Professional fees (natural persons)

Fees for services provided by natural persons domiciled in Switzerland and abroad (outside the EU/EFTA) must be subject to the deduction of the AVS/AI/APG/AC if they are not self-employed.

These may include services from external providers in the field of education (lecturers, experts) as well as other services such as consulting, translation and event management.

EPFL employees who invite, hire and set the remuneration conditions for external service providers must inform them that their fees will be subject to Swiss social security and tax in accordance with the laws and directives in force.

In detail

  • Fees less than or equal to CHF 2,300 from individuals are paid without deduction. The accounsting documents (payment order A/invoice and required annexes) must be sent to the Accounting Department.
  • Fees in excess of CHF 2,300 from individuals are subject to deductions of social security contributions and/or withholding tax. Accounting documents (payment order/invoice and required attachments) must be sent to Human Resources. If the person is a foreign national and domiciled in Switzerland, a copy of the work permit must be attached to the mailing.

Les bases légales reposent sur les Loi fédérale et Règlement sur l’assurance-vieillesse et survivants (LAVS RS 831.10 et RAVS RS 831.101).

The main elements to remember are as follows:

  • Persons insured under section 1 of the AHV/AVS Act:
    • Natural persons domiciled in Switzerland.
    • Natural persons engage in gainful employment in Switzerland.
    • Exception for small incidental income according to Art. 8bis of the AHV Regulations.
  • By extension, any fee subject to AHV is also subject to unemployment insurance.

The Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons between Switzerland and the European Community provides that a person shall be covered by social insurance in only one country at a time.

Therefore, any natural person domiciled in an EU or EFTA country must declare there their EPFL income.

In practice, their must ask the authorities in their country to provide them with the European form A1. They are also required to pay contributions due to their social insurance institution.

EPFL will only pay invoices/honoraria to natural persons if it holds the two forms mentioned above, A1 and the Agreement pursuant to Article 21. Only the withholding tax can be deducted from the salary.

The legal bases are based on the Federal Direct Tax Act, articles 86-100 and 136-139, and the Cantonal Direct Tax Act, articles 130-149 and 190-197.

For any natural person domiciled abroad (except the United States and Japan) – staying in Switzerland for a maximum period of 180 days during the calendar year – who invoices EPFL for fees, the IS is levied according to the additional activity scale (Rate D) applicable throughout Switzerland.

  • Persons who are self-employed contribute themselves to their social benefits in their country of residence. They must prove this status by providing a certificate of independence from their AVS compensation fund (valid for Switzerland) or a similar foreign body.
  • The profession of teacher or lecturer is, by definition, a dependent activity.


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