Which adjustments are important for the salary certificates 2023?
The following provision is one of the main changes to the 2023 version of the salary certificate guidelines (margin number 10, explanations on field G): (free translation)
Canteen catering/lunch checks/payment for meals
This box must be ticked if the employee is given lunch cheques (see margin no. 18). A note must also be included if the employer gives the employee the opportunity to have lunch or dinner at a reduced price in a staff restaurant. This also applies if it is not known whether the employee actually makes use of this option.
This box must also be ticked for employees who work 40 % – 60 % of their working hours outside their usual place of work and therefore receive a lunch allowance. For employees who work more than 60 % of their working hours outside their usual place of work and therefore receive a lunch allowance, the following note must be included in the salary statement under item 15: “Lunch paid by employer”.
Previously, unless otherwise stipulated in an approved expenses regulation, only a cross had to be made in field G if the compensation for external meals (expenses) was for at least 50% of the working time or more.
- This field was overlooked before the adjustment because the information usually has to be prepared separately.
- The distinction between 40-60% and over 60% is likely to require a little more work.
Are there any significant changes in the 2024 guidelines compared to the 2023 version?
The adjustments compared to version 2023 have again been marked with a black bar on the page so that companies can identify the differences more quickly (available in German, French and Italian) https://www.estv.admin.ch/estv/de/home/direkte-bundessteuer/lohnausweis.html .
There were no significant changes, but rewordings. Based on various inputs, it was suggested that the explanations on expenses should be modified. These explanations will not only apply from 2024, which is why a check is recommended before the 2023 salary statements are prepared.
Companies with expense regulations approved by the tax authorities should regularly check whether they have listed all expenses in their approved regulations. Only then can these be paid out tax-free. This has been increasingly important due to newer types of expenses such as home office expenses.
Companies without approved expense regulations
For the option of not having to list actual travel, catering and accommodation expenses on the salary statement, the explanations in margin numbers 52 and 53 must be observed.
However, other actual expenses must always be reported in addition to the lump sum expenses (see margin no. 54). If a company does not have an approved expense regulation and lump-sum expenses are paid out, it is always at the discretion of the tax commissioner not to accept such expenses. For persons subject to withholding tax, such lump-sum expenses are subject to withholding tax. For this reason, it should always be checked whether expenses in lump-sum format really make sense.
Furthermore, the social security authorities do not have to adhere to the requirements of the tax authorities and can make a separate assessment.
Addition to the wording for electrical vehicles (free translation)
In this field, the value that accrues to the employee as a result of being authorised to use a business vehicle privately must be stated. If the employer bears all the costs and the employee only has to pay the fuel or energy costs for longer private journeys at weekends or during holidays, the amount to be declared per month is 0.9% of the purchase price including all optional extras (excluding VAT), but at least CHF 150 per month if the purchase price is less than CHF 16,667.
Please note: In the guidelines on the relevant salary (WML), the AHV has stipulated that charging stations etc. paid for by the employer must be included in the calculation of the 0.9% (see separate blog https://www.zulaufgmbh.ch/en/further-publications-and-changes-from-1-january-2024-in-the-area-of-social-security/ ).
From a tax perspective, such costs are more likely to be considered as a separate one-off benefit. Especially if the charging station remains, even if the company car is replaced. Apparently there is no uniform opinion on this in the cantons.
The different assessment of tax and social security obligations continues to be a stumbling stone in payroll accounting.
Addition to marginal number 64 (free translation)
Number of days with loss of earnings compensation: These must always be stated if the corresponding loss of earnings compensation was not paid by the employer and is therefore not included in the gross salary in accordance with section 8.
If the employee receives the loss of earnings compensation from the employer, this amount must always be certified in the salary statement (item 7, or if not possible in item 1 with a corresponding comment in item 15).
This provision was already included in the FAQs. It has now also been integrated into the guidelines and is therefore also applicable for the 2023 salary statements.
Questions and answers on the salary certificate (Frequently asked questions (FAQ) on the salary certificate or pension certificate):
In addition to the adjustment of the amount for the fire brigade salary to CHF 5300 under “Allg. 8”, the question “Allg. 3” was expanded.
FAQ Allg. 3
The additions relate primarily to salary payments in cryptocurrency. Reference is made to two different documents. One document was updated very clearly and published at the end of October 2023. (the passages in italics and bold were added in 2024 version – free translation)
How should the remuneration received in foreign currency (or cryptocurrency) be converted?
In principle, the salary must be converted using the daily exchange rate (http://www.ictax.admin.ch) depending on the situation when a benefit is received or a fixed legal entitlement to a benefit is acquired (see also section “Allg. 5”). Only for periodic benefits and if this is not otherwise possible the following procedure can be used. A distinction must be made between two different situations:
- Employers who convert the remuneration for monthly payroll or withholding tax accounting declare the annual salary converted in this way (see www.ictax.admin.ch for the conversion).
- Employers who do not convert on a monthly basis will convert the gross salary in foreign currency using the annual average exchange rate determined by the Swiss National Bank (www.ictax.admin.ch).
If this rate is not known, the average rate of the last month can be used.
A salary payment in a cryptocurrency (payment token) is generally treated in the same way as a salary payment in a foreign currency and the same procedures apply. Further information on the tax treatment of the payment of payment tokens to employees can be found in the tax information of the SSK in cooperation with the FTA on the subject of cryptocurrency in chapter 9 p. 32 ff. and in the FTA working paper of 14 December 2021 “Cryptocurrencies and Initial Coin/Token Offerings (ICOs/ITOs) as subject to wealth, income and profit tax, withholding tax and stamp duties”. (The documents are not availble in English).
When preparing salary certificates, it is worth going through the various provisions again in detail and checking whether all information has been recorded and processed correctly. This is the only way to ensure that they are complete and correct.