The Swiss economy is one of the most liberal and competitive
economies in the world. Low capital costs, a stable currency, strong purchasing power, moderate taxation, a federal
state system, and economic and political stability guarantee a high level of security for investments in Switzerland.
Political stability: fertile ground for business
Switzerland’s federal structures create strong links between government, business, and civil society. The government
is lean, consisting of the seven-member Federal Council. Each member is appointed Federal President for one year on
a rotating basis. The constituent states of the Swiss Confederation, the 26 cantons, enjoy a large degree of autonomy,
particularly in healthcare, education, and culture. Municipalities enjoy autonomy as well: each municipality – around
2,300 in all – decides its tax rate independently. Swiss citizens can participate directly in the political process
through referendums, initiatives, and plebiscites. The stable political situation guarantees a high degree of
dependability for business and practical decisions that are well supported by the population.
Independency in the heart of Europe
One to two hours by plane. That’s how little time it takes to travel from Switzerland to Europe’s other major economic
centers. A multilingual country, Switzerland is situated in the heart of Europe, and not just geographically speaking –
located at the intersection point of several cultures, Switzerland is an important transport hub connecting north and
south, east and west. Switzerland shares a border with three of the four largest European markets: Germany, France,
Their languages are also national languages of Switzerland, spoken by many Swiss in addition to English. There are close
economic relations between Switzerland and Europe. The European Union is Switzerland’s most important trade partner:
almost half of all Swiss exports go to EU countries and two thirds of all imports come from the EU.
free trade agreement and bilateral agreements enable the free movement of goods and services even without EU membership.
Through this agreement, Switzerland is fully integrated in the EU market, with its 500 million consumers, while remaining
politically independent. More than 30 free trade agreements with 40 partners compliment the EFTA Convention and the Free
Trade Agreement with the EU. Swiss free trade policy creates ideal conditions for trading goods and services with important
partners. Agreements with all important industrial nations ensure that companies are only taxed in one country.
An internationally competitive tax situation
Switzerland’s federal tax system is a successful model: taxes are determined and levied at the federal, cantonal, and
municipal levels. Domestic tax competition plays a significant role in the very low rates of taxation. A debt brake
introduced in 2003 obliges the government to maintain a balance between revenue and expenditure. The most attractive
cantons in tax terms are international leaders with regard to both corporate taxes and the tax imposed on highly skilled
Moderate taxes for individuals and businesses
At federal level businesses pay corporate income tax of just 8.5%. This is in addition to cantonal and municipal profit
taxes. If a company creates jobs in certain regions in Switzerland with an investment project, it may even be granted a
full or partial tax exemption. Double taxation in Switzerland and another country only occurs in rare cases. This very
attractive location factor is due to agreements with all key trading partners including the USA, Germany, the United
Kingdom, France, Italy, China, and many other countries.
The relationship between taxpayers and tax authorities is distinguished by its constructive, pragmatic thinking. Notable
companies for tax consultancy and auditing also value this form of trusting cooperation.
Easy Start-Up Process
Set up your business without the red tape
Companies and individuals can set up a new business quickly and easily. In most cases it only takes two to four weeks
to legally establish a company and the cost is usually between 2,000 and 8,000 Swiss francs. International founders
are very welcome and enjoy wide-ranging support; in 2016 around 1 in 3 founders of new companies were non-Swiss. Under
the principle of freedom of trade, any person in Switzerland can run a business, set up a company, or own a share in a
company. The only requirement is that the authorized signatory be domiciled in Switzerland.
Easy to move in
If a company has clear criteria for its new location, the respective canton will help to coordinate the project locally.
Banks, consultants, trust companies, and specialized lawyers can all provide assistance on specific issues. Extensive
support is also available online, from tips on writing a business plan to registering a company in the commercial
Companies that relocate to Switzerland usually choose the legal form of an incorporated company, either an
Aktiengesellschaft (stock corporation) or a Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung (limited liability company). It is
possible to set up a Swiss subsidiary as a sole proprietorship, general partnership, or limited partnership online.