Administrations use BER and UID to better identify SMEs. Discover how companies are also using these identifiers.
Under the direction of the Federal Statistical Office (FSO), the Business and Enterprise Register (BER) covers all enterprises and undertakings governed by public and private law having their head office in Switzerland. The aim of the Unique Enterprise Identification Number (UID) is to identify companies uniquely in order to simplify and increase the security of information exchanges during administrative processes and statistical tasks.
Business and Enterprise Register (BER)
The Business and Enterprise Register lists all local companies and enterprises that generate economic activity in Switzerland. The FSO constantly updates the main information in the register. The BER is used for statistical as well as research and planning purposes, and in response to specific requests from the Confederation. The BER is a statistical register which, in accordance with the law, is not made public.
Unique Enterprise Identification Number (UID)
Since January 2011, each company active in Switzerland has been allocated an enterprise identification number. The UID allows companies to identify themselves whenever they contact the authorities using a single unique number. The aim is to reduce the large number of different identifiers used by the administration and replace them with a unique identifier. The exchange of information between administrations, between companies and administrations and between companies themselves will therefore be easier. In addition, as data is now updated in a single reference register, the administrative burden of updating data is reduced considerably.
On January 1, 2014, the UID became the enterprise identification number used by the Trade Register and for Value-Added Tax (VAT). Managing a single number is a real benefit for the administration of the more than 280,000 companies listed in both registers. The integration of other BER services, including the Federal Customs Administration and the AVS funds (old-age, survivors and federal disability insurance), will be phased in gradually by the end of 2015, in accordance with legal requirements. The list of services affected by this reform is described in the Ordinance on the enterprise identification number.
To consult the UID, the FSO makes available to the public a central register of enterprises called the “UID Register”. The general public can access this register on the internet, in compliance with the data protection provisions.
Obtaining a UID
A UID is automatically assigned when registering in an administrative register connected to the UID system. A company registering in the Trade Register or subject to VAT does not also need to register with the FSO to receive an UID. However, during the UID introduction phase, entities starting up a business that corresponds to the definition of a UID entity may be assigned a UID directly by the FSO. Registration in the UID register is free of charge for companies.
To obtain a UID, you can download the appropriate form from the following page: Register system.