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Founding a company in Switzerland

Over the next few weeks, we will be writing about setting up a company in Switzerland and what it takes to do so


Micha Weidmann creative studio
Starting a company in Switzerland

Opening a company in Switzerland is considered relatively straightforward, but it involves a number of specific steps and legal requirements. Here is a general overview of the process:



Choosing the Legal Structure

  • Sole Proprietorship

  • Simple Proprietorship

  • General Partnership

  • Limited Partnership

  • Limited Company

  • LLC

  • Cooperative Company

  • Associations

  • Foundaitons



Company Name

The name must be unique and meet legal requirements. It should not be misleading or infringe on existing trademarks, but we will explain this in the individual company foundations.



Drafting the Articles of Association


This includes the company’s purpose, share capital, and organizational structure.



Registering the Company


The company must be registered with the Swiss Commercial Register if the annual turnover exceeds CHF 100,000.



VAT Registration

If the annual turnover exceeds CHF 100,000, VAT registration is mandatory.



Permits and Licenses


Depending on the business activity, specific permits or licenses may be required. The federal government regulates a few areas:

  • Health professions

  • Teaching

  • Social professions

Some licences are required by the cantons just to name a few:

  • Transport

  • Architecture

  • Legal professions


Check also with your canton!



Social Security and Insurance

Register for social security and pension schemes for employees and yourself



Hiring Employees


Comply with Swiss labor laws regarding contracts, working conditions, and insurance.



Annual Obligations


Maintain proper accounting records, file annual reports, and undergo audits if required.



Considerations for Foreign Entrepreneurs

Non-residents can open a company in Switzerland, but certain structures like the LLC or Limited Comany require at least one director to be a Swiss resident.



Advantages

  • Switzerland has a stable economy, low corruption, and a strong legal framework.

  • Tax Benefits: Certain cantons offer attractive tax rates and incentives.

  • Reputation: Being based in Switzerland can enhance credibility and prestige.



Challenge


  • Cost: Switzerland is relatively expensive in terms of operational costs, including salaries and office rent.

  • Regulations: Compliance with Swiss regulations can be complex and may require professional assistance.



In summary, while the process is well-defined and the business environment is favorable, opening a company in Switzerland requires careful planning, adherence to legal requirements, and possibly the assistance of legal and financial experts to navigate the process smoothly.


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