06 January 2020

Form A1 - important for cross-border activities

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Watch out for cross-border activities - do not forget to bring your Form A1 with you.

In the relationship between the EU/EFTA and Switzerland, a person who is self-employed and/or employed in more than one country is nevertheless only required to pay social se-curity contributions in a single country. The Form A1 states which national social security law applies under the respective coordination statute. With a Form A1 issued in Switzer-land by the competent OASI compensation office, an employee abroad can prove that he or she is subject to the Swiss social security system. The same applies vice versa if a foreign social security system is applicable. In the case of cross-border activities in the EU/EFTA area, the Form A1 should always be carried along for this purpose, even if it is only for a meeting or a short presentation. This is because checks by foreign authorities (at border crossings, airports, in typical business hotels, but also at the workplace) have increased since the beginning of 2019, in some cases sharply, and there is a risk of fines or, in some cases, refusal of admission if the Form A1 is not carried. France and Austria, in particular, provide for heavy fines in the event that the Form A1 cannot be produced.

Even for very short stays abroad no exceptions may be granted. All cross-border activi-ties are affected by this regulation. This includes, for example, board and management meetings, presentations by lecturers, consultations of any kind and even fuelling the com-pany car abroad. However, in the case of one-off trips abroad, the prior application for a Form A1 may appear disproportionate. If necessary, the Form A1 can therefore be issued retroactively. However, this only applies to countries where it is not punishable not to carry the Form A1 (e.g. not France and Austria).

The Form A1 must be applied for by the employer or the self-employed person at the competent OASI compensation office or at the competent office abroad. In Switzerland, the application and processing is generally carried out via an online platform. The Form A1 should be available at the beginning of the business trip. However, the authorities general-ly do not impose a sanction if it can be proven that the Form A1 had been applied for be-fore the business trip began.

If you work cross-border or employ employees who do and you or the employees are not yet in possession of a Form A1, it is worthwhile to submit a corresponding application be-fore your next business trip to the EU/EFTA area.