COVID-19 in Tax Blog
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The Swiss Federal Council has cancelled the recommendation issued on 22 June 2020 regarding working from home. However, many Swiss companies are still advising their employees to work from home if possible, or are having a phased approach for returning to the office. In addition, the impact of the current spikes in new COVID-19 cases across Europe will need to be considered.
Update on Swiss travel restrictions: New list of high-risk countries as of 23 November 2020.
Updated Quarantine Country list in force as per 29 October 2020. Since 11 May 2020 various steps have been taken to relax restrictions on entry into Switzerland. Entry restrictions at the borders to all Schengen states were lifted on 15 June 2020. Since then, the internal borders between the Schengen states and Switzerland have been re-opened, and there is again full freedom of movement of persons, including all EU/EFTA states and the United Kingdom.
The tax agreement between France and Switzerland regarding cross-border workers mentions that employer certification is necessary for cross-border workers to be taxed in their country of employment (Switzerland), despite working from home in France during the COVID-19 crisis.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought drastic changes to working practices. The Swiss government has encouraged employees to work remotely. It is very likely that – despite the relaxation of restrictions – employees will continue to work from home on a regular basis.
This is not without risks for employers. To mitigate these risks a number of issues need to be considered from an employment law perspective.
The future of remote working: mutual agreement between Switzerland and France for cross-border commuters was extended until 31 December 2020
On 20 July, the French and Swiss governments announced that the tax agreement would end on 31 August.
Based on information from the federal authorities, we have now learned that given the rise of COVID-19 cases both in Switzerland and France, the tax agreement is extended intil 31 December this year.
As corporate global mobility teams respond to the myriad of challenges of COVID-19, many are considering a completely new approach and exploring the concept of virtual assignments.
COVID-19 mutual agreement between Switzerland and France for cross-border commuters ends on 31 August
In May, the French and Swiss governments issued details of a provisional mutual agreement concerning cross-border workers who would otherwise have lost their cross-border tax status due to government imposed travel restrictions. Both countries agreed to apply the same tax treatment to cross-border workers as if they had physically crossed the border to go to their usual place of work.
COVID-19 Critical Immigration Measures Report: Response of authorities worldwide and its effect on the immigration status of employees
What effect has COVID-19 had on your immigration programme? How has it affected the immigration status of your employees?
The Critical Immigration Measures Report outlines the response of immigration authorities to the COVID-19 situation, focusing on measures that businesses may be considering, such as reduced working hours and salary, unpaid leave/furloughs, redundancies and remote working. It highlights actions, time limitations and other immigration-related issues that need to be considered when changing conditions of employment in the current climate.
Switzerland and Italy have just concluded a provisional mutual agreement, which settles the question of taxation of their respective cross-border workers (*) who are working from home. For the period from February until the end of June, cross-border commuters working from home will be deemed for tax purposes to have travelled physically to their usual place of work.
Switzerland soon to renew strict enforcement of European social security affiliation rules as COVID-19 restrictions lifted
In response to the coronavirus outbreak, many of the EU/EFTA countries have shown flexibility with regard to determination of the applicable social security legislation.
However, with falling virus infection numbers across Europe, the question arises about how long the flexible measures will stay in place.
The Swiss federal social security authority has recently amended its guidelines: it intends to end the flexibility on a country-by-country basis.