Bern and Paris reach an agreement on the imposition of telework

Switzerland and France have reached an agreement on the imposition of telework for cross-border workers. From January 1, teleworking will be possible up to 40% of the activity rate per year, without tax impact. Geneva and its companies welcome this decision.

The development of teleworking during the health crisis constitutes “a change that is destined to last”, indicated Thursday the State Secretariat for International Financial Affairs (SFI) and the French Ministry of Economy and Finance in a joint press release.

Bern and Paris had signed an amicable agreement on May 13, 2020 to guarantee that the measures to combat Covid-19 – such as teleworking – would not modify the tax regime for cross-border workers. This agreement, already renewed several times, had been extended until the end of the year. Bern and Paris were looking for a long-term solution.

Status not questioned

If he respects the limit of 40% of the working time, the exercise of the ‘home office’ will not call into question either the status of cross-border worker, or the rules of taxation at residence of the resulting income, specify Berne and Paris. These provisions will be specified by an amicable agreement taking effect from January 1, 2023.

An agreement has also been reached for other workers, who fall under the double taxation agreement between Switzerland and France. It provides for maintaining taxation in the State where the employer is located, if the teleworking carried out from the country of residence does not exceed 40% of the working time.

However, ‘adequate’ compensation is provided for the employee’s State of residence. The agreement will be modified by an addendum which must still be signed and then ratified by the two countries. In the meantime, the two countries will apply it by amicable agreement.

Geneva interests preserved

For the two countries, the negotiated solution constitutes ‘a balanced result reflecting the budgetary interests’ of the two States, the communities and the cantons concerned’. In particular, it is expected that the financial interests of Geneva will be “preserved thanks to the participation of the Confederation”, underlines Berne and Paris, as well as the Geneva Minister of Finance Nathalie Fontanet.

In a press release, the Geneva State Council welcomes this solution, which meets the needs and demands of the companies and border staff concerned. The agreement initialed Thursday also takes into consideration environmental concerns related to commuter traffic, he notes.

The Geneva section of the Fédération des entreprises romandes (FER Genève) also welcomes this agreement, which it had been calling for for a long time. It meets companies’ need for predictability, guarantees equal treatment for all employees, regardless of their country of residence, and corresponds to best practices in teleworking, she believes.

FER Genève recalls, however, ‘that the use of teleworking is a matter of freedom of choice for the employer and not a right of the employee’.

In the third quarter of this year 2022, Switzerland had more than 208,500 cross-border workers domiciled in France, according to figures published on the website of the Federal Statistical Office (OFS). They represent just over half of the total cross-border workforce (55.7%).


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