I live and work in Switzerland hired by a company abroad – can I be a freelancer?

In short: no.

We regularly receive inquiries from people who have recently moved to Switzerland and are now wondering whether they can continue to work with one or more clients abroad. However, when a contractor acting as an independent contractor works for a client in a framework that resembles an employment relationship from a Swiss legal perspective, this is called pseudo self-employment which results in a real employment. So, the clients abroad become employers (from the perspective of Swiss law). This has far-reaching consequences for both parties.