The SSK Working Group on Withholding Taxes published updated the FAQ 2022 in relation to the circular letter no. 45 of the FTA on 26.9.2022. In addition to a different numbering of the questions, a new question with answer no. 15.1 was added.
This relates to a clarification of the rate-determining salary for payments after leaving (e.g. a bonus which only becomes known after leaving and is then paid out) for the monthly model and the annual model. However, these provisions do not apply when using ELM-5-compatible salary software. This means that in many cases the explanations published at the end of June 2022 in the Addendum to the Swiss Wage Standard (ELM) Guidelines Version 5.0 will apply.
In the following, the answers are compared, adapted to the presentation and, where missing, supplemented with the official provisions.
|FAQ 2022 Circular letter no. 45 FTA 26.9.2022||Addendum to the “Guidelines Lohnstandard-CH (ELM) Version 5” Edition 30.6.2022|
|FAQ 15.1 How is the rate-determining salary to be calculated for benefits that become due after leaving the company?||ADD-6.4 How are withholding taxes to be calculated in the case of subsequent payments after departure if a change of canton has taken place at the same time?|
In the case of additional payments due after termination of the employment relationship (e.g. bonus payments decided in the following year), all income earned by the employee in the same month (in Switzerland and abroad) must be used to determine the rate.
If this income is not known, the periodic benefits of the month of resignation must be added to the additional payment to determine the rate. If the withdrawal was made during a month, the benefits of the withdrawal month must be converted to 30 days.
|Monthly model (without change of canton)
In the case of additional payments due after the departure, the worldwide income must be determined for the calculation of the rate-determining income (QST-SB* wage).
Because the company may not know the worldwide income of the person who has left at the time the benefit is due, the periodic benefits of the month of leaving (monthly model) – in the case of leaving in less than one month added up to 30 – can be added to the additional payment as an alternative for the calculation of the QST-SB wage.
Additional payments due after termination of the employment relationship in the year of leaving.
All periodic benefits in the year of leaving, converted to an annual salary if applicable, shall be taken into account to determine the rate, plus all aperiodic benefits and the benefit in question.
|Annual model (without change of canton)
Because the company may not know the worldwide income of the person leaving at the time the benefit is due, the periodic benefits of the year of leaving (annual model) – in the case of leaving during the year, added up to 360 days – can be added to the additional payment for the calculation of the QST-SB wage as an alternative.
|Additional payments due in the following year after termination of the employment relationship (e.g. bonus payments decided in the following year).
All periodic benefits in the year of departure, converted to an annual salary if applicable, are to be taken into account for the determination of the rate, plus all non-periodic benefits which are paid out in the following year, as well as the benefit in question.
|A change of canton is basically treated as a departure in the previous canton and an entry in the new canton. This means that the accumulated salary bases start at zero after a change of canton.
Change to a canton with monthly model: the periodic benefits of the month of leaving are added to the bonus payment (no choice).
Change to a canton with an annual model
– Subsequent payment is made in the year of leaving:
Conversion of the periodic benefits since the change of canton to one year + all non-periodic benefits since the change of canton.
– Subsequent payment is made in the following year:
Conversion of the periodic benefits since the change of canton to one year + all aperiodic benefits since the change of canton.
|A change of canton is basically treated as a departure in the previous canton and an entry in the new canton.
This means in the annual model that the accumulated salary bases start at zero after a change of canton.If a change of canton has taken place between the leaving and the subsequent payment, both variants (monthly and annual model) are accepted:- For the determination of the QST-SB wage, the additional payment is calculated separately analogously to a leaving in the previous canton and entering in the new canton. The periodic benefits of the month or year of leaving are not offset.
– To determine the QST-SB wage, the additional payment is added to the periodic benefits of the month or year of leaving.
In the case of benefits after withdrawal without a change of canton, the differences in the calculation in the annual model should not be underestimated depending on the situation. The ELM variation only takes into account the periodic benefits.
In the case of benefits after leaving with a change of canton, it becomes somewhat more complex because the ELM option offers a right of choice. A change of canton can also occur in the following situation, for example: An employee was living in the canton of Bern and was working for an employer in the canton of Fribourg. This employee then leaves the company and leaves Switzerland. For the bonus payment after leaving the company and in this case leaving Switzerland, the canton of Fribourg must be taken into account.
It is also important to note that employers must carry out many clarifications for bonus payments due after leaving the company if they want to be sure that the withholding tax calculations are correct. In addition to the question of the competent canton, the personal circumstances must also be checked again. For example, a person who was previously married may have separated in the meantime (change from tariff code B or C to A), etc.
The explanations show that the withholding tax calculations can turn out differently due to the different treatments with or without a certified payroll programme. In practice, users will then have problems with this if, for example, they only consult the circular, although they work with an ELM-certified payroll programme.
In my one-day training courses on the basics of withholding tax, I deal with a wide range of differences. A few selected differences will be dealt with in my topical seminar at the turn of the year on 9.1.2023.
Link to the seminars: https://www.zulaufgmbh.ch/en/events-and-workshops/