Questions and answers on withholding taxes for employers

In cooperation with the SSK working group on withholding taxes, the federal tax administration (FTA) published questions and answers (FAQs) on circular no. 45 on 23 November 2021. These contain frequently asked questions from the practice. The new regulations have been in force since 1.1.2021 and companies, insurers and compensation offices (SSL) have had to apply these regulations since then. Most of the questions and answers deal with detailed aspects of the correct calculation of withholding taxes, which is not surprising.

The Swissdec association published FAQs on salary standard CH (ELM) version 5.0 as a modified version on 27.9.2021 (- new version and name see below). These deal with questions and answers on the ELM salary statement and ELM withholding taxes. For companies with payroll software that have implemented the new provisions on withholding taxes, this information is also very useful. The focus is on practical handling questions as well as details on calculations such as how to handle unpaid leave, tariff code applications, occupation percentage calculations and transmission, work on call and tax rate determination, opinion on deferred payments, examples of non-monthly payments.

The following overview compares the explanations of Swissdec in the standard description and the FAQs with the focus on the FAQ of the FTA/SSK working group on withholding taxes. It is definitely worth studying the documents in detail (see two links to the FAQs below).

FAQ 2021 Circular No. 45 FTA

FAQ no. Topic calculation Are there any explanations in ELM QST Standard 5.0 or the FAQ from Swissdec? – new Addendum to Guidelines Lohnstandard-CH (ELM) Version 5.0 Edition 01.02.2022
1 Calculation of exclusion of days worked abroad yes, more detailed examples FAQ 2.9, 2.10 (not included in the new addendum)
4/5 Rounding rules
6 Options for calculating 13th salary according to circular letter or ELM 5.0 yes, only ELM 5.0 without special rate calculation, explanations in FAQ 2.12 (addendum 6.1)
7 Several part-time jobs with total gross income for rate determination only possible with corporate group structures Diagram in the standard, but no explicit exclusion of aggregation if not in a corporate group
8 Is extrapolation to > 100% possible with several activities incl. substitute income? Is not explicitly mentioned in the diagram, but is also not excluded
9 Grossing up the family allowance in the case of several gainful activities partially
17 Reconversion of family allowances in the case of entry and exit during the month not explicitly mentioned
18 Calculation of rate determination for payment directly by the compensation office FAQ 2.21 Differentiation special case GE (addendum 6.10)
19 Retrospective payment of family allowances Example in ELM QST Standard 5.0
10 Rate-determining income for disability pensions (according to KS BSV via QST and not KS 45) No
11/12 missing
13/14 median value samples and rate determination Diagram in ELM QST Standard 5.0
15 Questions on the conversion to the fixed hours or days in the monthly and annual model In ELM QST Standard 5.0
16 Periodic and aperiodic benefits FAQ 2.8 (not included in the new addendum)
20 Authorised canton: Special case of various weekly residence cantons No, not explicitly
2 Special case offsetting of meal costs to correct the meal deduction No
Topic tax assessment Are there any explanations in ELM QST Standard 5.0 or the FAQ from Swissdec? 
3 Economic hardship in the case of alimony payments and residence abroad
21 special professional expenses for expatriates – deduction options



Two questions no. 11 and 12 are missing. This is due to the fact that no consensus could yet be met in the area of payments due after withdrawal. Therefore, an update of the FAQ FTA is expected in the near future. Depending on the outcome, Swissdec will also have to adapt FAQ-2.4.

Detailed queries on the implementation of the new regulations will engage the authorities, insurers and companies for a longer period of time due to the complexity.

Link to the FAQ FTA in German:

Addendum in 2022

The FAQ on Lohnstandard-CH (ELM) version in German has been renamed Addendum to Guidelines Lohnstandard-CH (ELM) version 5.0 with edition date 1.2.2022.
Some questions were directly incorporated into the wage standard (former questions FAQ-2.1 to 2.11). Add-6.1 to 6.16 are identical to the former FAQ-2.12 to 2.27.

Link to the Addendum in German:

Both documents are also available in French and Italian but not in English.

Nice to have you here. Would you like to make an appointment?

Subscribe to Newsletter
Consent Management Platform by Real Cookie Banner