The most common forms of business that can be opened in Zurich are the AG and the GMBH.
The limited liability company, GMBH (Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung) requires a minimum share capital of 20,000 CHF, fully payable at registration. At least one natural person or corporate body is necessary in order to establish such a company and it must be represented by at least one Swiss resident. The registration in the commercial register is mandatory, without it the entity cannot perform any commercial activities. The liability of the members is limited by their contribution to the capital.
The supreme governing body of the limited liability company in Zurich is the general meeting of the shareholders. The company is also represented by the management board and the auditors.
The base of this type of company is represented by the articles of association which contains regulations of the company and details regarding it such as the name, the address, the capital amount, the reason is established.
The ordinary audit for this type of company is requested if for more than two years at least two of the following conditions is met: the revenues are over 20 millions CHF, the balance sheet is over 10 millions CHF or the company has more than 50 full time hired employees.
The public limited companies, the AG (Aktiengesellschaft) requires a minimum share capital of 100,000 CHF, from which at least 50,000 EUR must be paid at registration. The decision in this type of company are taken by the general meeting and executed by the board of directors. Also, auditors are appointed in order to check the company’s financial statements.
If at least three of the following conditions are met for more than two years in a row, then an ordinary audit is required: if the company has more than 50 full time hired employees, the revenues are over 20 million CHF and the balance sheet exceeds 10 million CHF.
The articles of association of such company contains the name (must be unique and followed by the termination AG), the registered office, the share capital and each shareholder’s contribution, details regarding the shares.
Just like in the case of the limited liability company, the registration in the commercial register is mandatory.
First step that has to be taken by the investors willing to open a business in Zurich is checking the uniqueness of the name.
After this step, the documents must be prepared for registration in the commercial registry. For this, the help of a lawyer or a bank is required. If the applicant is willing to prepare the documents himself, it’s necessary to deposit it for pre-inspection at the Commercial Registry Office.
After that, the necessary and correct documents have to be signed in front of a notary.
The required capital has to be deposited in a bank and a receipt will be issued as proof.
In maximum seven days from submitting the notarized documents along with a signed application, the Commercial Registry Office will issue a certificate of registration and the establishment is published in the Swiss Official Gazette of Commerce.
The next step is registering for the social insurance at the SVA Zurich.
The last step in registering a business in Zurich is applying for a VAT number.
The financial sector is the most developed in Zurich, a third of the Swiss banks being registered here. Zurich is also the third insurance market in the world. These facts are attracting thousands of foreign investors every year.
The tax regime is very appealing; in Zurich most of the taxes are smaller than other Swiss regions. Three levels of taxation are applied here, like in all Switzerland: federal, cantonal and municipal.
The cantonal tax on profit in Zurich is charged at 8% on the profit after taxes. 0.75% is the tax on capital applied here, and the holding companies are beneficiating from a tax rate of 0.15%.
The tax burden resulting from profit taxes for a business established in Zurich is 26.86% of profits after deduction of taxes.
A special type of taxation is granted to the newly established businesses in Zurich. In case of an individual a reduction is granted on the taxes on net wealth and income while in case of a legal entity on the taxes on profits and capital. The reduction in made based on a request deposited at the cantonal council. The applicant must provide the following information and documents: the reason the request is made, the location of the business and information regarding the business.
The Cantonal Tax Office is consulting the Department of the Economy and the council situated in the location where the business has it’s headquarter. The decision of approval or denial comes from the Department of Finance.
The losses suffered in the preceding seven business years may be rolled over against future profits.