Company establishment in Zurich

 Read here about how to open a company in Zurich, the steps to take, procedures and everything about the taxes you need to pay.
Natascha Wyss
In Zurich, the most popular business types that are established are the AG and GmbH.

The GmbH

The limited liability company, also called GmbH (Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung) has a requirement of 20,000 CHF in charge capital before establishment, which is due at registration. To set up this business type, at least one party must be present and that party must be a Swiss resident. Registration on the Swiss Commercial Register is essential, and without this registration, a business is unable to perform any commercial functions. Liability of members within this business type is tired to their share of capital.

A limited liability company based in Zurich is entirely governed by its shareholders, during a shareholders meeting. The business is also able to be represented by their management board and auditors. The backbone of a GmbH is the articles of association, which hold the company regulations and its operational details, like its name, address, capital amount and motive for the establishment.

Typical audit times for a GmbH

The ordinary audit time for this type of company occurs if for more than two years at least two of the following conditions is met: the revenues are over 20 million CHF, the balance sheet is over 10 million CHF or the company has more than 50 full time hired employees.

Public Limited Company

The public limited company or AG (Aktiengesellschaft) features a higher minimum share capital at registration which stands at 100,000 CHF of which a 50,000 CHF minimum deposit is required during registration. Decision making within this business type is decided during general meetings and are only approved by the board of directors. Auditors must also be allowed to access company financial statements.

If over a two year period, the following terms are met, an audit will be required; company revenues exceed 20 million CHF, 50 full-time employees are currently working at the business, and the business balance sheet exceeds 10 million CHF.

Information such as the companies name, registered office, shareholder contribution and share capital must be found in the articles of association.

Similarly to the GmbH, registry on the Commercial Register is essential.

Opening a business

The first step in opening a business(like opening consulting business) based in Zurich is determining a unique name.

Following this, documentation is to be prepared to allow for registration on the commercial register. To do this, a lawyer or banks assistance is needed. However, a prospective business owner is allowed to draft these documents themselves, although it is required to be handed over to the commercial registry office early to be inspected.
From then, all required documents are to be signed with a notary present and the requisite capital must be deposited into a bank with a receipt of proof. After seven days of submitting the required documents as well as a signed application, the commercial register will present a certificate of registration and the business will be published within the Swiss Official Gazette of Commerce.

There is then a requirement to register for social insurance, through SVA Zurich.

The final stage in the registration of a business in Zurich is the application for a VAT number. This is where it is most recognisable that the Swiss financial sector is one of the most developed in Zurich, with over a third of Swiss banks registered in the city. This alone is a reason for thousands of investors from around the world going to Zurich.

The Zurich taxation system is one of the most attractive in the world, with one of the lowest tax rates in the already-low taxed Swiss nation. Zurich features three levels of taxation, federal, cantonal and municipal.

In Zurich, the cantonal tax rate on profits is 8% and a 0.75% tax is charged on capital. Holding companies are the benefactors of a 0.15% tax rate. Profit taxes on business established in Zurich are 26.86% after tax deductions.

In order to assist the development of new businesses, there is a proprietary taxation type in Zurich for newly established businesses. When an individual is concerned, a tax reduction on net wealth and income is granted. This reduction can be made when a request is presented to the cantonal council. The following information is required for this request; why the request is being made, the location of the company and further information about the company.

The Department of the Economy and council where the business is located are consulted by the Cantonal Tax Office and the decisions to approve or reject the request is decided by the Department of Finance.

Losses endured during the prior seven years may be rolled over against future profits.