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VAT Registration in Switzerland

VAT Registration in Switzerland

Updated on Monday 21st September 2015

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The Value Added Tax in Switzerland

Value added tax (VAT) is a consumption tax applied to domestic goods or services and it is owned by the Swiss Federal Tax Administration.  VAT is imposed to producers, manufactures, tradesmen, retailers and service providers. Once a company is registered with the Commercial Registry, it will also have to be VAT registered. Foreign companies also have to abide VAT laws on Swiss territory.


The Swiss Confederation levies VAT as it follows:

  • •           The tax on supplies (supplies of goods and of services) rendered by taxable persons in Switzerland (domestic tax)
  • •           The tax on the acquisition of supplies from enterprises with their place of business abroad by recipients in Switzerland (acquisition tax)
  • •           The tax on the import of goods (import tax).   


The entities that have to pay VAT in Switzerland  are:

  • -sole proprietorships
  • - simple partnerships
  • -general and limited partnerships
  • -legal persons
  • -administrative offices and agencies of the public sector
  • -associations
  • -clubs
  • -non-profit institutions
  • -foreign companies if they have taxable incomes on Swiss territory.

The new VAT law enforced in 2010 has set the new threshold for tax liability at 100.000 CHF.

There are also companies that are exempt from paying VAT. These are companies with less than 100.000 CHF turnover, non-profit, voluntarily managed organizations with less than 150, 000 CHF turnover, or companies based outside Switzerland that provide services and are only subject to the acquisition tax.

Tax rates in Switzerland

The standard tax rate is 8%, the lowest in Europe,  and it is applied to most goods and most of services, but there are also exceptions such as food and non-alcoholic drinks, medicines, certain newspaper, magazines and books that are taxed with 2,5% and tourism rates for hotel accommodation including breakfast subjected to 3,8% VAT.

The Swiss VAT registration process

The registration process for paying the VAT is quite simple and it only requires few steps:

  • -completing a basic online questionnaire which will hold legal binding information
  • -appointing a fiscal representative in Switzerland     
  • - placing a bank guarantee or deposit on behalf of the Swiss tax authorities


For more information about the VAT tax or other taxes in Switzerland please contact us. Our attorneys in Switzerland will be at your disposal with qualified legal advice and personalized consulatcy for each business.



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