Your Guide to Forming an Offshore Company in Switzerland

An offshore company is one which is located outside the country of origin where it has its main office and operations. Switzerland is considered one of the most convenient jurisdictions for offshore corporation formation because of the low taxation enabled by the peculiar low tax laws. Officially, Switzerland is not an offshore jurisdiction, but due to its taxation system, it has the features of an offshore zone and becomes very attractive for the offshore company formation. Switzerland has agreements with more than 100 other states for the double taxation avoidance. The tax system in Switzerland is different for every canton, so it is possible to register a company at the canton which offers the lowest taxation. At the moment Schwyz and Zug are the most attractive cantons for the offshore company formation in Switzerland.

Benefits of Setting Up an Offshore Corporation in Switzerland

  • Foreigners can own all the shares in an offshore company
  • Only one shareholder is required to form an offshore company
  • Only one director is required who can also be the sole shareholder
  • Shareholders name is not listed in the government’s public registry
  • For added privacy, nominee shareholders and directors are available
  • Entrepreneurs may find bureaucracy and red tape less of an obstacle in offshore jurisdictions

Types of Swiss Offshore Companies

1. Aktiengesellschaft (AG)

This structure offers a combination of the advantages of a corporate structure with limited obligations and the flexibility of a partnership with tax benefits for all partners.

2. Private LLC

Here, the liability of the shareholders is directly proportional to the contribution to the initial capital, thus protecting private assets in the company's insolvency.

3. Trust

An offshore trust is set up when assets are transferred to an administrator. The administrator becomes the legal owner and is responsible for managing the assets and distributing them to the trust’s beneficiaries in accordance with the terms of the deed of the trust.

4. Foundation

The foundation is a hybrid between a trust and a company and combines the most favorable aspects of each of the two entities. It can be used as a more efficient and versatile tool for controlling and exercising the rights of shareholders, real estate ownership, family inheritance, and real estate planning.

How to Set Up an Offshore Company in Switzerland?

The process to register your offshore company is simple and straight-forward just like any other company registration. The company registration in Switzerland must be done at the Swiss Company Registry and the Swiss Commercial Registry. The steps to register are as follows:

  1. Like every other country, the first step is company name registration. The company registration must be done at the registrar prior to incorporation
  2. The next step is to register for company incorporation. The incorporator must appear before a notary to sign the necessary formation documents which include the Public Deed of Incorporation and the Articles of Association
  3. The Articles of Association must include the following information of the shareholder:
  • Corporation name
  • Corporation address in Switzerland
  • The purpose for the corporation
  • Share capital total amount and number of shares issued
  • Shareholder and general meetings conditions
  • Appointment of administrators and auditors
  1. The Register then issues a Registration Certificate for the new corporation
  2. In the next step, the names of the shareholders along with the Articles of Association are published by the Registrar in the official Commercial Gazette
  3. Once it is published, you can start with the business activity. The whole process requires around 8-10 business days
  4. You can then register with the Federal Tax Administration for VAT
  5. Register employees with the social insurance system

Documents Required to Set Up a Switzerland Offshore Company

  • An application form
  • Draft of the Articles of Association
  • Information about the company and its shareholders
  • Auditors acceptance letter after the appointment
  • Letter from the Power of Attorney
  • Confirmation of the paid-up capital
  • A copy of the official publication of incorporation

If you are interested in starting a business in Switzerland, then we at Business Setup Worldwide can be your go-to firm. Our advisors will help you with the process and make the incorporation process hassle-free. Contact us today.

About the Author

prajakta.deshpande@bsworldwide.com's picture

Prajakta Deshpande, pursuing MBA in Finance & Marketing from Dayananda Sagar College of Engineering, loves to read books in her free time and is looking for a one-way route towards Hogwarts.