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When you have a self-employed status in a European Union country and work as a freelance interpreter for the UN system, are you supposed to include your UN-system earnings in the annual tax return? Do you pay any taxes on those UN earnings just like you do when you work for a private client?

Thanks in advance for the clarification.

asked 30 Jul '15, 08:58

David's gravatar image


That's a very good question. Section 18. b) of the 1946 Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations says that "Officials of the United Nations exempt from taxation on the salaries and emoluments paid to them by the United Nations". A freelance interpreter working for the UN or an organisation party to the UN-AIIC Agreement is in fact a UN official on a short-term (usually daily) contract so the above most certainly applies. I found that the term "fonctionnaire international sur mandat" was an extremely useful way of explaining this unusual status to French and Swiss officialdom.

As for whether UN income is to be declared, I can only offer my own experience from filing tax returns in France. Here, there is a specific box (8FV) on the general income tax form that you tick if you have income from an international organisation that is non-declarable and not to be taken into account in calculating possible tax liability. The local French tax office would sometimes ask for proof of employment by an intl org. and my UN system employers would then supply the necessary attestation.

The key point to stress is that you must consider work for private clients and for the UN as totally separate. For the former, you're a business supplying a service and being remunerated for it and for the latter, you're a short-term international civil servant being paid a non-taxable salary.

Tax discussions have come up recently in my sub-region and the local UN-sector delegation was reluctant to offer categorical advice. Depending on your country, trying to get some sense out of tax officials could be an uphill task as UN system freelance interpreters really are quite hard to pigeonhole admin-wise.

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answered 13 Aug '15, 11:16

alex's gravatar image

165115 1st advice would be to check with the PD (professional delegation) for either the organisation or the venue in question. This being said, the general principle is that CI income from the UN under the aiic-UN agreement is not liable to national tax... however, tax liable and tax "declarable" are two different things, with the unfortunate consequence (at least in some jusrisdictions and depending on the details of the applicable tax system) that your non-taxable income, if and when declared, may result in having a higher tax bracket apply to the taxable portion of your income.

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answered 30 Jul '15, 22:04

msr's gravatar image


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question asked: 30 Jul '15, 08:58

question was seen: 8,345 times

last updated: 13 Aug '15, 11:16

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