The process of becoming self-employed throws up a whole host of questions. From registering for OASI to business interruption insurance, we compiled the most common questions from our community and put them to AXA’s experts. Read our FAQ for some useful insider information on the key aspects of self-employment in Switzerland.
If you’ve had your company entered in the commercial register, you’ll receive the registration form automatically.
If you’re setting up a sole proprietorship that doesn’t need to be entered in the commercial register, but you expect to earn more than CHF 2,300 a year from it, contact the compensation office to work out your personal contributions for federal old-age and survivors’ insurance (OASI), disability insurance, and loss of earnings compensation insurance. The compensation office will decide whether you qualify as self-employed for the purposes of social insurance. In principle, you qualify if
For everything you need to know about becoming self-employed in Switzerland, read our AXA blog post “Finally self-employed: how to start your own company in Switzerland”. For an overview of the main steps you need to take from coming up with a business idea to successfully founding a company, see “The ultimate checklist for self-employed people in Switzerland”.
Anyone registered as self-employed with the compensation office can withdraw occupational benefits for use as start-up capital. You can also withdraw tax-privileged capital saved in Pillar 3a to invest in your business. Such withdrawals are taxed at a special, lower rate.
Sole proprietors and partners in a general or limited partnership qualify as self-employed. You need to file your application within a year of becoming self-employed.
Owners of a company limited by shares (AG) or a limited liability company (GmbH) are classed as employees. They aren’t allowed to withdraw money from Pillar 2 or Pillar 3a for their business. This is why, in practice, many people first set up a sole proprietorship, which they then change into an AG or GmbH at a later date.
The federal and cantonal authorities will tax the money you withdraw from your pension fund and Pillar 3a account as income, but at a reduced rate. Contact the tax office of the canton where your company’s registered for more information.
There’s no obligation to pay back any money you take out of your pension fund, even if you change your company’s legal form or close it down.
If you have an active occupational benefits plan that allows buy-ins, you can pay the money back in as a voluntary contribution.
A Pillar 3a solution offers self-employed people various opportunities to save on taxes. For example, you can declare your pension contributions on your tax return and have them deducted from your taxable income. This deduction for payments into the third pillar is subject to the following limits:
Payments made into Pillar 3a by December 31 are deducted from your taxable income, significantly reducing your tax bill.
There are also further tax benefits. Income from interest and surpluses is exempt from income tax during the term of your Pillar 3a solution, and lump sums paid out early are taxed at a reduced rate. On top of this, your retirement savings aren’t subject to wealth tax. By contrast, the federal and cantonal tax authorities tax old-age pension annuities in full as income.
For more information about retirement savings for self-employed people, read the blog post “Securely self-employed: optimizing your pension with Pillar 3a”.
Occupational benefits insurance is mandatory if your spouse’s annual salary is more than CHF 21,330.
Self-employed people who employ staff (be it their spouse or anyone else) can voluntarily join their staff pension fund.
AXA’s pension experts share their valuable know-how with you in our blog post “Securely self-employed: optimizing your pension with Pillar 3a” .
Self-employed people in Switzerland can’t insure themselves against unemployment, so they aren’t liable for unemployment insurance contributions.
Property insurance usually covers equipment on a new-for-old basis. Ideally, you should work out the inventory’s current value.
You can take out business interruption insurance to cover the lost income and additional costs.
Our website for self-employed people explains the various forms of insurance available and includes recommendations on self-employment from our experts.
If so, you’re ready to get started! We hope you enjoy turning your bright idea into a business plan and forming a company, and we wish you every success as you get your independent business up and running. Need assistance? We can support you every step of the way with attractive offers and expert know-how. You’ll find everything you need to know to set up a successful company of your own in the AXA blog post “Finally self-employed: how to start your own company in Switzerland”.
We’ll answer them all! From setting up a new company to the day-to-day running of your business, AXA’s experts are on hand to advise and assist you. Simply send us your questions using the form below, and we’ll get back to you as quickly as we can.