Accounting and legal

Accounting and tax

Healy Consultants is an expert in Swiss accounting law. Therefore, our firm’s Accounting Department will help our Clients fulfill their mandatory tax related obligations for Switzerland company setup.

    corporate tax and legal considerations in Switzerland
  1. To support company setup in Switzerland, Healy Consultants assists the Client with i) documenting and implementing accounting procedures ii) implementing financial accounting software iii) preparing financial accounting records and iv) preparing forecasts, budgets and performing sensitivity analysis;
  2. Switzerland resident firms must file annual tax returns by either 15th or 31st March, depending on the canton. No other monthly or quarterly reports are required;
  3. The Switzerland firm will also be required to keep record of all book keeping based on Swiss GAAP for at least 10 years;
  4. Switzerland firms are required to get a full audit if they:
    • Are listed on the stock exchange; or
    • Meet at least two of the following three measures in two successive years:
      • Total assets worth US$10,837,760;
      • Total turnover worth US$21,675,520;
      • Average annual workforce at least 50.
  5. Switzerland firms which don’t satisfy the above criteria get a limited audit (less costly). Firms with less than 10 full-time employees can apply to opt out of getting an audit;
  6. A resident are taxed on their worldwide income while the non-resident ones are taxed on income derived from their Swiss operations;
  7. In Switzerland, the taxes are levied at two levels: federal level and cantonal/communal level;
  8. At cantonal level, profits are taxed between rates 6% to 21%. Federal tax is, then, charged at 8.5%. KPMG confirm the effective Swiss average annual corporate tax for last five years was 18.4%, after all Government allowances and deductions;
  9. Personal taxes are progressive and vary according to cantons. The maximum tax liability varies between 31% and 45%;
  10. Capital tax is levied by each canton between rates 0.05% and 0.3% of an entity’s value;
  11. Standard VAT rate in Switzerland is 8%. However, lower rates are levied on lodging services (3.5%) and on basic items like food, water etc. (2.5%);
  12. A Switzerland business formation must register to pay VAT if the turnover for previous year was higher than US$10,837,760;
  13. A withholding tax of 35% is payable on dividends to resident and non-resident businesses. However, these rates are reduced, subject to DTAs;
  14. Stamp duties of 1% are payable if paid up share capital exceeds US$1,083,780;
  15. Switzerland holding companies only pay a tax of 7.8% while a mixed company’s taxes vary between 8.5% and 12% annually;
  16. Companies have to pay duties for importing foreign goods. Also, certain restrictions and exemptions exist;
  17. Switzerland, currently, has signed Double Taxation Agreements (DTA) with 88 countries including Australia, Canada, China, Germany, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, UAE, UK and USA;
  18. It is important our Clients’ are aware of their personal and corporate tax obligations in their country of residence and domicile; and they will fulfill those obligations annually. Let us know if you need Healy Consultants’ help to clarify your annual reporting obligations.

Legal and compliance

Healy Consultants Compliance Department will assist our Client in effectively discharging all legal obligations following company setup in Switzerland. Here are some important points that you must know:

  1. Switzerland legal system is efficient in resolving business disputes. The court’s decision is binding on all parties, but appeals can be made to a Higher Court;
  2. Anti-trust laws prevent Swiss resident firms from entering into contracts which form cartels or monopolies; permission needs to be obtained by firms on M & A matters;
  3. Federal Data Protection Statute bars a Switzerland business formation from publicly disclosing private information about an individual;
  4. Anti-money laundering law lists detailed obligations for due diligence to be followed by Swiss resident firms wishing to engage in business abroad;
  5. Swiss anti-gender discrimination laws bar discrimination against employees on the grounds of religion, race, gender and sexual orientation;
  6. Switzerland is not subject to EU business guidelines such as EU-IAS Regulation, Accounting Directives etc.;
  7. Switzerland is a party to the UN Convention on Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards. Arbitration in other countries that also follow the convention will be enforceable in Switzerland;
  8. Switzerland mandates the majority of board members of an Swiss AG to either be residents or citizens;
  9. The process of company setup requires a GmbH and a publicly listed AG to publicly disclose its shareholders;
  10. A Switzerland resident firm must insure that all employees have the requisite residence permits before starting employment to prevent any legal liability;
  11. Swiss resident firms must pay payroll taxes for foreign employees who do not hold a permanent residence in the country;
  12. Swiss resident firm must ensure that an annual general meeting (AGM) be held within 6 months of the end of the year;
  13. A Swiss AG can issue bearer shares only if the entire share capital (US$110,000) is fully paid up. A Switzerland LLC (GmbH) can’t issue bearer shares.

Contact us

For additional information on our accounting and legal services in Switzerland, please email us at email@healyconsultants.com. Alternatively please contact our in-house country expert, Mr. Simon Guidecoq, directly:
client relationship officer - Simon