How to register a company in Switzerland

How to register a company in Switzerland

Switzerland is the heart of global trade center, especially for the European Union. Starting a company in Switzerland will be beneficial because of its economic stability and the great financial environment. Switzerland is also well known for its effective international banking system. Switzerland also has introduced tax privileges to attract foreign investor. So the first key step to starting a business in Switzerland is to register your company. Below are the main steps on how to register your company.

Recognize the business structure of your company

It is important to recognize what type of business structure of your company because it will have an impact on your legal and company taxes.  So, you have to choose wisely and weigh the pros and cons of each decision. The following are the types of legal structure found in Switzerland:

The Sole Proprietorships

It is suitable for individual owned company, freelancers, and small company owner. The individual owner must reside in Switzerland. It is compulsory to register with the Chamber of Commerce if you have a yearly sale reaches more than CHF 100,000.

General Partnership and Limited Partnership.

There is more than one owner. All partners join together to manage the company. One of the partners must be a Swiss residence and the company must be registered with a Swiss address.

For both, sole proprietorship, and General partnership categories, all owners are responsible for all the company’s debts and all private assets is a liability and not protected. Whereas the limited partnership has liability to the amount that is agreed upon.

Corporation and Limited Liability Company Registration

Both types of companies are legal entities that are commonly used by the foreign company. One member of the company must be a Swiss Residence.

Subsidiary Company Registration

Swiss subsidiary company is an independent company with an association with a foreign parent company. The parent company still holds the majority of the company shares and still has some control over the management. Most subsidiary companies are of limited liability companies.

Choosing the company name

The legal status of the company name must be clearly shown in the name. For example, a limited liability company must have an Sociétéanonyme“SA” in the company name. The name must not be similar to any other registered company. You can check existing company name on the Switzerland’s commercial register office and the Central Business Names Index (Zefix).

Entries into the Commercial Registry

The first step of company registration is to open up a bank account and placing the paid-in capital. The bank will release the capital into the account upon registration.  The bank fees are around CHF 200 to CHF 2000. Afterward, provide the public notary with the draft of the company’s articles of association. The registration applications form has to be filled out and all documents have to be authenticated. Signed The Stamp Declaration Form and the Lex Friedrich Declaration form (permit for foreigners to buy properties) and send it to the Register of Commerce.

Filed the company’s article of association with the Commercial Registry. This is to acquire legal entity of the company. The cost for registration varies from CHF 600 to CH 10000 depending on the number of notarized signature and shareholders. The registry will process the application between 5 to 9 days. The registry will announce the official registration in the Swiss Official Gazette of Commerce. The company becomes a legal entity on the day of the registration. Paid stamp tax at a bank or a post office.

VAT registration.

This procedure is to establish whether a company will be subjected to this tax. VAT registration application can be done with the Federal Tax Administration after company registration. The minimum revenue for VAT registration is CHF 100 000 according to Art. 10 Paragraph 2 Lit. A of the “Bundesgesetz über die Mehrwertsteuer.

Employees Enrollment into the Social Insurance System

An application for registering employees in the insurance system will be send by the Cantonal Social Security Office. The insurance systems cover retirement schemes, disabilities, occupational accidents and pension and survivors benefits. You may want to know also about small business ideas in Switzerland.


Company Registration Expert Since 2012