Working in France with a Swiss contract

Hello Mustachians,

I’m not sure where to post this, let me know if I should move this post somewhere else…

I’ve been working in Switzerland since I started my carreer in consulting (~5 years ago) and received an offer to work in France for a company with offices in Switzerland and France. The job would require me to move to France and if I accept, I would stay there for several years.

There is quite a gap between France and Switzerland when it comes to net money available after taxes. The main reasons I identified are:

  • Total compensation lower in France than in Switzerland
  • Taxes higher in France than in Switzerland
  • Social contributions higher in France than in Switzerland

When doing a bit of research I found that I could get a Swiss work contract and be sent in France as “salarié détaché”. From what I read, I would still pay my taxes in France but the company and I would pay much lower social contributions because I would remain under the Swiss system. We’re taking 50% charges instead of 20%. I would then ask the company to reinvest the remaining 30% in the compensation.

A few constraints are that I need to maintain a Swiss address - not an issue in my case, I would simply transfer my address to my parent’s house - and that this is limited to 24 months, renewable for another 24 months without guarantee.

Has anyone already experienced this kind of contracts? What do you think?

In order to avoid being a taxable person in France you’ll have to spend in France less than 183 days during the year.

Plus: as you already mention the detached person status has a limited duration

Not saying that it won’t work in practice - but every time I read something like that, I can‘t help but think that it sounds fishy. A legal grey area if not worse.

Very rarely, if not never, is „having an address“ a real relevant criterion in social security or tax law.

What I suppose they mean is the advice of staying registered with a municipality in Switzerland in order to pretend you’re still domiciled in Switzerland“. Whereas in reality your registration isn‘t the decisive factor. The mémento from the Federal Social Insurance Office also tells you that:

„Les personnes détachées doivent souvent annoncer leur départ à leur commune de domicile suisse lorsqu’elles ont leur propre appartement à l’étranger. Mais une déclaration de départ n’équivaut pas nécessairement à un déplacement du centre des intérêts.“

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There are few constrains Residence permit are you Swiss or C or B. I assume Swiss or in a C.
I was assigned for a short term but I have colleagues with a long term.

In our case
Short term: less than a year
you keep the swiss contract, company pay the double taxation if you are more than 183 days + cost of living

Long term: >1 to 3 years
you keep the swiss contract, company pay the double taxation if you are more than 183 days + cost of living, but you need to keep your residence and keep paying taxes in CH. You can negotiate to pay a percentage in Swiss and the local currency

More than 3 years
Local contract (adjust life cost) +compensation (house and other benefits like insurance, schooling, transport voucher,…)

In fact, in my experience (being in a short term and long term but not in Europe), it doesn’t matter the salary if it is properly adjusted. With a good compensation, you will save a lot more than in being in CH.

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Thank you for your input. To clarify a bit the situation, I have a dual citizenship (Swiss + French) so no issue to maintain a residence in Switzerland.

Considering that the address would be the house of my parents - where I grew up and where I have my social circle - I would think this goes in my direction. I’m not sure why I would anounce that I’m leaving the country if I maintain an address? Am I missing something?

My understanding so far is that since I would spend more than 183 days in France, I would pay my taxes fully in France. When you say “double taxation”, is it really that you pay taxes in both countries? What I have in mind is that I would do my tax declaration in both countries but since french taxes are higher, I wouldn’t pay anything in Switzerland.

Discuss with your employer first. I doubt they would accept. Also you cannot be detached to the country where the company’s headquarters are located (I’ll assume it’s not Switzerland).

That’s depends on the country, I strongly asssume that France will have an agreement with CH to avoid dual taxation in this case, what my company do, is to simulate the CH taxes and they cover if the hosted country are higher.
Example you pay 20k in ch and in France you will pay 50k so you pay 20k to the company and the company put the extra 30k