Taxes For Members

Do I have to pay tax on a ‘side’ job in Switzerland?

Helena Bachmann
Helena Bachmann - [email protected]
Do I have to pay tax on a ‘side’ job in Switzerland?
Income from 'extra' jobs is taxable. Image by Lukas Bieri from Pixabay

As the tax deadline in most Swiss cantons (March 31st) is fast approaching, you may be wondering whether you need to declare ‘side’ jobs on your tax declaration.


Much depends on what you mean by a ‘side’ and a ‘job’,

Say you did a favour for someone and that person expressed gratitude by giving you 100 francs.

If you are a hardcore law follower, then yes, you can include that 100 francs on your income tax return.

But if you don’t declare it, you are not a tax evader. After all, that 100 francs was not, for all intents and purposes’ an ‘income,’ so you are in the clear.

However, this leeway does not apply to money you earn from any actual work you perform, including second jobs (the one you may have in addition to your main employment) as well as freelance income.

This is how it works

In principle, you must pay tax on earnings from all employment in Switzerland.

If you are  a foreign citizen (for instance, a cross-border worker) subject to at-source taxation (withholding tax) — then you don’t have to worry about declaring your wages.

That’s because your company deducts the tax from your salary each month and sends this amount to cantonal authorities on your behalf.

But most people working in Switzerland (whether Swiss or foreign nationals) must include all their income (from work and other sources), as well as other assets may they have, on tax forms they fill out and send to tax authorities each year.

That includes income from all your jobs — that is primary, secondary, ‘and side’.

READ ALSO: Does your nationality determine how much taxes you will pay in Switzerland?


Will the ‘extra’ work you declare on your tax return raise your tax bracket?

It depends on how much income this side job generates, as well as the tax rate of your canton (which is the lowest in Zug and highest in Geneva).

READ ALSO: Why does the canton of Zug have Switzerland's lowest taxes?

If you earn a significant amount, then, yes, you will have to pay more income tax. But if it is little money, then you shouldn’t worry about a dramatic jump.

This, by the way, applies not only to extra work, but to any job.

If you are a freelancer and earn little money (by Swiss standards) , then your tax burden will be quite low.

This income must, however, be declared, and you will have to pay self-employment tax on it, as a contribution to the social security scheme — at a maximum rate of  9.7 percent of your income.

You can also take out a second-pillar pension  with an insurance company, though, contrary to ‘regular’ workers, this is not required if you are self-employed.

If you need to know more about paying Swiss taxes as a freelancer, this article will help:

READ ALSO: What freelancers in Switzerland need to know about paying tax


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