanks to all the suggestions.
I will try to contact the responsible parties in order to find out better who to proceed!
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Old 25.11.2019, 21:41
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Re: Employer not paying tax at source (Quellensteuer)

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Several comments to add to the above:


1. Source tax (Quellensteuer): the employer is the debtor (Schuldner) and unpaid (and underpaid) source taxes are the employer's responsibility.
- The OP could also contact the local Finanzverwaltung to determine the status of his source tax payments.

2. AHV: the employee should retain all copies of salary statements to demonstrate that AHV was withheld by the employer. AHV should be willing to credit the employee's account even if the employer does not pay. This will be worthwhile later when applying for old-age AHV and to avoid "holes" in contribution years.
- The OP could also contact the designated compensation fund (Ausgleichskasse) to inquire whether AHV funds have been received.

3. Pension, pillar 2 (BVG): in the event that the employer has not passed the pillar 2 pension money to a pension fund, these are insured.
- The Stiftung Auffangeinrichtung BVG would be able to assist with an insurance claim.


Good luck!
Also, you can ask for statements for pillar 1 and 2. In Zürich you can contact SVA (I think) for the pillar 1 payments. For pillar 2 you should get yearly statements anyway.

Last edited by roegner; 25.11.2019 at 21:56.
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Old 26.11.2019, 06:21
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Re: Employer not paying tax at source (Quellensteuer)

All of the above very good points - I would be interested to understand what your employer is saying to all of this?

In the best case scenario this is all a misunderstanding (i.e. AHV paid later) and therefore a conversation with the employer before involving union and lawyer may be appropriate to get a better understanding.

K
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Old 26.11.2019, 19:32
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Re: Employer not paying tax at source (Quellensteuer)

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Thanks to all the suggestions.
I will try to contact the responsible parties in order to find out better who to proceed!
The reply you got from AHV says that certain steps are taken by them. In order to avoid unnecessary efforts, your first step should probably be to ask them what they advise. Explicitly mention all points you mentioned here and ask what they advise, plus on anything you didn't mention but would ask about if you knew about that.

Keep your calm, reacting a few days later won't make a difference.
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