Swiss Joint-Stock Company: Structure and Taxation


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Switzerland has long-term international business traditions as well as a stable legal system. That is why many businesses choose Switzerland to establish their companies, branches and representative offices. Swiss taxes are moderate and the tax system is simple and transparent.


Interis AG provides its clients with comprehensive service in the process of setting up, incorporating and administering companies in Switzerland. However, our support is not only limited to the company incorporation phase. Our specialists will provide further assistance and follow your business up during its activities. This follow-up service includes managing the bank accounts, bookkeeping, reporting, audits, administrative and financial consulting and many other services.


According to the Swiss legislation, any Swiss citizen or foreign national has the right to establish a company in the Swiss Confederation and work in it (applies only to the EU/EFTA citizens) or to participate in such a company as shareholder or co-owner. For certain nationals, the registration of a company may even be a precondition to receive a residence and/or work permit in Switzerland (if required, our company will support you to receive such a residence permit). A residence permit gives its holder the same basic economic rights as any other Swiss citizen. The joint-stock company (Aktiengesellschaft - AG) is the most common Swiss company type. The AG can, for example, be used for companies active in the trading, production, holding or financing businesses and can also be set up as a subsidiary of a foreign company



Key requirements of the AG structure and taxation:

Share capital: CHF 100,000 (at least)

Shares: Bearer shares or registered shares possible (from 2021 only registered shares). If bearer shares are chosen the capital has to be fully paid up. Registered shares allow a partial payment of the share capital (minimum CHF 50,000).

Board: The board must have at least one member. One of the Board members must be residing in Switzerland on a permanent basis.

Executive directors: There are no nationality restrictions for executives (such as for the Board).

Audit: It is not compulsory. The audit should be conducted only in the case of known specific criteria.

Shareholders’ meeting:  

Should be convened at least once a year.

Its goal is to approve the annual accounts, the decision to use the annual profits of the company and to elect or reelect the Board and auditors. Clients’ interests at the meeting can be represented by their authorized representative’.  

The AG advantages:   
  • liability is limited with the company assets/share capital
  • limited liabilities of shareholders
  • simple regulation of inheritance
  • flexibility while developing a company charter
Taxation: The Swiss tax law has three levels of taxation authority represented by the federal, cantonal and local communal taxes. For the companies with predominantly international activities, the tax payments are significantly reduced, at least on a municipal and cantonal level.
Dividend payment: Distributed dividends are subject to the 35% Swiss withholding tax, which can be partially or completely returned due to treaties for the avoidance of double taxation which Switzerland has concluded with many countries (in the case of a company as a shareholder a dividend statement will be enough).

Company foundation:   It initially requires a personal meeting that is usually free of charge and not binding. It takes 10-14 days to register a company, starting from the receipt of assignment to set up a new company and payment of a required share capital. However, a bank account opening and transfer of the share capital is a must. The time required by a bank for compliance is not predictable and it will take on average at least 6 to 8 weeks. The cost of registration depends on the type of company and the range of support services.

Interis AG offers the following services related to the establishment of AG to its clients:


  • Advice on the selection of an optimal form of a company on the territory of Switzerland in accordance with the client’s needs
  • Development of all necessary documents including agreements, company charters, bylaws and certificates.
  • Support to e cooperation with the leading banking organizations, opening bank accounts and keeping further contacts with the banks.
  • Registration of companies in Switzerland.
  • Representation of the interests of Swiss and foreign clients in the company Board and appointment of the company directors, if needed.
  • Carrying out the bookkeeping and annual reporting; salary reports.
  • Organization of the shareholders’ meeting.
  • Organization of tax reports in the case of establishment, reorganization, changes in the structure of share capital or liquidation of the company. We also prepare full tax declarations for all cantons (income tax, property tax), advise on the tax issues, including VAT, as well as represent the interests of our clients before the tax authorities as need be.
  • Auditing services.
  • Support to ensure access to the economic development funds in all cantons of Switzerland.
  • Advising our clients on all issues related to the company planning (including business plan development) and provision of support to implement these plans
  • Advising our clients on any issues related to financial planning and controlling, as well as on the selection of the most optimal company form.

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