Switzerland is a destination of choice for developing a business. It is one of those countries where the quality of life is particularly high. For this reason, you have a chance to succeed and enjoy a satisfactory income. Provided, of course, that your company has something to offer that is relevant to the market. Like any other country, Switzerland it has its own regulations on starting a business.
Why do many entrepreneurs choose to incorporate in Switzerland?
It is hardly surprising to see more and more foreign entrepreneurs set up in Switzerland. Indeed, the country has many advantages as well for the taxation as for the social climate. It is, however, important to know the administrative obligations and the steps to be followed to found a company in Switzerland.
As far as taxation is concerned, Switzerland is among the countries where it is attractive for entrepreneurs to establish a business. Taxes are generally low compared to other European countries. The amount will depend on the municipality and commune where you choose to establish your business. It is defined according to your activity, the type, and duration of the business activities.
Given that Switzerland is a federal country, taxes apply at three levels, at the national, cantonal and communal levels. This applies whatever the legal form of your company. You are also subject to two forms of taxation, capital tax, and income tax. The direct federal tax levied on the profit is fixed and unique for all companies. It is 8.5%. Cantonal taxes on profit and capital, on the other hand, vary according to the rate established by each canton. They are generally between 2% and 25% for the income tax, and between 0.05% and 6% for the capital tax. They can be fixed or follow a progressive scale.
As for social law and the wage bill, Switzerland remains a competitive country. The salary is certainly higher. But the wage costs are more or less reduced. In general terms, wage costs are therefore low compared to the international average.
Starting a business in Switzerland as a foreigner
The regulations to follow are different depending on whether you are a national of a country of the EU and EFTA, or of a third country that is not a member of these two associations of states.
Business creation for EU and EFTA nationals
Nationals of the EU and EFTA member states benefit from the agreement on the free movement of persons. If you are a citizen of these countries, you have the right to live in Switzerland, to work and to develop an independent activity in the country.
As an independent contractor, the residence permit, valid for 5 years, is sufficient for working in Switzerland. When registering, however, you must provide proof of the existence of your activity, a business plan, a VAT number, a registration in the commercial register or accounting figures.
For the creation of the company, you have to choose the suitable legal form - joint stock company, limited liability company, sole proprietorship, partnership or limited partnership. Residence requirements are however different for each of them. For a sole proprietorship, an authorization of establishment or work is required.
If you intend to set up a limited liability company, one of the partners, the one representing the company, must reside in Switzerland. It is the same for a public limited company. For this, the representative must be a resident of the country.
Finally, for a partnership and limited partnership, authorizations for establishment and work are required.
If you want to buy real estate, as an EU citizen residing in Switzerland, you have the same rights as a Swiss citizen. For non-residents, these same rights are valid only if the property is used for commercial purposes.
Business creation for third-country nationals
In order to be self-employed in Switzerland, nationals of countries that are not EU or EFTA members must have a settlement permit. Spouses of Swiss citizens or persons holding this authorization also have the right to develop such activity.
Third-country nationals are required to submit an application to the cantonal authorities. They must fulfill the personal conditions required to stay in Switzerland. They are also obliged to provide evidence for the positive and lasting influence of their company on the Swiss labor market.
As for the creation of the company, the conditions are almost the same as for EU nationals. It will require a work or establishment permit for the founder, both for a limited partnership and a partnership. For a GmbH, the company must be represented by at least one resident. As for the AG, at least one of the persons entitled to represent it must reside in Switzerland.
The benefits of working with a trustee for a business start-up
A trust company is an organization that provides tailor-made advice and support to entrepreneurs. It takes care of the steps for the creation of the company, and even of its entire management. To start your business, you can count on the help of our experts.
The intervention frameworks of these firms are very extensive. The services provided for your company can be customized according to your needs. The benefits of such collaboration are obvious, especially for foreign entrepreneurs. Indeed, the experts mandated by these trustees have a better knowledge of the market. They can, therefore, provide you with a global and objective vision, which will help you to position your company.
Likewise, they know and master the laws relating to business creation. They can help you to choose the legal structure as well as for declarations to the competent authorities. The partnership with a trustee can be continued after the first steps of creating your business. It can thus continue to advise you on the management of your business and take charge of its financial management, accounting, preparation of annual accounts, personnel management, salary administration, and insurance management.
As for the cost, this outsourcing allows you to control your budget. You benefit from a tailor-made service adapted to your needs and your financial means. It is all the more practical for companies that can’t deploy significant resources to maintain employees internally.