Switzerland has always played an important role globally when it comes to sophisticated company structures. Due to its stable political and economic environment, its long tradition of banking and the Swiss discrete and precise nature, Switzerland enjoys continued popularity as a jurisdiction for companies to establish their (European) head offices or operations and for private clients to hold their investments.
The favorable tax rates and the business-minded attitude of the Swiss tax authorities are not the only reasons for companies to set up their operations in Switzerland. For most clients, the decision to establish (part) of their structure in Switzerland is made on the basis of a combination of reasonable taxes, discretion, competence, central location and a highly qualified but flexible workforce. Another frequent reason is the strong position of the Swiss brand, as the label, ‘made in Switzerland’, represents high quality and reliability.
Switzerland is a civil law country and levies taxes on a world income base. It has a federal system, meaning that corporate income taxes have a threefold layer, being due at federal, cantonal and communal level. In practice this offers a choice of 26 different corporate tax rates, each Canton having its own legislation, all relatively low compared to other popular jurisdictions, and all within a single country. This system also encourages direct and open discussions with the local tax authorities.
Although companies are also located in other cantons, the cantons playing the biggest role on an international level are Geneva, Vaud and Neuchâtel in the French-speaking part of the country; Zurich, Zug, Schwyz and Lucerne in the German-speaking part; and Ticino, which forms the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland.
With the choice of 26 Cantons, the effective tax burden of a company may differ significantly depending on the Canton of residence. In principle, a total effective tax rate (communal, cantonal plus federal taxes) of approximately 10% may be achieved in certain cantons for most international activities.
Alongside the attractive tax rates, Switzerland currently has double tax treaties with about 75 countries, and offers a wide and interesting participation exemption through which even companies in low-tax jurisdictions can be held.
Tax rulings are generally available on federal and cantonal/communal level and are relatively easy to obtain. Furthermore, special tax regimes are available for holding companies and companies which earn their income mainly outside Switzerland.
- Incorporation / liquidation
- Providing directorship
- Providing domicile
- Compliance check
- Accounting (OR, Swiss GAAP, IFRS)
- Reporting (budget, CF, liquidity planning)
- Swiss VAT
- Coordination of EU VAT
- Salary administration
- Tax administration
- Trust administration
- PA functions
- Family office tasks (apartments, permits, travel etc.)