Switzerland: Company Incorporation


Switzerland is one of the most popular countries in the world for starting a business. In 2018 alone, more than 41,000 companies were entered in the Swiss commercial register.

Starting a business in Switzerland is a quick and easy procedure. Many official and private bodies advise entrepreneurs and help them to choose the appropriate legal form.

Persons authorized to create a business in Switzerland:

In Switzerland, all citizens have the opportunity to start or participate in a business. When setting up a business, at least one of the parties must have the right of residence in Switzerland.

EU citizens have the right to reside and work freely in Switzerland. The
nationals of other countries must have the authorization to work and stay to exercise a sustainable activity.

Depending on the objectives and needs of the company, different forms may agree. Foreign investors mainly favor the following legal forms:

  • Limited liability company
  • Public limited company (SA)
  • Branch

You will find more information on legal forms as well as a summary table of the main information in the Investor’s Guide.

Process duration:

When all the conditions are met, a business creation can be completed in two to three weeks.

It is even possible to register a business in the commercial register in five days thanks to accelerated paid procedures.

Choice of head Office:

To be able to find a business, it is imperative to have a domiciliation. If the headquarters site is not yet final, it is possible to register the company in the name of a lawyer or notary.
Taxes vary according to the headquarters of the company and, depending on the canton, are between 11.35 and 17%.

Before the establishment of the company:

Before actually starting the company, these elements need to be prepared:

  • Business plan
  • Analysis and market research
  • Authorization

Opening a bank account:

The share capital of a company must be paid into an account at a selected Swiss bank. The latter, then, issues a proof of capital.

Cost: 150 to 400 Swiss francs.

Registration in the trade register:

For registration in the commercial register, it is necessary to provide a written document provided for this purpose with a certified signature.
The Certifications (or certified signatures) are required to enter in the commercial register. They serve to prove indisputably the identity of the signatories. They can be carried out by a notary, the offices of the commercial register, and, sometimes, by municipal and communal administrations.

Other steps and obligations:

  • Value Added Tax (VAT): Generally speaking, a business in Switzerland is subject to VAT from an annual turnover of 100,000 Swiss francs.
  • Accounting obligation
  • Compulsory insurance
  • Compensation funds
  • Professional pension
  • Accident insurance
  • Business insurance
  • Corporate Liability Insurance

Foundation Costs:

  • Public limited company:

Share capital: > 100,000
Consultations: 1,000 – 4,000
Creation: 800 – 2500
Fees for the commercial register: 600
Emission right: 1% as soon as the capital exceeds 1,000,000

  • Limited liability company:

Share capital: > 20,000
Consultations: 600 – 2000
Creation: 700 – 2000
Fees for the commercial register: 600
Emission right: 1% as soon as the capital exceeds 1,000,000

You can find more details in this guide.

Source: Switzerland Global Enterprise

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