140K USD offer for contractor position as product manager. Is ANOBAG my only option that is not a nightmare? Any advice?

Dear all,

I a B permit holder EU citizen and am in advanced talks (got a written offer) with a US based company to have a permanent contract, as a contractor, for a product manager role.

Besides hiring an umbrella company (which this company does not accept and was my initial plan), from my initial research the ANOBAG route would be the best decision (as setting up/managing a GMBH is a complete nightmare (example: How to form a Swiss LLC: the complete checklist | NewCo) and expensive and involves capital allocation and paying me monthly salaries is also nightmarish).

Do you guys have any experience with Anobag? How much tax (total and extra) do you guys pay? Would you recommend me to hire a service provider like taxolution to take care of this? Any other services you use?

I would really love to have insights of persons using Anobag.

Many many thanks in advance!

You can read a number of considerations here: Stolperfalle ANobAG

Having a Swiss payroll company might be advisable in view of the complexities. Who will be paying the deducutions/ contributions? Also, having a dollar-based income when your expenses are in Francs exposes you to risk - should this risk not be borne by your employer?

Dear Epeon,

Thank you for reply!

Having a Swiss payroll company might be advisable in view of the complexities. Who will be paying the deducutions/ contributions?

It will be all on me. The company (US domiciled) will only pay me a brutto salary and does not want to do anything to do with where I am living.

Also, having a dollar-based income when your expenses are in Francs exposes you to risk - should this risk not be borne by your employer?

Thanks for pointing out :: I am aware of the risk and it will also be on me to bear it.

The thing is that to understand if it makes sense to accept the offer, I would need to compute all the extra costs associated with going via the anobag route (plus the costs of having a management service - payroll company that does that - ive booked calls with diferent providers but nothing yet), which at the moment i have no idea, as the information is very sparse.

I also dont know if having a independent contractor permanent contract and not an employee contract even allows the anobag route…

I am deeply confused.

Using a payroll company is simplest. Using ANobAG is cheapest.

I used ANobAG for some years, and in hindsight I would not bother paying for a payroll company if I had to do it again. It was all pretty straightforward and low-admin. You simply pay your occassional social security bills. That’s pretty much it. Any adjustments to social security contributions are done automatically based on your tax returns (at least in Zurich).

I don’t think you’ll have any issues registering as ANobAG with your contract.

Compared to using a payroll company, there is no extra cost of using ANobAG. Both require paying your full Swiss social security contributions from your salary. Both require you paying the social security office’s admin fee (the payroll company may work this into their flat fees). You only pay an extra fee if you use a payroll company (the payroll company’s flat fees).

The main advantage of a payroll company is that they already have their accident insurance, pension fund, etc. set up, which saves a little initial work (though a pension fund is not obligatory for ANobAG). But for what you are paying, the added-value over ANobAG is quite minimal, in my opinion. It would be different if your employer was in an EU or EFTA country, as then there would be a lot of paperwork/complications involved, due to bilateral agreements. But ANobAG would not be possible in that case anyway.

You can find some info about ANobAG here:


I assume you will be performing the work whilst physically in Switzerland?

Thank you for the great reply. Really appreciate ::

Unfortunately, I cant use the umbrella company (the USA company does not allow that unfortunately). And after some calls today I also cant use ANOBAG because I have permanent independent consultant contract and not of an employee :frowning:

So my only option is to setup the GMBH but honestly for 140k usd I do not think it is worthy due to additional costs and additional burocratic nightmare.

Yes, exactly. Fully remote position from the USA and I will be working remotely from Switzerland.

What happens if you just contract with them directly as an individual? Why do you need to set up a GmbH?

Self employed needs at least 3 different customers and income of one cannot be more than 50% of your revenue to no get under pseudo self employment: FAQ Work in Switzerland - Employer Abroad - Taxolution Advisory LLC Taxolution Advisory LLC

Huh? Surely, either you’re a permanent independent consultant and you pay your contributions as self-employed, or you’re a pseudo-employee and so can pay under ANOBAG?

According to my research today, self-employed/sole propitorship is not possible cause you need a minimum of 3 different customers and one of those cannot generate more than 50% of your reveneu. On my case I would have 1 customer generating 100% of my income.

And ANOBAG is not possible because I am not an employee of the company. I have an independent contractor contract and not an employee contract.

Just solve this question: are you self-employed or not. If not, who is your employer (tip: there’s only one possible employer).

Once you’ve solved the simple yes or now question above, then you do:

Yes (self-employed): pay contributions yourself as a self-employed person.

Or alternatively, tell them you don’t need to pay and contributions because you are not self-employed and neither an employee. :smiley:

Unfortunately, it is not that easy because US and Swiss law differ with regards to that. I was in this situation a couple of times in the past. Typically, US companies write into their contracts explicitly that you are an independent contractor, they are not your employer, and that they will not take on any responsibilities that comes with that (corresponding to the W9 form in the US). However, this is something that does not exist in Switzerland. To be considered self employed, you need to fulfill certain conditions (at least 3 customers, acting on your own behalf, etc…). So Swiss law considers you to be an employee, but you cannot register as an ANobAG because you have no employment contract.

I always solved that with my own GmbH, which makes things simple (the GmbH can then have a contract with the US company and you are just an employee of the GmbH). But if you do not have a GmbH yet, this has indeed a certain overhead.


Sure, but if the Swiss deem you to be an employee, then why would they deem you to be an employee for (whatever) purpose but not for the purposes of ANobAG? If they say, you are not self-employed because in substance you are an employee, then surely you take the substance over form approach for ANobAG purposes too?

In theory yes, in practice they will not accept an ANobAG registration without an employment contract (at least this was my experience, there may be even cantonal differences because the cantonal AHV office decides this). This is obviously quite stupid, and you might be successful in taking legal action against it, but this would be very expensive and complicated.

Though I’m curious if you make this contracting arrangement, who they would expect to make the contributions: the ‘employee’ as self-employed, or the ‘employer’ as ‘deemed employer’.

I wouldn’t take no for an answer so quickly here. If you work for just one company, then from a Swiss perspective, you are an employee of that company…even if the foreign company sees it differently.

My experience was that I simply filled out the ANobAG form, declaring my anticipated income (which can only ever be an anticipated income because exchange rates fluctuate). I did have to provide a copy of the employment/contractor agreement, but that was more of an afterthought.

If you want to go the ANobAG route, I suggest you just go to the social security office and register as ANobAG there. I’m sure it varies depending on the canton and the temperament/knowledgebility of the employees, but here in Zurich it was a breeze.


I worked as anobag in 2022 and 2023 for a German company. I thought it would be the easy way but after 20 month I arrived to the conclusion it was not possible anymore. The AHV will check two things:

  • Do you have the BVG coverage: My answer was NO because I do not need it as I still work 80% in Switzerland and have this coverage.
  • Do you have an insurance for accident. My answer was NO and I was unable to get one because as anobag you are not an employer and only employer can contract an insurance for accident.
    I ended swearing I was stopping my activity and the people of AHV gave the final bill and the nightmare was finished.

This year I built a GmbH and after all I must say it is not very complicated. The GmbH gives the possibility to make tax optimisation and this pays off quickly the fees to make the GmbH. I worked with startup.ch where it is cheap and nicely guided. As a GmbH it was no pain to get contract for BVG and insurance accident.

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You can buy private accident insurance.