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Why you should consider Switzerland as part of your international tax planning arrangements?

Contributed by Chris Doyle, CEO Co-Handelszentrum GmbH experts in Swiss company formation
10 May, 2012

Switzerland is not normally considered as an offshore tax haven but is well known for its pro-business attitude and low tax environment.

Swiss Companies enjoy a high degree of international recognition for security, trust, integrity, quality and credibility and thus can be very useful vehicles for use in international trading arrangements with customers or suppliers around the world. The Swiss banking infrastructure is also excellent enabling easy access to banks capable of managing international financial operations.

Switzerland’s position in the heart of Europe also fits well with those companies dealing throughout Europe and of course French, German, Italian and English are widely used within Switzerland.

Aside from these qualities Switzerland offers considerable opportunities, quite legitimately, to significantly reduce corporate and personal taxes through the use of special tax advantaged companies such as the Swiss Mixed Company (useful for import/export,t rading activities and for providing services to other group companies such as marketing, purchasing, sales, sales invoicing etc ) and the Swiss Holding Company which can be useful for holding shares in other companies as well as Intellectual Property such as trademarks, patents, brands, contract rights etc). It is worthy of note that some of the biggest international companies have either Holding Companies or active group Companies based in Switzerland.

Tax Status                                           Effective income tax rate

Holding Company                              7.8 %

Mixed Company                                 9.2% -11%

Note: Above rates are overall (Federal Cantonal using tax rates of Canton Zug)

Source: Price Waterhouse

The personal dimension…..

Unlike many conventional tax havens, Switzerland offers shareholders and senior executives a quality location where they may take up Swiss Residency at some point. The central location, stable political and economic environment, low income tax environment and absence of capital gains taxes and high quality of life may prove attractive options to those whom at some stage may wish to protect their valuable assets and income from high taxation environments. Under bilateral arrangements with the EU, EU Citizens now have an automatic right to live and work in Switzerland. For Non EU Citizens Work and Residency permits are available through an application process through the relevant Canton.

For more information on the different types and potential tax advantages available in Switzerland or a confidential discussion please contact Chris Doyle at CO-Handelszentrum GmbH at cdo@co-handelszentrum.ch  or Tel: 41 (0)41 766 31 52 .

April, 2012


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