INCORPORATING IN SWITZERLAND
EXAMPLE OF BERNE
The Canton of Berne has made every possible endeavour to create a fiscally attractive environment. A comparison with the situation nationally and internationally shows that the tax climate for companies in the Canton of Berne is very favourable. In addition, especially low rates of tax apply to holding and domicile companies.
Advantageous tax conditions apply in the Canton of Berne to preferential-status stock corporations such as holding companies and (mixed) domiciliary companies (management companies).
Corporations whose earnings come from holdings, whether in whole or in part, benefit from very low tax rates: Any company whose main purpose is acquiring financial holdings in other companies is granted the status of a holding company. Consequently, holding companies throughout Switzerland have to satisfy one of the following criteria:
- two thirds of the company’s assets is comprised of holdings
- two thirds of the company’s gross earnings is attributable to income from holdings
Municipal and cantonal profit tax is dispensed with for holding companies; the capital tax rate is also substantially reduced and is levied on a sliding-scale basis:
OVERVIEW OF THE CAPITAL LEVY
Corporate Capital Capital Tax (Cantonal and Municipal) As ‰ of capital
1,000,000 CHF 416.- 0.42 ‰
10,000,000 CHF 3,224.- 0.32 ‰
50,000,000 CHF 11,648.- 0.23 ‰
100,000,000 CHF 22,048.- 0.22 ‰
1,000,000,000 CHF 116,792.- 0.12 ‰
In so doing, the Canton of Berne provides extremely attractive locational conditions for holding companies, in particular competence centres with an international orientation and corporate headquarters with high equity
Domiciliary and mixed domiciliary companies.
Companies that have only their head office in the Canton of Berne, however have no business activities in Switzerland or business activities of an insignificant nature, benefit from the status of domiciliary company:
The capital tax levied on domiciliary companies (operating mainly or exclusively outside of Switzerland) corresponds to that of a holding company.
TAXES ON PROFITS
- Income from domestic and foreign holdings as well as capital gains and revaluation gains are tax-exempt.
- Other income from Swiss sources is subject to ordinary profit tax.
Other income from foreign sources is subject to profit tax only to a moderate extent; the amount of tax payable is in keeping with the significance of the business activities of a company’s head office in relation to those of the company as a whole. Income of this type is completely tax-exempt if no or very little staff is employed. This income is also tax-exempt if it is taxed or is taxable outside of Switzerland. If a domiciliary company’s business activities in Switzerland are of a subordinate nature, then the tax levied on foreign-source income is in keeping with the extent of the company’s business activities in Switzerland.
I need someone to take care of everything when I set up my company. Can you do that?
Yes, that's our job. We have specialist lawyers who will take care of every step for you, and if you need complementary services such as real estate, tax planning or accounting, we will provide them as well.
I need an office building for my company. Can you help me?
Yes, our real estate specialist will help locate the best property for you and will even negotiate the price on your behalf. With a buying agent, you will have unlimited choice.
I need local banking connections for my company. Do you have any?
Yes, we have top-level connections with some of the most important banks here: local, national and private. Whatever you need - credit, a numbered account, credit cards, or just retail banking, we can connect you with the right person immediately.
I want to receive professional fiscal advice. Can you provide it?
Yes, and this is important, especially during your first year of operation in Switzerland. The Swiss tax system is very stable and reliable, but it is also very complex so you would benefit greatly from the advice of experienced professionals.
I need a Swiss board member. Can you find me someone?
Yes, as long as we know what is going on in your company, we will be happy to provide you with a skilled professional to act as a Swiss board member.
I would like a virtual office in Switzerland. Can you help me?
Yes, for about SFR200 a month we can get you a multilingual secretary who will answer your phone calls in Switzerland with your company name ("Oil Traders Geneva, good morning") and forward your mail and messages to you wherever you are.
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