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Freelancer: What you need to know

You can't wait to get started with your self-employment, but you're not sure if you've thought of everything? Don't worry. We want to make it as easy as possible for you to get started and are happy to share our knowledge with you.


What do I need to consider if I just want to do a few jobs on the side and earn some extra money?

Simple answer: actually nothing (at KnowS). In principle, a threshold of CHF 2,300 per year applies. Employees whose annual income does not exceed this amount do not have to register a company nor are they subject to a contribution obligation. Attention: This usually results in the not insignificant disadvantage that you are not insured. With KnowS, however, you and your assignment are automatically insured with Zurich Insurance. Here you can find more information about our partnership with Zurich Insurance.

It is also important for you to know whether you are allowed to do freelancing at all. If you work full-time as an employee, this information is usually included in your employment contract. Normally, this should not be a problem.

You can find more information on the topic of "part-time jobs" here:

What if I earn more than CHF 2,300 a year?


In principle, you can still just get started. As soon as you accept the first order in the name of your company, the company is automatically considered to be founded. You can therefore take your time with the entry in the commercial register. An entry in the commercial register is only compulsory when your sole proprietorship generates a turnover of more than CHF 100,000 (from this point on your company is also subject to VAT). However, you can consider registering your company before this point, as the process is uncomplicated and registration has a number of advantages: the publicly accessible information of a registered company conveys trust to customers, you protect your company name and you also receive a VAT number (this is often required for international activities).

At the latest then, you should start thinking about the possible legal forms. The following factors are decisive for your decision: Number of shareholders, assessment of the entrepreneurial risk, available capital and tax advantages and disadvantages.

Entry in the commercial register is mandatory for the following legal forms:

- Sole proprietorships with an annual turnover of more than CHF 100,000.
- Limited liability companies (GmbH)
- Joint-stock companies (AG)
- General and limited partnerships
- Foundations (except ecclesiastical and family foundations)
- Cooperatives
- Associations that are commercially managed
- Branches of companies

If you are unsure which legal form is right for you, you can also ask an expert from the KnowS community:

Which insurances are basically obligatory for me as a freelancer?

In principle, the following are compulsory:

- Old-age and survivors' insurance (AHV)
- Disability insurance (IV)
- the income compensation scheme (EO)
- the family compensation fund
- accident insurance

With regard to your obligation to pay AHV contributions, we recommend that you register with the cantonal compensation office in the canton where your place of business is located. The following applies: Self-employed persons in their main occupation pay the minimum AHV contribution of CHF 496 per year, even if you have not made a profit. Self-employed persons in sideline employment are only liable to pay contributions on request if their profit is up to CHF 2300. Self-employed sideline earnings between CHF 2,300 and CHF 9,300 are subject to reduced contributions if they also earn a gross salary subject to AHV contributions of at least CHF 4,702 in an employment relationship.

Is my job also insured?

Practical: With KnowS, you and your assignment are automatically insured with Zurich Insurance. Here you can find more information about our partnership with Zurich Insurance. You can also find more information here.

Which insurance is voluntary, but makes sense?

As a freelancer, you bear the full risk of absence due to illness. To prevent this from becoming an existential threat to you, daily sickness benefits insurance is well worth considering. This is especially true because, depending on the canton, voluntary daily sickness benefits insurance can also be claimed against tax.

What effects does my sideline business have on my taxes?

If you have set up a sole proprietorship, you still pay tax on the company's profits at the personal tax rate. You can claim expenses such as office supplies. If you need help with your tax declaration, why not get advice from an expert in the KnowS community:


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