People keep asking me whether home office days have to be reported on the salary certificate.
The answer is no, but …
Where are these days to be listed if an employer wishes to do so?
In item 15, remarks
The guidelines for completing the salary certificate set out the provisions that apply throughout Switzerland. Employers can adhere to these regulations even if a canton requests otherwise. This is important because employers with subsidiaries in different cantons should be able to use a form with uniform requirements.
According to the Guide, the following is stated on the subject of mandatory and voluntary remarks (see the link available in German, French and Italian) https://www.estv.admin.ch/dam/estv/de/dokumente/dbst/formulare/lohnausweis/la-wegleitung-2023.pdf.download.pdf/la-wegleitung-2023.pdf
Margin note 63 remarks / item 15 of the salary statement (free translation)
All additional, required information that is not entered in one of the other fields must be entered in this section. In addition, information may be provided voluntarily that may be useful to the employee and the tax authority in the assessment procedure. The latter include, for example, information on the amount of child allowances included in the gross salary, the number of shift days worked in the calendar year and the amount of health insurance contributions included in the gross salary.
The margin notes 64 to 71 of the guidelines list compulsory remarks. It is worthwhile to consult the guidelines for a cross-check of the completeness of the salary statements to be prepared.
Other remarks (some of which are also mandatory) cannot be found straight away because they are listed in the questions and answers (FAQ).
An example of other mandatory remarks can be found in the questions and answers to item 12 (withholding taxes): (free translation)
How should the withholding taxes to be paid in arrears or refunded from previous years be listed?
Item 12 of the salary certificate must always show the total amount of withholding tax paid in the relevant calendar year. The amount of withholding tax from previous years to be paid in arrears by the debtor of the taxable service or the amount of withholding tax to be refunded must be listed in item 15 (included in item 12).
Any repayments or additional claims by the tax administration as a result of a tariff correction (since 1 January 2021: recalculation of withholding tax) or subsequent ordinary assessment do not have to be declared.
Can the withholding tax deduction also be listed as a minus amount?
The withholding tax deduction is to be shown without a preceding sign. Only if the withholding taxes to be refunded by the employer are higher than those deducted, this surplus is to be declared as a minus amount. The amount to be repaid has also to be listed in item 15.
And let’s get back to the question of the confirmation of home office days:
In an international context, there may well be requirements for employers to certify home office days. The company can decide whether to add such information as voluntary remarks under item 15 of the salary certificate or whether to provide this certification in a separate document.
Below are a few examples of statements or remarks on the 2022 salary statement:
As is known, at the beginning of 2022 there were still recommendations for home office work due to Covid, which were lifted in Switzerland from April 2022.
From this period, the following duties of confirmation can be found in the consultation agreements between Switzerland and Germany:
- Certification of working days in the home office due to a contractual employment arrangement
- Confirmation of working days or days at home with inability to work and payment of remuneration due to measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic
- Confirmation of working days on which employees remained in Switzerland due to measures taken to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the “Accords amiables” between Switzerland and France of last summer in connection with teleworking by a cross-border commuter from France, the following is stated: (free translation)
In any case, the taxpayer must submit for the tax authority a certificate from his employer stating the number of days he worked at home.
The Mutual Agreement between the Principality of Liechtenstein and Switzerland (out of force since 1.4.2022) concerning the tax treatment of wages and state support payments to employed persons (workers) during the measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic also contains references to certification obligations with regard to the reduction of work-related non-return days.
And for employers with cross-border commuters from Austria, it has been necessary since the beginning of the pandemic to record how many working days were worked abroad (i.e. also in the home office). In ideal cases, the companies have already taken such days into account in the calculation of withholding taxes.
And what are the next steps for 2023?
In connection with the “Accords amiables” between Switzerland and France since 1.1.2023, companies are advised to have the telework/home office days of their cross-border workers recorded and monitored in a timely manner (max. 40% of the working time may be performed as telework in the state of residence). In particular, temporary missions performed by the employee for this employer in the country of residence or in a third country must not exceed 10 days per year.
One of these “Accords amiables” with France contains the following provision: (free translation)
In any case, the taxpayer must have available for the tax authorities a confirmation from his employer stating the percentage of working time or the number of days he has teleworked.
Depending on the circumstances, the special confirmation obligations in the international environment will also have to be organised by the companies for 2023. Whether these are confirmed under the remarks on the salary statement or in a separate document is to be assessed differently depending on the situation and the possibilities of the payroll accounting software.
Foreign working days, as mentioned in the example with Austria, which are to be excluded from the withholding taxes, also require a signature of the employer and the employee. In these cases, a separate detailed calendar is the appropriate option.