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Types of Structures in Switzerland

Types of Structures in Switzerland

Updated on Monday 21st September 2015

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The main types of legal structures in Switzerland are: the stock corporation (AG/SA), the limited liability company (L.L.C.), and the partnership that can be classified as: sole proprietorship, general partnership and limited partnership.

The Stock Corporation in Switzerland

The stock corporation is a well-known business form and it is legally separated from its owners. It takes between 2 and 3 weeks to be set up, it requires a minimum capital of 100.000 CHF, it has to have at least one shareholder and one director that reside in Switzerland and it can be formed for any type of activity.

The stock corporation can be classified into: holding companies that benefit from reduction of taxes at both federal and cantonal levels. The domiciliary companies are firms that are managed and controlled from abroad but only have a registered office in Switzerland. The auxiliary stock companies are domiciliary firms that carry part of their business in Switzerland.

Mixed companies are a mix of domiciliary and holding companies with cantonal and municipal tax benefits if the company is foreign controlled, if it has a minimum of 80% of its income from foreign sources and if the company develops relationships with other foreign companies.

Foreign business are also allowed to have branch offices in Switzerland , offices that have to be registered with the Commercial Registry of the canton in which they are located and they need to have an appointed Swiss-resident representative.

The Limited Liability Company in Switzerland

The limited liability company is an alternative for persons who do not have the money to start a stock corporation, requiring a minimum amount of 20.000 CHF. It is a separate legal entity and can be formed by one to several partners. This type of company is better suited to small business as it does not need a board of directors and it only needs a shareholder that must be a natural person.

The Swiss Partnerships in Switzerland

The sole proprietorship in Switzerland is a simple business structure where the owner has total control over the business, but it has to have an annual turnover of 100.000 CHF. It is the best fit for artists, or freelancers, sole traders or self-employed people. The downside of this type of business is that the owner is fully liable for the company’s debts and is case the business does not work the proprietor will lose all his or her assets.

The general partnership in Switzerland is created by two or more partners but their business is not a separate legal entity. They will sign a partnership agreement and each one of them will pay for his own taxes at personal income tax rates. They will both or all have unlimited joint liabilities for the debts of the business.

The limited partnership in Switzerland is a small business that needs to have at least two natural partners, one of them acting as a general partner with unlimited liability, and another one acting as a corporation with limited liability.


For more information on registering a company in Switzerland, do not hesitate to contact us.



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