Setting up a company in Switzerland

Setting up a company in Switzerland costs €12 000 + VAT.

Starting a business in Switzerland is a great opportunity for multinationals because of the country's pro-business government policies and laws. Switzerland's geographical location at the heart of the European Union, although it is not a member state, benefits from close economic ties with the whole continent. It has achieved this prominent status thanks to its consistent political climate, competitive economy, social support and employment levels. 

What do you need to know before opening a company in Switzerland??

Why start a business in Switzerland?

If you are considering setting up a business in Switzerland, you should know that any foreigner can start a business in the country. All you need to do is meet certain conditions – get a local office (address), hire a Swiss manager and follow a few other requirements. Under the pan-European agreement on the free movement of persons, Europeans (except Croats) can become self-employed without a permanent residence permit.

To become a company director, a non-resident must fill in a B permit application (valid for 5 years) and submit a business plan (which our specialists can help you prepare). There are two ways to start a business in Switzerland. One is to set up a company, the other is to operate as a sole proprietorship or as a group of independent people in partnership.

In the business world, Switzerland is known for its stable economy and steady growth.

In order for a company name to be used for commercial purposes, it must be officially approved. This ensures that two companies do not use the same name for the same activity. The desired name can be checked in the Swiss Federal Register together with all registered companies. All companies expecting to generate CHF 100 000 or more per year must register for VAT. All companies with 10 or more employees must have a company financial audit carried out once a year.


Currently, different types of business forms can be established in Switzerland:

– - Limited liability company (SARL)

A Societé à Responibilité Limité (SARL), also known as a Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung (Gmbh), requires a minimum share capital of 20 000 Swiss francs and is usually the business form of choice for small businesses as it requires only a natural person as a shareholder (equivalent to an Estonian OU in Switzerland).However, more shareholders may join the company if necessary. The appointment of a director or auditor is not necessary, but the appointment of a managing director, who must be a Swiss resident, is required. For the establishment of a Swiss limited company, the minimum share capital must be fully available and at least half of it must be deposited in a bank account. The capital contribution may be made in cash or in kind.

The minimum investment is 19200€.

Swiss banks can open an account for a company regardless of whether it has a local office or not.

How is a company set up in Switzerland?

Registering a company in Switzerland is more convenient than ever – once selected, we offer our services to clients remotely, with professionals sending all the documents. The registration itself usually takes 1 to 2 months.

A prospective entrepreneur wishing to set up a company in Switzerland must provide a copy of the passport of each shareholder or director and proof of address. In order to ensure the smoothest possible cooperation between the contact person and the client setting up the company, a notarised copy of your passport, address, telephone number and e-mail address are also required – we will also take care of the notary for you.

Societé à Responibilité Limité (SARL), also known as Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung (Gmbh), requires a minimum share capital of 20000 Swiss francs.

After incorporation, the company must have a document proving that the share capital has been transferred. This is usually a document issued by a bank certifying that the required amount is in the bank and will be credited to the company's account as soon as it is registered. Swiss banks may open an account for a company whether or not it has a local office. The specific conditions depend on where the company is registered.

Setting up a company in Switzerland involves several types of taxes:


Commercial goods and services are generally subject to a VAT rate of 7,7%.


Hotels and accommodation establishments are subject to a lower VAT rate of 3,7%.


Foodstuffs, books and newspapers are taxed at a reduced rate of 2,5%, while medical, educational and cultural services are exempt.


Swiss companies generally pay corporate tax of 11,9% to 21,6%.


Switzerland offers a number of tax breaks and incentives to attract new entrepreneurs.

When setting up a business in Switzerland, it is important that individuals and companies pay three levels of taxes: federal, cantonal and municipal. The federal tax is the same throughout the country. When you register your business or company, the information is automatically forwarded to the tax office of the canton concerned, which handles the entire tax administration of the company. The aim of the Swiss VAT system is that the supplier of goods or services pays VAT. 

Interesting things about people living in Switzerland:

Dividends paid by a Swiss company, as well as payments such as Swiss bonds, cash bonds and any customer deposits in Swiss banks, are subject to a withholding tax of 35%. In most cases, this tax can be fully or partially refunded. Residents of Switzerland, both natural and legal persons, may reclaim any sums paid. Foreign shareholders who receive dividends from a Swiss company may receive a partial refund if their home country is part of the Swiss tax treaty network.

Swiss tax relief on the withdrawal of dividends:

In order to avoid double taxation, the amount of dividends taxed to the shareholder is reduced by 40% at the federal tax level and even more at the cantonal level. The Swiss cantons set their own additional rates for the federal income tax component. Swiss companies generally pay corporate income tax of 11,9% to 21,6%. After deduction of taxes, including cantonal and Community taxes, the amount payable may be reduced by a certain percentage.

Some European countries have a complicated incorporation process for foreigners, but Switzerland has relatively simple rules and requirements. Although it has a relatively small population compared to other European countries, it has great purchasing power. Most companies registered here
have risen thanks to the loyalty of local buyers. So setting up a business in Switzerland - one of the happiest countries in the world - can be a great business idea. The many favourable conditions that create a business-friendly climate in this country are conducive to the development of a smooth and efficient business.

LCPC aims to provide you and your business with high quality assistance. Setting up a company is one of the first steps in building your business, and we will help you along the way!

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