How can an entrepreneur from a country outside the EU/EFTA area (third state) set up a company in Switzerland? This page provides an overview of the most important legal requirements, background information and tips for entrepreneurs from third states.
A lasting positive effect on the Swiss labour market is considered to be given if the new company or self-employed person contributes to the industry-specific diversification of the regional economy, preserves or creates several jobs for local staff, makes substantial investments and generates new orders for the Swiss economy.Therefore, entrepreneurs need to have a very clear business idea already before they eventually move to Switzerland. A convincing business plan is the best foundation for a successful evaluation process. Existing organisational relationships with other companies is another requirement. And the application must include a foundation charter and/or a Commercial Register entry.
If the application is accepted by the cantonal authorities, the entrepreneur is granted at least a short-term residence permit for third-country nationals (L permit) or a residence permit (B permit). Both permits are subject to the L and B permit quotas set annually by the Federal Council.When the B residence permit is granted for the first time, the period of validity is usually limited to one year. It can normally be renewed unless there are reasons against a renewal. The short-term residence permit (L permit) is usually valid for a stay of up to one year. In exceptional cases, the L permit can be extended by up to 12 months. For a further extension after these 12 or 24 months, a new labour market assessment must be carried out by the authorities. In the event of a positive decision, a new permit may be issued; however, the applicant has no legal right to it.
The following regulations regarding nationality, residence and requirements apply to
Entrepreneurs from a third country who want to buy land or real estate in Switzerland need a valid C permit and must actually live in Switzerland. This also applies when the spouse of the buyer is a Swiss citizen.
If these requirements are met, the same regulations for the purchase of real estate apply as for Swiss citizens (national treatment) or citizens of EU/EFTA countries.
The following taxes apply in connection with real estate and land purchases / sales:
Companies pay tax at their place of value creation, i.e. where the company is based or where it conducts its business activities. In a European comparison of tax as a percentage of company profit, Switzerland ranks 22nd place at 21.17% (as of 2011) behind Montenegro (9%), Bulgaria, Serbia, Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Gibraltar, the Republic of Macedonia (10%), Ireland (12,5%), Latvia, Lithuania (15%), Romania (16%), the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Croatia, Greece, Iceland, Russia, Slovenia (20%) and Estonia (21%), according to KPMG.
While federal tax is charged at a flat rate, cantonal tax varies by location and sometimes also by the level of capital or profit. The regular tax rate of the direct federal tax is 8.5% but as tax is levied on profit after tax, an effective tax rate of 7.83% results.
The current tax rates range in the following brackets (approximate numbers):
For companies, the total tax burden thus amounts to about 15,83 to 25,36%.