Since 2011, every company active in Switzerland receives a company identification number (UID). If you want to know what the UID is, who needs it, what it’s used for, and how to obtain a UID number for your company, you will find the answers to the most important questions below.
1. What is the UID number?
Since the entry into force of the Federal Law on the Company Identification Number (UID) on January 1, 2011, every company active in Switzerland receives an UID - and thus a clear cross-functional identifier, which can be used without any doubt in business relationships with other companies, administrations and authorities. Since 2014, the UID has also been the valid identification number for the commercial register (UID HR), for the VAT authority (UID VAT) as well as for the federal customs administration and the AHV compensation funds.
2. What is the purpose of the UID number?
On the one hand, the UID serves companies to be identified easily in contact with the administration: the settlement of VAT, the AHV contributions, the completion of customs declarations, but also new entries, changes regarding the company’s offices, changes of names and addresses as well as deletions of companies are automatically forwarded to the administrative offices using the UID system. On the other hand, the UID facilitates contact with customers, suppliers and other business partners. It also makes it easier to maintain and compare directories, because the central UID register makes it easy to retrieve the latest company data from all economic operators.
3. Who receives or needs an UID?
In principle, all companies and institutions operating in Switzerland receive an UID - but also all "public administration clients" who have the characteristics of a company or are otherwise to be identified for legal, administrative or statistical purposes.
Each company will be assigned an UID number. While branches of a company do not receive their own UID, the branches of a company entered in the HR have their own UID. Foreign companies that have a Swiss office or postal address will also receive an UID number. The Federal Statistical Office informs in detail which units and companies are able to receive an UID number.
4. How does a company obtain a UID number?
If a company is connected to a so-called UID office - for example, registered with the commercial register, with an industry register or for VAT purposes, it automatically receives an UID number. Companies that are not registered at any UID office can apply for their UID number directly at the Federal Statistical Office.
5. How much does an UID number cost and what does it include?
The inclusion in the UID register is free. Also, the company does not incur any additional obligations to the administration.
6. Where can you look up UID numbers?
For the correct allocation, administration and use of the UID number, the Federal Statistical Office maintains a publicly accessible UID register. There you can see the key features of all registered companies. Companies without entry in a public register are visible in the UID register by default only for the administration. However, they can voluntarily share their data for publication - and then also use all e - Government services offered by the Swiss administration.
7. Can companies change their UID data on their own?
Companies can only change their e-mail or website address in the UID registry. Furthermore, an additional name (for example for specifying the economic activity) can be introduced and the language preferences can be set.
For further information regarding the UID number in Switzerland, if a company is eligible for UID register and how to obtain, please contact our Swiss incorporation specialists.