• Petra von Bergen, Director |

Impacts of the Covid crisis on the 2021 salary certificate

The corona crisis and related measures still have a significant impact on work routines and lead to questions when preparing the salary certificates for the year 2021. Please find below some key points to consider for the salary certificate:

  • Handling of payments to employees for the costs of their home office, such as lump-sum compensation for business use of private homes, reimbursement of expenses for work equipment, etc. The question arises whether such payments should be considered as a taxable/salary component subject to social security or as an expense payment. The respective declaration in the salary certificate varies accordingly. 
  • The box F or G, respectively, continues to be ticked for employees, who can use a company car provided by their employer or if the company offers discounted canteen meals or lunch checks. The fringe benefit occurs regardless of whether the employee works at the office or from home. 
  • Short-time work compensation paid out by the employer and financed by unemployment insurance needs to be declared under point 7 in the salary certificate. If an employer continues to pay the full salary, a declaration of the full salary should be listed under point 1. In addition, it is useful to disclose the period of the short-time work in the comments field (section 15). 
  • If “Corona daily allowances”, which were paid in the event of an interruption in employment due to the unavailability of childcare or due to quarantine, have been paid to the employer (in case of continued salary payment by the employer) they need to be declared under point 1 in the salary certificate. If such “Corona daily allowances” have been paid directly to the employee or self-employed individuals, they must be declared in their private tax return in section 3.4 (Canton of Zurich).

Increase of private share for company vehicle

One of the most important changes in 2022 is the increase of the private share for company vehicles from 0.8% to 0.9% per month. This increase covers the monetary benefit for the use of the company vehicle for commuting from home to work. Consequently, the offsetting of the commute as income in the tax return will no longer apply at the federal level. Also, the obligation to declare the share of field work in the salary certificate will cease to apply. The Canton of Zurich has already confirmed that it will adopt these amendments.

Social security contributions 2022

As of 1 January 2022, there will be no change in AHV/IV/EO/ALV contributions and upper limits. The relevant thresholds for the pension fund will also remain unchanged.

Social security agreement Switzerland – UK

On 11 August 2021, the Federal Council signed a new social security agreement between Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

This is intended to secure the coordination of the social security systems of both countries in the long-term. Following UK's withdrawal from the EU, the social security systems of Switzerland and the UK were no longer regulated under the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons. The new social security agreement grants insured persons largely equal treatment and easier access to social security benefits. In addition, excess insurance and insurance gaps for people working in both countries will be avoided. The agreement is provisionally applicable as of 1 November 2021, until final approval by both parliaments.

Change of practice regarding salary payments after termination of employment

Another change, which was introduced in 2021, but has not received much attention so far, is still noteworthy. Following a decision of the Swiss Federal Court, a change of practice regarding salary payments after termination of an employment was introduced as of 1 January 2021. According to this change, such payments must now be processed according to the principle of acquisition year (Erwerbsjahrprinzip). Consequently, social security contribution rates of the determination year (Bestimmungsjahr) are applicable. Unemployment insurance contributions (ALV) that have already been deducted from the salary in the respective period must be taken into consideration. Furthermore, regulations of the determination year regarding ALV thresholds, amount of exempt income for AHV pensioners as well as marginal income are relevant. The guidelines on the collection of contributions (WBB) has been amended accordingly (margin no. 2036 et seq.)

The implementation of this practice in payroll systems could pose a challenge. In particular for employees who have left the company several years ago but have still received long-term incentives since then and will continue to do so.

Conclusion

Although the year 2022 seems to bring few changes, payroll specialists will still face some challenges when it comes to correctly reflecting new as well as existing regulations in the payroll.

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