Company Formation in Switzerland
The Swiss Confederation is one of the most attractive countries for foreign business. About forty percent of the international capital is accumulated in here.
LEGAL FORMS OF BUSINESS
Formation and arrangement of entrepreneurial activity in the country is in agreement with conditions and requirements of the national legislation.
Foreign citizens may open companies of the following types:
- Aktiengesellschaft, AG– Joint-stock company/Corporation. The amount of the authorized capital is one hundred thousand Swiss francs, not less than half of the specified amount (fifty thousand) should be contributed at the date of company registration. JSC is the most common form of business in there most common among representatives of medium and large businesses. Aktiengesellschaft may help protect money assets for representatives of foreign business. Loyal legislation of the country allows business owners to carry out their business anonymously and confidentially. In prevalent majority, the members of the board should be residents of the state.
Since Switzerland is not a standard “tax hub”, companies are required to prepare and submit annual financial statements and to involve audit companies to verify the company’s activities. A joint-stock company may issue shares – with anonymous shareholder and registered. The shareholders should have at least one member without status restriction – a legal entity or an individual, an offshore company. Only a resident of the country can be appointed as director.
- Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung, GmbH– Limited Liability Company. This form of doing business is demanded among medium-scaled and small businesses. Twenty thousand Swiss francs are required to form the authorized capital. There is no restriction on possession of the foreign property in legislation of the country. You will need at least two people to create a company. A director must have the status of a resident of the state. The audit shall be made once a year, the companies have a mandatory procedure to hold a general meeting of shareholders and to form the consolidated financial statements.
- Divisions of foreign companies. There are no requirements for authorized capital formation and payment. The Board of the company should include at least one participant who is the resident of Switzerland with the permanent residence at the territory of the State. The enterprise shall be obliged to keep records of economic operations and to submit tax declarations to authorized bodies. If the purpose of the company is to operate on stock markets, the involvement of auditors is binding. For other activities, audit evidence is not required.
To provide tax benefits, the company should meet the following conditions:
- not to open an office within Switzerland;
- not to operate in the territory of the state;
- not to involve citizens of the country.
Performing all these obligations, the company will be able to pay taxes (income tax, equity tax and corporate tax) at the reduced rate of 8.45%.
Zero rate of income tax (at the state level) can be allowed for holding companies, if the profit is gained by capital gains or from distributed dividends.
The value added tax rate is 7.6%. It is paid by resident firms with the annual turnover above seventy five thousand Swiss francs. Representatives of certain types of entrepreneurship (2.4 – 3.6%) may get the reduced rate. Companies providing the real estate for rent, exporting goods, as well as issuing transactions with securities, shall not pay TVA. Spheres of medicine and education have been exempted from tax liability for added value.
MAIN BENEFITS AND OPPORTUNITIES OF THE STATE
The Swiss representative office allows foreign businessmen to get a number of benefits and opportunities. Main advantages of activity in the country:
- anonymity and confidentiality;
- simplified registration scheme;
- preferential taxation;
- developed banking system, financial and economic stability;
- favorable investment climate;
- the legislation is based on motivation, stimulation and attraction of foreign capital;
- prestige and improvement of the company’s status.