Tax Haven Switzerland

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A tradition of banking privacy, stability and asset protection for Swiss bank account holders gained Switzerland its tax haven status. Largely due to Switzerland’s strategic location, hundreds of companies from Europe and North America have established regional headquarters and research/production bases in Switzerland. Switzerland is considered a developing free trade zone and competitive multicultural gateway in Europe.

Brief Country Overview

Tax haven Switzerland is found in central Europe with the France, Germany, Italy and Austria and Liechtenstein surrounding its western, northern, southern and eastern borders, respectively, reason why Switzerland is often described as a landlocked country. The Swiss Confederation, as it is officially known, is separated into 26 cantons or states, each of which enjoy a certain degree of autonomy, with Bern serving as the headquarters for federal authorities.

Geographically, tax haven Switzerland is diverse and has three principal regions, namely, the Alps, Jura and Plateau, which give the country its contrasting weather conditions, resembling those experienced in the Mediterranean and Siberia. Tax haven Switzerland existed as a federal state as early as 1848. The federal assembly elects the seven members who make up the government and serve terms as president of Switzerland. The democratic system is highly developed and heavily influenced by the people.

Switzerland’s central location, highly skilled and educated labour force, modern infrastructure and advanced fiscal regime enable companies to exercise competitive edge over companies worldwide. Tax haven Switzerland’s main exports include cheese, chocolate and watches as well as chemicals, electrical and mechanical engineering products which represent more than half of the items exported from Switzerland. Other contributors to the Swiss economy are tourism, consultancy and insurance services, which help total exported services and goods sum up to approximately USD 16,000 or CHF 25,000 per head per year, as reported by OSEC (Swiss Business Network), which assists small and medium enterprises (SMEs) from Liechtenstein and Switzerland to establish themselves in global markets through the promotion of Swiss export products. Some Swiss companies export at least 90% of their goods and services.

Switzerland Fiscal Advantages and Incentives

As a tax haven and international business center, Switzerland offers numerous advantages as follows:

  • Favorable regulatory framework
  • Friendly corporate laws
  • Efficient, uncomplicated system for setting up companies
  • High level of multicultural integration
  • Strong relationship with Europe
  • Moderate taxation
  • Advanced infrastructure
  • Top class system of education
  • Leading industrial sectors
  • Institutionalized professional support for new and incoming businessmen

Swiss Financial Services

Tax haven Switzerland offers a wide variety of offshore and financial services, which are made possible by the Swiss Constitution in accordance with its policy to create economic freedom within the Swiss economy. Under the Constitution, foreign and Swiss nationals are able to form companies in Switzerland. Foreign nationals can form unincorporated companies and are not required to submit annual reports operating figures when setting up a company.

  • Offshore Banking
  • Insurance services
  • Formation of strategic alliance with or without equity interest
  • Establishing incorporated or unincorporated companies
  • Acquisition of existing companies
  • Forming joint ventures
  • Securities dealers
  • Collective Mortgage Schemes
  • Mortgage bond companies
  • Stock exchanges and markets
  • Auditing firms
  • Fiduciary services

Tax haven Swiss allows for the formation the following legal entities:

  • Unincorporated partnership-type companies (partnerships: sole, general and limited)
  • Limited partnership for collective investment
  • Incorporated capital-based companies (GmbH/limited liability company, AG/stock corporation)
  • Legal entities such as branch offices, joint ventures and alliances

Swiss Offshore Legislative Framework

  • The Administrative Procedure Act
  • Loi sur les Banques et les Caisses d’Epargne - The Banking Act 1934
  • Loi sur les bourses, LBVM - Stock Exchange Act 1995

Swiss Federal Banking Commission (SFBC)

The Swiss Federal Banking Commission is an independent body responsible for supervising certain sectors within the financial sector. The SFBC forms part of the federal Department of Finance but is not administered by central government or the Federal Council. Initially, the SFBC had the task of supervising banks, but its tasks were broadened to include the supervision of other areas of the financial sector such as securities dealers, audit firms, investment companies, fund management companies, limited partnerships for collective investments, stock exchanges and markets, and asset managers. The general objectives of the SFBC are geared towards guaranteeing the functionality of securities markets, maintaining proper functioning of the financial sector, and protecting investors and creditors.

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