Commercial LawCompany creation / Startups

Commercial law: How to become self-employed?

Would you like to work as a freelancer? In Switzerland, this professional status exists, you only need to complete a few steps to obtain it. Lawrence explains everything about it! 

What is a “self-employed” worker?

By definition, a self-employed person is an individual working in his or her own name, on his or her own account. He or she assumes the financial risks of its activity. The self-employed person is associated with his or her company name, usually a sole proprietorship, a public limited company or a limited liability company. Invoices are issued in his name and the company’s professional infrastructure belongs to him. 

A freelancer works for clients and is free to organise his activity. 

In principle, any activity can be carried out as a self-employed worker! It is sufficient to obtain an authorization by meeting certain criteria, such as: having a reputation, in some cases training and collaborating with a supervisory authority in particular. 


How to acquire the freelancer status? 

The application must be made after the start of the professional activity and must include supporting documents such as invoices. 

We advise you not to wait too long with the registration, so that you can benefit from social protection as soon as possible! 

The authority competent to grant self-employed status is the compensation fund. It recognizes claims on the basis of the AHV law, the guidelines of the Federal Social Insurance Office and the jurisprudence of the Federal Court. 

All you have to do is fill in the application form and attach the supporting documents attesting  your activity. This may include: factions, established conventions, bids made, etc.


Do I have to announce myself to the trade register? 

Only by registering with the compensation fund will you be granted self-employed status. 

Entry in the commercial register is mandatory for sales of CHF 100,000 or more. It will protect the name of your company in your field of activity, will require you to keep accounts to be provided to the registry. You will also be subject to prosecution by way of bankruptcy. 


What about insurance? 

Occupational pension provision does not cover individuals with self-employed status. Thus, payments to the 2nd and 3rd pillars are not automatic. It will be up to you to establish them if you wish. We recommend that you do this to ensure your retirement. 

As a self-employed person, you will be subscribed to basic medical insurance, which is compulsory. You are free to take out other personal and professional insurance policies at a later date. 

Please note that a self-employed person cannot be covered by unemployment. 


What about taxes? 

As self-employed people often do not have a fixed salary, you will be asked to make a tax declaration of your business accounts and private assets. 

Taxation also depends on the legal form of your company. In a SA, you are considered as an employee. Your professional income and your private assets will be completely separated in this case. 

If you need help with the process, Lawrence is there to assist you!

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