Sole proprietorship: For freelancers

Many entrepreneurs favor sole proprietorship. From a legal point of view, this form is recommended when only one natural person is involved in a commercial activity.

A sole proprietorship is ideal for business activities which are closely linked to the owner. Local commercial enterprises frequently choose this legal form, as do individuals in liberal professions such as architects, engineers, lawyers, or doctors, for example. However, most of the latter are considered "independents without a formal business structure," whose activities are generally exempt from the obligation to register with the commercial register, unlike those of a sole proprietorship.

Simple registration procedure

A sole proprietor business is very simple to set up. It can therefore start operating quickly with limited start-up costs. In theory, the only obligation is an entry in the trade register. The payment of a basic fixed capital is not compulsory, and double taxation of profits can be avoided.

As far as social insurance is concerned, it should be pointed out that sole proprietors generally have the status of self-employed workers. They are therefore largely responsible for their own benefit plans.

In order to obtain self-employed status, entrepreneurs may submit an application to the OASI fund in the area in which their business is based. The terms under which this status is granted vary depending on the sector. The fund will examine the application and will request any necessary supporting documents. The Swiss National Accident Insurance Fund (SUVA) is responsible for granting self-employed status in the building sector (painters, masons) and the transportation sector (taxi drivers for example). Founders may only submit an application to the OASI fund in the area in which their business is based once the go-ahead has been received from the SUVA.

The name of the company must include the founder's name. Creative or technical names may only be used as an addition. Entry in the trade register means that the company name is protected and the owner is subject to debt collection under bankruptcy proceedings.

Sole proprietorships without an entry in the commercial register are also published in the UID register. For these companies, the first name and surname of the self-employed person are always used as the company name. Fictitious or factual names of sole proprietorships without a commercial register entry are published in the UID register exclusively in the field « Additional name ».

Sole proprietorships with turnover of less than CHF 500,000 only need to keep simplified accounts, which list only income, expenses and assets.

Sole proprietorships which generated turnover of CHF 500,000 or more during the previous fiscal year must keep and present accounts in accordance with the rules set forth in the Swiss Code of Obligations (Art. 957 et seq).

For a detailed overview of sole proprietorships and their operation, see:


Last modification 25.01.2024

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