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Old 13.06.2020, 12:07
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Self Employed/Work From Home for UK company & live in CH

Hello all.

I've been searching this board for answers but haven't been able to find a post similar to my specific situation, so apologies if this has been covered elsewhere.

I'm hoping to move to Switzerland later this year with my Swiss girlfriend. We have been living in the UK together for the last 3 years.

I have a company here in the UK, for which I work from home, for UK based companies only.
I can continue to do this when we move with a good level of security, but i'm struggling to figure out the legal residence permit implications of doing so.

I'm basically looking for some advise on which permit i should be going for, hopefully from those with a similar situation. I also want to avoid paying another layer of tax on my income if possible!

I've read through the CH.CH migration pages and the different fact sheets on residing in Switzerland both with and without "gainful activity".
The confusion comes as they don't define what some of the key terms really mean, as below:

My first choice with my current understanding would be the non-gainful activity permit B (5 year).

The people eligible for this are "retirees, students, other economically inactive persons", who "must have sufficient financial means to ensure that they do not
become dependent upon Swiss social security benefits", and "must be fully covered by health insurance"
In my mind I would not be "economically active" in Switzerland, and would have enough income to support myself from my company, so I would simply have to prove that income from my company is sufficient, and have health insurance.

It's unclear if "economically inactive" in this context actually just means "unemployed", however.
Retired people or students would still, in theory need a source of funds to support them. In my case, if my money is just coming in from outside CH, and I do not work for a Swiss company, is there a difference?

All my work financials would be done in the UK - I would just be physically present in CH working from home.
The issue potentially comes as I'm not sure if they would class me as engaging in "gainful activity" in Switzerland by working from home.
In their fact sheet on that specific topic, it only talks about working in CH for Swiss companies, and not working from home for foreign businesses, so again, it seems a grey area.

The other options as I see it, would be as below, (additional suggestions are welcome):

1. A short term perm permit L, assuming i am involved in gainful activity, though not for a CH-based company. But that would require me to re-apply every year, and probably pay Swiss taxes on my already taxed income from UK?

2. Concubine permit? My girlfriend would earn on paper enough to support us and i could still work from home and access my money with no legal implications as long as I have health care?

3. Marriage???

Thanks in advance

Michael
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Old 13.06.2020, 12:22
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Re: Self Employed/Work From Home for UK company & live in CH

Check these threads - seems equivalent to your situation

https://www.englishforum.ch/permits-...g-germany.html

https://www.englishforum.ch/permits-...g-germany.html

https://www.englishforum.ch/finance-...g-germany.html

https://www.englishforum.ch/finance-...does-work.html

Of course, after the Brexit transition expires in Jan 2021, I’m not sure how it will work for UK citizens wanting to arrive new in CH and what agreements will exist between CH and UK
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Old 13.06.2020, 12:25
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can't figure out how to edit the post!

i'd just like to say that i only could find similar posts to my circumstances from a long time ago (10 years), so assume the situation has changed.

i've also seen some information on tax implications elsewhere, but i feel as if i should be ok as of the below from such threads (need to do my homework on the tax implication after the permit situation):

Quote:
All persons resident in Switzerland are liable for the taxation of their worldwide income and assets, except on the income and wealth from foreign business or real estate
Quote:
If the OP never has and does not take a salary in Switzerland ie they earn abroad and are taxed on that money in a foreign country they can declare no AHV relevant earnings and therefore no tax to pay in Switzerland. I believe that is what -USERNAME- is doing.
Quote:
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Check this thread - seems equivalent to your situation

https://www.englishforum.ch/permits-...g-germany.html

not really, that's about cross border commuting, and is from 2008...
thanks anyway

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Of course, after the Brexit transition expires in Jan 2021, Iím not sure how it will work for UK citizens wanting to arrive new in CH and what agreements will exist between CH and UK
yeah this is another worry. i'm hoping to get my permit before that happens.

however the swiss have already said that they will try to retain the same agreement with the UK, so it may not be so bad

Last edited by roegner; 13.06.2020 at 12:45. Reason: Merging consecutive posts
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Old 13.06.2020, 12:53
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Re: Self Employed/Work From Home for UK company & live in CH

There is another thread here - from 10 years ago but a couple of responses from people in your situation. I would also recommend you ask a professional advisor before you burn your boats - I can recommend Gabrielle Grether - https://www.gmacg.com/ - it might be better than taking advice from the EF panel of armchair lawyers whose advice can often be worth what you pay for it.

https://www.englishforum.ch/business...company-2.html

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however the swiss have already said that they will try to retain the same agreement with the UK, so it may not be so bad
Be careful. The agreements so far relate to UK citizens already living in CH prior to Brexit and likewise CH citizens in UK. Freedom of movement will no longer apply to UK citizens wanting to look for work / live in CH after Brexit transition. At least that was my understanding from the UK embassy roadshows from a couple of years ago.

The other consideration, given the poor exchange rate of the £ is whether your earnings will pay for life in CH. Many things are considerably more expensive than the UK - I know one former EF user living here on a UK pension has said the falling £ has brought a sizeable hole in their household finances.

Not trying to put you off, and maybe you can survive but it is important to be realistic and to do your homework.

Cheers,
Nick
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Old 13.06.2020, 14:10
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Re: Self Employed/Work From Home for UK company & live in CH

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There is another thread here - from 10 years ago but a couple of responses from people in your situation. I would also recommend you ask a professional advisor before you burn your boats
yes that's the thread i'd already seen and there are conflicting answers to say the least. one guy had apparently been doing exactly as i suspect i can, not paying any tax in CH and working from home. but others are telling him he shouldn't be, even though he's had official assurance it's fine.
i wanted to see if i could get a straight answer from someone with a similar situation before i go in and implicate myself with how i approach the migration office. i don't want to start with them pigeon holing me and that decide the whole deal.
it seems that it's not so straight forward, so thanks for the recommended people to talk to.

as for the brexit thing, my gf has received letters from the swiss embassy recently saying that she would be allowed to stay in UK after brexit regardless, as long as she registers with them before it happens. i'm hoping the same is true on the other side.
that's why i was wanting to get the 5 year permit before this takes effect.

money-wise, we should be comfortable enough. i will be earning in excess of average swiss earnings per month. we have lived together in london where rent is similar to where we want to be in CH and i was the main breadwinner then.
i have also spent a lot of time in switzerland over the years, so am well aware of the costs. my gf also will earn a decent salary there so that shouldn't be problem.
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Old 13.06.2020, 15:19
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Re: Self Employed/Work From Home for UK company & live in CH

Just marry your Swiss wife and you will get a B permit based on that allowing you to live and work in Switzerland as she will be earning enough to support you in the eyes of migration office. This is the easiest option and is independent of Brexit as your rights as a UK citizen to get a permit on your own will significantly decrease after 31 Dec 2020.

As a spouse of a Swiss you will be filing joint tax declarations where you need to declare your worldwide income. In this case it would be generated from CH (work from home in CH) and so tax payable in CH regardless whether your clients are in the UK. If you pay tax in the UK on your business you will need to file for tax credits from HMRC towards your cantonal tax authority. There is a dual tax treaty in place (you can Google the treaty to read it in detail and understand how you have to proceed).
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Old 13.06.2020, 22:40
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Re: Self Employed/Work From Home for UK company & live in CH

Yes. If you are living here you will need to pay your tax here (and poss some in the UK?) and if you are working you will be gainfully employed regardless of where your work/clients are based.
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