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Sirgit Meier

Peter Lang

Possibilities and limits of tax planning in the area of earned income and pensions - national and international


Workshop on the occasion of the ISIS seminar on 9/10 September 2019 entitled "Tax planning in the area of conflict between cost optimisation, tax compliance and Good citizenship - opportunities and risks".

The corresponding case solutions can be purchased for CHF
(introductory price)
be on sale in the shop
The case solutions and other documents can be obtained free of charge in the shop.

Block: Principles of occupational benefit planning

Case 1: Collectivity

The A. AG runs an architectural office. For the implementation of Pillars 2a and 2b, it has joined a collective foundation by means of an enveloping solution.

The total contributions are borne 25% by the employee and 75% by the employer. In the financial years 2014 to 2016, A. AG has three employees:

Shareholders B and C and part-time employee D. Only shareholders B and C were insured under Pillar 2b.

As part of the assessment procedure, the tax administration only accepts 50% of the contributions attributable to pillar 2a as business-related with regard to shareholders' employer contributions.

Question: How is the situation to be assessed from a tax point of view?

Case 2: Collectivity

The A AG has joined the PAT Sammelstiftung for the implementation of the 2nd pillar. The pension solution provides for the following collectives:

Question: How is the situation to be assessed from a tax point of view?

Case 3: Collectivity

The A AG provides consulting services in the financial sector for companies (KMU) as well as private individuals. According to the extract from the commercial register, the company has the following employees:

  • B: Board of Directors with individual signature
  • C and D: Directors with joint signatures of two
  • E: Without function specification with collective signature for two

A AG has concluded the following affiliation agreements with the F Foundation to implement its occupational pension plan:

In addition, there is an affiliation agreement with Foundation G with the following elements:

At times, Plan 3 was exclusively B-insured due to the income situation.

In years X, Mr. C exceeded the wage threshold of CHF 150,000, as car costs of CHF 5,000 were covered by the employer. As these remunerations were not paid on a regular basis, they were not taken into account as the relevant salary on the basis of the regulations, which meant that no insurance was provided under pension plan 2.

C was insured under Plan B in a later tax period as a result of a bonus paid.

Question: How is the situation to be assessed from a tax point of view?

Case 4: Collectivity

A is a self-employed dentist (born 1951). His wife B is employed as a dependent employee in her husband's practice from 2007 to 2009 (born in 1950). In addition, A employs two further persons born in 1970 and 1973.

A joined Foundation D for the implementation of Pillar 2 in 2007. According to the statutes, family members can also take out insurance in the foundation. The plan is structured as follows:

In the tax period 2007, A makes a purchase of CHF 200,000 and B makes a purchase of CHF 100,000.

Question: How is the situation to be assessed from a tax point of view?

Block: Tied self-provision

Case 5: "Membership" of a pension scheme

B continues to work as a teacher after her retirement at age 64 in 2010. She reduced her workload when she reached retirement age (October 2010) with effect from November 2010 and had the payment of 2nd pillar retirement benefits postponed to the extent of her part-time workload. For the 2010 tax period, it claimed a Pillar 3a deduction of CHF 16,000.

Question: How is the situation to be assessed from a tax point of view?

Case 6: "Leaving" Switzerland

C will give up his employment at the age of 60 in 2016. He does not draw his Pillar 3a when he gives up gainful employment. In the following, he/she moves his/her residence abroad without notifying the Bank Foundation of this change of residence. He does not report to the bank foundation until 2022.

Question: How is the situation to be assessed from the consultant's point of view?

Block: Cross-border issues

Case 7: Posting within the group

Christian Mayerhofer, Austrian citizen and resident in Vienna, was responsible for modernizing the IT department of the Austrian Group company. He will now be sent by the Austrian company to Switzerland for one year to accompany the modernization of IT in the Swiss subsidiary and to contribute his knowledge.

A so-called "secondment contract" is added to his local employment contract. His salary is still paid in euros by the Austrian company.

Mr Mayerhofer will stay in Bern during this time, while his wife and two children will remain in Vienna.


Mr Mayerhofer will remain in Bern for a longer period of time. He concludes a two-year local employment contract with the Swiss company. His wife and two children also move to Switzerland.

His employment contract with the Austrian company is "paused". Christian Mayerhofer receives an assurance that he will be offered a comparable position on his return to Austria.

Question: Which tax and social security law questions arise?

Case 8: Employment in several countries

Bruno Kuster is being promoted. He is now responsible for Marketing & Sales not only in Switzerland, but also in Austria and Germany. In his new position he will travel a lot. He estimates that he will probably work about two days a week at the Swiss company's headquarters in St. Gallen and will otherwise travel on business in Switzerland, Germany and Austria.

Bruno Kuster is a Swiss citizen and lives in Bregenz (Austria).

They are asked whether the foreign sister companies should employ him directly, with the result that he has three part-time contracts, or whether he should continue to be employed only by the Swiss group company, but the latter should charge his services to the foreign sister companies.

Questions: What are the tax and social security advantages and disadvantages of the two options?

Case 9: Cross-border commuter or international weekly resident

Sarah Henze, a German citizen, lives in Weil am Rhein (Germany) and works in the city of Basel as head of the legal department of an insurance company. From 1 June 2019, she will work in her home office on Mondays and Wednesdays.


Ms Henze lives in Dortmund and only returns to her place of residence irregularly on certain weekends. On these weekends she works from home (home office) on a daily basis.

Question: What are the social security and tax law issues?

Case 10: Home office if resident in Switzerland

Nicole Wollner, a German citizen, lives with her family in Bern (Switzerland) and works at her employer's headquarters in Dortmund (Germany), where she stays three days a week. Two days a week she works from home (home office).

Question: What are the social security and tax law issues?


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