Switzerland is becoming the go-to destination for foreign businesses that want to expand their reach in Europe. The country boasts of a business-friendly tax and legal regulatory framework that has proven to be a significant incentive for foreign businesses and start-ups in the country. In addition, the country’s proximity to some of the biggest and richest European markets also makes the country very attractive to foreign companies seeking to tap into the European market.
Before you embark on starting your business in Switzerland or relocating your current company to the country, there are a couple of things you should have in mind.
- Residency Permit
For you to be eligible to start or relocate your business into Switzerland, you will need a residency permit. Residency permits are a must for any foreigner planning to work during their stay in the country, as well as for individuals who are planning to stay in the country for more than three months.
Any valid residency permit type will allow you to be able to establish a business in the country legally.
- Business Form
You need to decide which is the most suitable Swiss business legal structure for your company. There are numerous types of business structures that are considered legal, and each of them have their own specifications as pertains to foreigners.
Some of the more common legal business structures include:-
- The public limited company structure
- The limited liability company
- Sole Proprietorship
Aside from these three, there are numerous other company structures, so be sure to find one that matches the specific needs of your company such as liability scope, and signatory rights.
- Nationality of board members/directors
When planning a Business relocation to Switzerland, it is imperative to understand how nationality can affect the constitution of the board or the selection of company directors.
As a founder of the company, your nationality has no bearing on the setting up of the business. However, the type of business that you are planning to set up can dictate the nationalities of the people who would be running the company.
For instance, if you are planning to set up a public liability company, one of your board members or directors must be Swiss nationals (residents), and must have sole signatory rights. You can also meet this requirement by having two board members or two directors with joint signatory rights as long as they are full Swiss nationals.
On the other hand, if you are planning to set up a limited liability company, one of your managing directors must be a Swiss resident, and must have the authority to sign on behalf of the company.
- Tax burden
One of the many reasons foreigners wish to set up businesses in Switzerland is due to the low tax burden on corporate entities. Generally, the corporate tax average 11-25% across the country, as the tax rates differ from canton to canton.
In addition, businesses can take advantage of the numerous tax incentives found in every canton. However, the tax incentives available to a particular business will depend on the location of the business, as some locations have far fewer incentive programs than others. In addition, the availability of tax incentives will also be determined by the focus of the business. Some canton authorities provide tax incentives to businesses that focus on particular niches.
- Personal appearance
As a founder of the company, you do not have to necessarily appear in person in order to register the business that you are forming. As long as the requirements for forming and registering that business have been met, then your physical presence is unnecessary. However, your signature will need to be certified if you wish to have signatory rights in the company.