Switzerland

Given its unique position in the international business, tradition of banking system and stability of legal environment, Switzerland is one of the most reputable and respectable jurisdictions. In addition to having one of the largest tax treaty networks in the world, Switzerland provides benefits to European Union members that are equivalent to the EU´s own Parent Subsidiary Directive. As a result, withholding taxation on distributions is usually reduced or completely eliminated.

Switzerland´s legal tender remains Swiss franc (CHF). Among other types of corporations, there are particularly two corporate legal entities commonly set up in Switzerland: Aktiengesellschaft (AG) and Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung (GmbH).

Legal formAktiengesellschaft, AG
LegislationBased on Civil law
Schweizerisches Obligationsrecht (commercial code)
Foundation timeOnce received all required documents from a client, the incorporation of the new AG takes usually 2-3 weeks and documents are delivered within 4 weeks.
ShareholdersMinimum required: 1
Form: physical person/corporate body (both possible)
Nationality: Any (Swiss nationality not necessary)
DirectorsMinimum directors required: 1
Form: physical person
Nationality: Any (at least 1 Swiss resident director required)
Share capital100,000 CHF (in order to incorporate at least 20% or 50,000 CHF must be paid-up, in the case of bearer shares 100,000 CHF must paid-up). Swiss GmbH share capital is 20,000CHF and must be fully paid up.
Bearer sharesAllowed
TaxesTaxes may be levied at three different levels: federal, cantonal and municipal. The taxation of companies depends mostly on their location and qualification (AG can be qualified as a holding company, domicile company etc.). This said, companies can be only subject to corporate income tax on federal level if certain conditions are met.
Corporate income tax rate: 8,5% on federal level
Withholding tax: dividends can be due to double tax treaties effectively taxed between 5% and 15% or even fully exempted, royalties are not taxed on federal level
VAT: registration is not obligatory unless the turnover of 100,000CHF is exceeded, basic rate: 8%
AccountancyFiling of accounts required
AuditNot obligatory if fulfilled the following conditions: assets value less than 10,000,000 CHF, turnover less than 20,000,000 CHF, less than 10 full time employees and shareholders formally agree to the opting-out.
Anonymity and confidentialityThe companies register is publicly accessible
OtherShelf companies availability: YES
Registered office: Must be maintained in Switzerland

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