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. Architects, artisans, doctors, lawyers and local commercial companies often opt for this legal form.
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 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:Le nom de l'entreprise doit comporter le nom du créateur. Les dénominations fantaisistes ou techniques ne sont permises qu'en compléments. L'inscription au registre du commerce implique que le nom de l'entreprise est protégé et que le propriétaire est soumis à la poursuite par voie de faillite.
Les entreprises individuelles dont le chiffre d'affaires ne dépasse pas CHF 500'000 doivent tenir au minimum une comptabilité simplifiée qui ne comporte que les recettes, les dépenses et le patrimoine.
Les entreprises individuelles qui ont réalisé un chiffre d'affaires égal ou supérieur à CHF 500'000 lors du dernier exercice doivent tenir une comptabilité et présenter des comptes conformément aux règles établies dans le Code des obligations (art. 957 et suivants).
Pour une vue détaillée de l'entreprise individuelle et de son fonctionnement, voir: