Tax liability of foreign companies

Fiscal/tax representation Switzerland

Foreign companies must appoint a tax representative in Switzerland. We would be happy to provide you with this service, as well as offering the following additional VAT-related services:

Our services

  • Assessing your company's tax liability
  • Entering your company in the Swiss VAT register
  • Analysing your company's individual requirements
  • Providing ongoing advice on business cases
  • Declaring and submitting quarterly statements, incl. checking incoming and outgoing invoices
  • Leading the correspondence and negotiations with the Federal Tax Administration
  • Preparing and assisting in any legal proceedings

When are you liable to pay tax in Switzerland as a foreign company?

Does your company operate in Switzerland but have its head office abroad, or do you serve Swiss clients? Then you will need to consider the following questions:

  • Do you perform work on inanimate objects in Switzerland (e.g. assembly services, installation services)?
  • Do you provide services under a contract for work in Switzerland?
  • Do you provide digital services for private individuals in Switzerland (e.g. digital provision of websites, software, or music)?
  • Do you physically implement software in Switzerland?
  • Do you physically implement anything else in Switzerland?
  • Do you operate a warehouse in Switzerland?
  • Would you like to voluntarily enter your company in the Swiss VAT register so as to simplify import and customs formalities for your clients?
  • Do you generate revenue in excess of CHF 100,000 (approx. EUR 90,000) annually from these services provided in Switzerland?

 If you answered "yes" to at least one of these questions and generate CHF 100,000 or more in revenue, you are obliged to pay VAT in Switzerland.

 From 1 January 2018, any company that generates revenue of CHF 100,000 or more worldwide through the provision of taxable services will be obliged to pay VAT in Switzerland from the first franc.

Companies that generate revenue of CHF 100,000 or more through small deliveries to Switzerland that are not subject to import taxes will be obliged to pay VAT as of 1 January 2019. Deliveries that are not subject to import taxes are those for which import tax would be CHF 5 or less (i.e. goods worth CHF 65.00 subject to 7.7% VAT, or goods worth CHF 200 subject to 2.5% VAT (e.g. books)).

Additional questions:

Areas other than VAT are also of interest to foreign companies.

For example, if long-standing activity in Switzerland results in the establishment of

  • business premises for tax purposes,

a tax declaration must be filed. Moreover, in many cases

  • work permits

for foreign employees need to be applied for. Another interesting option may be that of

  • founding a company in Switzerland.

Contact us

Key contacts

Alexandre Sadik

Alexandre Sadik

Head of VAT Western Switzerland, Head of Legal Geneva - Partner
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Adrian Wyss

Adrian Wyss

Head VAT BDO Switzerland, Bern & Solothurn - Partner
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