How easy is it to set up a business in Switzerland? As a general rule, it is rather easy to start a business in Switzerland, once the investors have the necessary capital for the registration of the company. If the investors are foreigners, there are no restrictions for starting a business here based on their nationality, but it will be necessary to obtain a residence permit; our lawyers in Switzerland can offer assistance on the registration of a Swiss business. It is also important to know that the registration procedure is not limited to the company founder’s presence in the country. Most of the company’s registration steps can be completed by our team of Swiss lawyers, if the investors grant the power of attorney. START ONLINE INCORPORATION The process of company incorporation in Switzerland consists of six steps, which can be accomplished in 18 days if all the documents are properly submitted and if the necessary share capital is deposited in a bank account before registration. Our team of Swiss lawyers can provide legal advice on all the steps that have to be followed when setting up a business here. Our lawyers can also put you in contact with their Dutch partners in case you are thinking of starting a company in the Netherlands. The following video offers a short presentation on the registration of a Swiss company: What types of companies are available in Switzerland? Foreign businessmen can set up one of the legal entities that are prescribed by the country’s national legislation. The most common business forms that are registered in this country are the limited liability company and the public limited company, but investors may also register one of the following legal entities: sole trader – it is the simplest business form available under the Swiss legislation and it may be set up by a single businessman who works in his or her name, provided that the respective person has a Swiss residency; general partnership – it must be set up by at least two business partners, who can be foreigners, but only in the situation in which they have obtained their residence in this country; limited partnership – it resembles with the general partnership, the main difference being that one of the founding partners has limited liability; subsidiary – one of the ways through which a foreign company can expand on the local market; branch office – it can also be employed by a foreign company, with the mention that the branch office is a dependent business structure to its parent company. How can an investor register a Swiss partnership? As presented in the list above, foreign investors can register various types of partnerships in this country, as long as specific formalities are met. Our team of Swiss lawyers can advise on all the procedures involved for the registration of a partnership, depending on its type. The main regulations referring to this company type can be observed in the Swiss Code of Obligations, which stipulate two main types of partnerships, the limited and the general partnership. One of the basic aspects of a Swiss partnership is that the business form does not represent a corporate body, which means that in this case it must be registered only by natural persons. In order to operate a Swiss business through a partnership, its founders must register it with the Commercial Register, regardless of its type. The general partnership is a structure that is usually selected for registration when developing a small business; the general partnership’s trading name has to include the family name of one of the partners and it may also include the type of business venture for which the partnership is set up. An advantage investors have when starting a general partnership is that they do not need to subscribe a minimum share capital, but investors should be aware that they will be responsible for the company’s liabilities. Besides this, over time, investors can add additional business activities if they want to enter new types of operations and they can even increase the number of partners. Since the partnership is set up with the purpose of developing commercial activities, it is also liable to taxation and to VAT registration in Switzerland; however, the tax system applicable in this case is charged at a personal income level, which means that the partners will be liable for taxation and not the structure itself. The registration with the tax authorities must be done if the company’s annual turnover is above CHF 500,000 and our team of lawyers in Switzerland can provide information on the formalities that have to be completed in this case.