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Switzerland (Swiss Confederation) – is Western European State and is bordered by Italy, Germany, France, Austria and Liechtenstein. The official languages are German, Swiss and Italian. National currency – is Swiss Franc (CHF). The political system in Switzerland – is a federal republic, which consists of 26 cantons. Each canton, in turn, is divided into districts, towns and communities. In addition, this administrative unit has its own constitution and legislation.
Switzerland is one of the most economically developed European countries. Production of watches, medicines, machinery and textiles, as well as the chemical industry are the most profitable industries. Agricultural sector and food production can also be referred to such industries. Switzerland is the largest financial center of global importance. The banking sector is characterized as one of the most reliable. Vivid proof of this is that about 40% of clients - legal and private persons in the world entrusted their funds to Swiss banks.
Currency stability, long traditions and strict observance of banking secrecy – is the key of success and country`s popularity as a business center. Switzerland is popular as a region for international business. Unique system of taxation, well-developed infrastructure and legal framework make this region attractive for foreign investment. Such unshakable notions as stability, high "Swiss" quality and regularity can be safely applied to all aspects of life in this country, in particular, to the financial sector.
Company registration in Switzerland has a number of obvious advantages:
- Stable region in political and economic sense;
- Attractive tax system;
- Image of respectable company, registered in the prestigious jurisdiction;
- No foreign exchange controls;
- High degree of confidentiality;
- Signed the agreement on avoidance of double taxation with more than 70 countries.
Company in Switzerland is guided by the Civil Code and the Code of Obligations. One can founded the company in offshore Switzerland for various activities: financial, commercial, holding, for consulting services. The objectives of the company are mentioned in the Founders Agreement (the Memorandum).
There are following the most common types of companies:
- Limited Liability Company - Gesellschaft mit beschrunkter Haftung (GmbH).
- Joint-stock company - Aktiengesellschaft (AG).
For limited liability company (GmbH) the size of authorized capital is 20 000 CHF, which must be fully paid at the time of registration. The Bank retains control over the funds before the company obtaining the registration document. One can open such company in Switzerland in the presence of at least two founders. One of the founders must be a private person without any residency requirements. It is allowed common shares issuing, the minimum cost of one share is 100 CHF. One director must have Switzerland residency. The Board of Directors can include resident from another country at the current majority of directors with Swiss citizenship. There are no requirements to the post of Secretary. Information about directors are public; it is possible to use nominee service. The company must have a registered legal address in Switzerland.
For joint-stock company (AG) the minimum size of authorized capital is at least 100 000 CHF, at that 50 000 CHF must be paid at the time of registration, the second part should be invested throughout the year since establishment of the company. One can open a company (AG) in Switzerland in the presence of at least one shareholder - private or legal persons of any residence and with minimum of one director – private person who is a member of the board of directors. It is possible to use nominee services, as information about directors is open. Companies are required to submit an annual financial statement. For most companies it is necessary to pass audit (auditor works with the company on a permanent basis). A complete audit is required if the company`s turnover is more than 40 million. CHF, balance sheet is more than 20 million. CHF and the number of employees exceeds 250 people.
Taxation in Switzerland is carried out at three levels - federal, cantonal and municipal. As a rule, the total tax rate is applied proportionally to the tax rates of three levels. It may significantly vary and range from 14% to 25%. The rate of corporate federal tax rate is 8.5%. VAT rate – is 7.6%. Income tax is charged on a progressive scale, and at the federal level ranges from 3.6% to 9.8%. At the cantonal level - from 5% to 35%.
Resident companies (which are registered in Switzerland and here are located its governing bodies) are tax residents and pay taxes from the world income. Non-resident companies are taxed only in the part of the income derived from Swiss sources. For domiciled companies in most cantons it is possible to avoid the cantonal taxation - taxes are paid at the federal level. There are cantons with the lowest tax rates - Zug, Freiburg, Schwyz, Nidwalden. Zug is the most low taxable, where the minimum rate ranges from 4% to 7%. As generally, companies involved in production activities obtain benefits in the first years of working in the cantons.
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