Starting a company in Switzerland

Advice for foreigners

Starting a company in Switzerland

Many expats who move to Switzerland and wish to start a company come with a very vague idea of how it all works. Swissbenefits can help you understand what starting a company in Switzerland entails, as well as what to watch out for. 

Aim of your company

Before we start looking at company types, it is very important to be clear on what the goal is of starting a company here. Is it for moving your business from one country to another? Is it for tax reasons? Are you thinking of relocating and would you like to see how it goes with your business first? Each of these reasons demand a different strategy on how to proceed. Starting the company is the easy part, the administration that follows is more complicated. It is wise to go to a consultant with a clear picture of what you want so that a consultant can give adequate advice on how to proceed.

Business plan

Something that is often neglected in our experience, but is key to success is a business plan. Are you planning on having employees? What is your budget? Is your business regulated in Switzerland? Will VAT be an issue? What is the situation concerning social insurances, pension plans? Who will be responsible for what? What kind of location have you envisioned? All of these questions need to be answered, and will play a role in the chosen company structure – as well as the details during the process of incorporation.


Moving a company around is usually connected with further costs. Before you decide to start, make sure you are sure about the location. There are many options to choose from, depending on your business plan and budget. Language skills can also be key to choosing a region, as well as taxes, client base, as well as living costs.


There are different options available for personal and corporate taxes. If this is an issue of great importance, it is worth it to check out the possibilites in different parts of Switzerland as they can vary depending on the canton.


If you would like to relocate to Switzerland after having started a company, this is not as simple as it looks. Due to the issues that have arisen due to so called “independent business owners” who have tried to get around immigration law by starting a company there is quite a bit of proof necessary, as well as professionalism in order to enable moving for the company.

Don’t be discouraged

Now it looks very complicated and slightly discouraging, but being informed is half of the work. Especially being correctly informed. There is a lot of “half information” around on the internet, because it is difficult to generalize advice that varies depending on the specific situation. If you feel that Switzerland is the ideal location, and there are many factors that do in fact speak for this country, then it is worth it to do the research or have it done before making the commitment of the actual move.

Further reading

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