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Old 26.06.2006, 09:16
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Reka Cheques, Money, Cards

Hi

Does anyone know anything about Reka cheques? My husband has been given them from work but he doesn't know what they are and can't find any info in english about them, if anyone has any info about them cazn you let me know

Many thanks
Nicky
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Old 26.06.2006, 10:11
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Re: Reka Cheques

Many companies dish them out. They are coupons, cash vouchers, you can use like money almost anywhere, shops, travel agencies etc etc. You buy REKA checks at a discount, say 500 bucks worth of REKA for 400 CHF.

Buy as many as you can, really, it's money for nothing.

Your hubby would have received an Orange slip to pay 400 CHF for say, 500 bucks worth of REKA checks, he pays this, REKA sends him 500 bucks worth of cash vouchers he can use like money almost anwhere.
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Old 26.06.2006, 10:17
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Re: Reka Cheques

right, making more sense now, phoned them up to ask but struggles to fully understand, she said that if we send 400 CHF we'll get 450CHF back (i.e 20% as the orange slip states something about 20% at the bottom?)

So basically we get 50CHF free but then can only use the cheques at certain places

Nicky
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Old 26.06.2006, 10:21
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Re: Reka Cheques

Quote:
right, making more sense now, phoned them up to ask but struggles to fully understand, she said that if we send 400 CHF we'll get 450CHF back (i.e 20% as the orange slip states something about 20% at the bottom?)

So basically we get 50CHF free but then can only use the cheques at certain places

Nicky
You should get 500 as the discount is 20%. Use them to pay for petrol at BP or Avia. It helps with the cost of petrol these days... You can also cheque for special offers from Reka such as 30% of your car rental if you pay with Reka cheques. That equates to a total discount of nearly 50%!!!
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Old 26.06.2006, 10:33
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Re: Reka Cheques

Quote:
You should get 500 as the discount is 20%. Use them to pay for petrol at BP or Avia. It helps with the cost of petrol these days... You can also cheque for special offers from Reka such as 30% of your car rental if you pay with Reka cheques. That equates to a total discount of nearly 50%!!!
Right!! sounds more interesting...sorry rubbish with maths, she told me 450CHF and i believed her :-) so we'd get 500CHF back and then also potential money off other things.

We only have two orange slips both with 400CHF on so we can only pay for 800CHF total? can you do the same every year? is there a limit?

Nicky
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Old 26.06.2006, 13:49
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Re: Reka Cheques

This is quite interesting. I've never thought about this before - but does anyone know the point of why such a system was setup in the first place and why is it still in use today?
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Old 26.06.2006, 13:55
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Re: Reka Cheques

Quote:
This is quite interesting. I've never thought about this before - but does anyone know the point of why such a system was setup in the first place and why is it still in use today?
The employer will impose a limit available to you per year. This is typically 1000 Francs for 800 paid. You can buy more at a 3% discount from the COOP and also directly although I don't see the point.

So why was it set up. They cream off some 1 or 2% of the turnover and use this for good causes ie it is a kind of Swiss charity. It also allows the employer to pay his employees a little more money that is not taxable - ie you do not need to declare this...

Richard
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Old 26.06.2006, 23:58
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Re: Reka Cheques

They are very handy at SBB rail automated ticket machines. You can use the 10CHF checks as 10 chf bills, and you will not have to worry about having normal money when you quickly have to buy a ticket. You also get money back from this machine.
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Old 27.06.2006, 00:00
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Re: Reka Cheques

I checked at www.reka.ch, under aktuelles angebot they offer 30% discount on Europcar which is more than the 20% halbtax discount. This is great, it means you can rent a van to move for 80-90 chf I think.
Hmm. This is not correct. It only applies if you buy the Europcard funway card. You can still use a GA or halbtax card though if you have one.

You can also pay your mobility bills with reka checks. www.mobility.ch
(cheap rental cars you can rent by the hour)
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Old 06.07.2006, 12:02
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Re: Reka Cheques

It is most handy to buy rail tickets from SBB, also at the window, and to buy bus passes and even some ski lessons,
you can pay by Reka cheques in many places.
But just a bit about the maths- you pay the money 400 chf upfront, and u spend the cheques later , so the company issuing them can make the money on the float (which i am sure they do)
but its a nice way to get a discount
cheers
ikon
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Old 06.07.2006, 12:09
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Re: Reka Cheques

dont' forget you have to declair your benefit-in-kind Reka checks on your tax return
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Old 06.07.2006, 14:11
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Re: Reka Cheques

Are you serious about having to declare reka checks? My question is serious as it is very relevant to me due to unfornunate circumstances.
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Old 06.07.2006, 14:13
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Re: Reka Cheques

Quote:
Are you serious about having to declare reka checks? My question is serious as it is very relevant to me due to unfornunate circumstances.
'fraid so. But then again, how would they catch you? And it's hardly the great train robbery too

They can only tax you an amount on what you save - so buying 1000 francs of Reka checks for 800 francs gives you a benefit of 200 - this is what they're interested in
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Old 06.07.2006, 14:19
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Re: Reka Cheques

hmm what about this then:

I paid 8000 francs to relocate here (travel and moving expenses), I am supposed to get back 4000 from my University because the EU employs me and the EU pays for this allowance.

The Uni says I have to pay employer contributions as well as employee contributions to pensions, AVG etc on this and quellensteuer too.

So from the 4000 I get about 2200. This is really terrible.

So I was thinking, since the EU classifies this as a travel allowance, and the Swiss make it into a zuschlag that is fully taxable, I would ask the uni to pay me in Reka checks instead.

So say they pay 50% of it in reka checks, say 2000, and I get a 10% discount, could I then get away with not paying tax and the AVG etc on the remaining 90% of the 2000?
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Old 06.07.2006, 14:27
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Re: Reka Cheques

personally, I believe they are reembursing an expense - paid for with money upon which tax has already been paid.

Frankly I'd demand you get 4000 net so that you're not losing out in the whole deal - if they can't issue expenses (non-benefit-in-kind).
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Old 06.07.2006, 14:35
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Re: Reka Cheques

They claim they can only follow Swiss law and that Swiss law says any Pauschalen should be fully taxed.

And when I ask about this, about alternative options, they say, well I am Swiss, I pay such taxes, so what are you upset about. (Of course they have not just moved 12000 miles with a family in tow..).

A statement one could find many faults with, not in the least that they do not have to pay employer contributions, whereas I do, even on my salary.

Anyway, thanks for the tip, I will ask again.
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Old 06.07.2006, 15:12
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Re: Reka Cheques

Muze7, I am very concerned that you pay both the employer *and* employee contributions. Are you absolutely sure that this is correct? If they are complaining and using the "well I am Swiss, I have to pay it too, why shouldn't you" argument then I am pretty sure that they are only paying the half they are supposed to (employee) and not both!

If this is indeed the case I would double-check this with a tax consultant as to whether this really is "Swiss law", spending a little money for half and hour of someone's time may be worth it.

I wouldn't imagine that you could simply ask your employer to pay you in reka cheques to lower your tax bill.
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Old 06.07.2006, 15:21
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Re: Reka Cheques

Yes, I am 100% sure. This applies to me and 6 other scientists in one city here in CH who are paid by the EU. The EU expects us to get these expenses tax free because they are real, not some kind of zuschlage that companies pay people to make their jobs more attractive (as a salary top up), but ones that we scientists desperately need as compensation for being mobile. That is also what they are called (mobility allowances).

There are maybe 80 of us in Switzerland and we all pay the employer contributions.

Apparently, lots of people at universities are paid via "Drittmittel" this is the third, soft money inflow, and those supposedly also pay employer contrbs. What is unfair is that I think these people who are supported by Drittmittel have Swiss salaries that are compensated for this, as the fnational unding body knows this is going to happen. In our case, the EU does not want it to happen, so we lose out big time. However, Swiss law overrides the EU wish that our allowance should not be taxed.

Our only chance is to go high, perhaps as high as the minister for education, as we seriously feel Switzerland does not welcome its European scientists. If anyone here has direct contacts in the ministry of Education, I would welcome a private message.

Otherwise, Lob you are right, I should ask a consultant.

Can anyone here recommend a good consultant? It can be in the Zurich area, can be anywhere as these rules are supposedly federal.
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Old 06.07.2006, 16:40
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Re: Reka Cheques

This is sooooo Swiss, the inability to even consider there may be other options. This argument about "I pay it why shouldnt you" recurs in many aspects of life here as though it was some divine ruling never to be questioned.

In most European countries expenses such as these are indeed taxed, but most employers (including the civil service) pay this so the recipient gets the full amount.

It is wrong in principle that you should be out of pocket for real expenses through your relocation, so I suggest you kick up a real stink, and consult your student union (if there is such a thing) and employer to intervene on your behalf. The EU must have crossed this bridge before !

If that fails try and encourage your employer to stump up the full amount.

As a last resort get an hour with an accountant to find out if there is any mitigation.

I wish I could help more.
dave



Quote:
They claim they can only follow Swiss law and that Swiss law says any Pauschalen should be fully taxed.

And when I ask about this, about alternative options, they say, well I am Swiss, I pay such taxes, so what are you upset about. (Of course they have not just moved 12000 miles with a family in tow..).

A statement one could find many faults with, not in the least that they do not have to pay employer contributions, whereas I do, even on my salary.

Anyway, thanks for the tip, I will ask again.
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Old 06.07.2006, 16:50
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Re: Reka Cheques

Muze7,

There are essentially 2 things here. The first is your relocation allowance, which was a once-off thing that was taxed. This is annoying and you may have no recourse (apart from asking the EU to pay the extra), but the thing that concerns me the most is the fact that *you* are paying the employer deductions as well as your own. This is most definitely not correct. I've checked with a friend who runs her own business and who researched this. She says that there is no way for the employer to get out of this, and even if they have the employee accept it via the work contract the employee could take them to court and they would lose. I strongly suggest you contact this guy:

Dr. Urs Scheuch
Dufourstrasse 31
8008 Zürich/ZH
044 252 25 75

He's a tax lawyer and deals with a lot of international and expat clients. His English is absolutely fine. He's not the cheapest in town, but hopefully you won't need long. I had a session with him last week.
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