Employment & Taxes

Would you like to run your own business or are you looking for employment? Do you have questions about taxes and other duties in Switzerland? Here is an overview.

  • Establishing a Company in the Canton of Bern

    Are you considering setting up your company in the city or canton of Bern? The Economic Development Agency of the Canton of Bern can assist you in this area.

  • Work Permits

    The conditions for residing and working in Switzerland are regulated by federal law and can vary depending on many factors including nationality, occupation, fixed quotas and the principle of priority. Each application is examined individually by the Swiss authorities, meaning that we cannot give you specific information.

    EU and EFTA citizens...

    ... benefit from the free movement of persons. They may stay in Switzerland without a visa for up to three months and look for a job during this time. However, you are required to register with your local municipality (further information relocation & arrival).

    Third-country nationals outside of the EU and EFTA...

    .... require a work permit (which in turn requires an employment contract) before taking up employment in Switzerland. However, a job offer is not a guarantee that a work permit will be granted. Work permits must be assessed by various Swiss authorities.

    Special conditions apply to individuals with privileged status

    Regardless of whether you would like to be employed or open your own business, please contact the FDFA Protocol (bilateral) or the Protocol service of the Swiss Mission in Geneva (multilateral) for questions relating to applying for work permits.

    Additional information: ch.ch, Working as a Foreigner in Switzerland

  • Job Vacancy Portals

    Make sure that your application documents are complete: cover letter, résumé/CV (including photo) and copies of all your certificates and diplomas. References are usually required as well.

  • Self-Employment

    Would you like to set up your own business? The SME Portal of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research can assist you in this area.

    Individuals with privileged status are asked to contact the FDFA Protocol (bilateral) or the Protocol service of the Swiss Mission (multilateral) for further information.

  • Taxes

    Foreign nationals

    ... living in Switzerland and holding a residence permit (C permit) must declare their income and assets annually using a standard tax return.

    Depending on your work or residence permit, taxes may be deducted directly from your salary.

    Individuals with privileged status

    ... Special conditions apply. If you have questions in this regard, please contact the FDFA Protocol (bilateral) or the Protocol service of the Swiss Mission (multilateral) for further information. However, if you have a question about value-added tax, you may contact the Federal Tax Administration. See also FDFA, Tax Privileges 

    In Switzerland, which is a federal state, tax laws are not uniform throughout the country but rather regulated by the individual cantons. As a result, the regulations and tax rates differ from canton to canton. There are municipal taxes as well as cantonal and federal taxes.

    Fiduciaries: Association of Fiduciaries

  • Radio and Television License Fees (Serafe)

    Newcomers moving to Switzerland from abroad without privileged status must pay this public-service license fee. Individuals with privileged status are exempt from this charge.

  • Value-Added Tax (VAT)
    • Individuals who do not possess privileges, immunities or facilities may import goods with a value of up to CHF 300 into Switzerland without having to pay the value-added tax. The Swiss VAT must be paid even if the foreign VAT is not refunded.

    • Special rules apply to individuals with privileges, immunities and facilities in Switzerland. Refunds of Swiss VAT are handled by the Swiss Federal Tax Administration. The FDFA Protocol (bilateral) and the Protocol service of the Swiss Mission in Geneva (multilateral) are not responsible.
    • FDFA, Tax Privileges 

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