Foreign companies

English is not an official language of the Swiss Confederation. This translation is provided for information purposes only and has no legal force.

Please note: As of 1 January 2018, all companies that are domiciled in Switzerland or that provide supply of goods or supply of services in Switzerland will become liable to VAT, if they generate a worldwide turnover of at least CHF 100,000 p.a. resulting from taxable or zero-rated supplies.  

Whoever carries on a business, i.e. independently performs a professional or commercial activity with the aim of sustainable income from supplies and acts vis-à-vis other persons under his own name is in principle liable to tax. This also applies to companies based abroad which operate in Switzerland.  

Whoever generates an annual turnover of less than CHF 100,000 from taxable or zero-rated supplies is exempted from tax unless he or she waives exemption from tax liability and enters voluntary in the register of taxable persons.  

More detailed information on tax liability in the case of value added tax can be found in MWST-Info 02 Steuerpflicht available only in French, German and Italian. 

Companies domiciled abroad which exclusively provide supplies that are tax exempted or supplies of services subject to reverse charge on Swiss territory are – among others – exempt from tax liability.  

For any further queries, please do not hesitate to contact our employees in the Collection Division. The corresponding contact can be found here.

Contract for work and labour on Swiss territory

If a foreign company performs a contract for work and labour on Swiss territory, tax liability is triggered in the case of an annual worldwide turnover (at least CHF 100,000) irrespective of whether material is supplied or not. Further information can be found in MWST-Info 06, Ort der Leistungserbringung, and in publication no. 52.02 from the Federal Customs Administration, contracts for work and labour and supply of goods after processing in Switzerland, available only in French, German and Italian.

Registration for VAT

Persons who are taxable must register online with the FTA in writing within 30 days of the commencement of their tax liability (Startseite -> Mehrwertsteuer -> Dienstleistungen -> Formulare - Online Dienstleistungen -> Anmeldung bei der MWST). In this regard, please note that the person/company must appoint a tax representative with a place of residence or business in Switzerland. In addition, a bank guarantee by a Swiss bank or a cash payment must be provided for the statutory monetary claims.

Tax representative in Switzerland

Foreign taxable persons without a domicile or place of business on Swiss territory must appoint a representative to perform their procedural obligations who has his domicile or place of business on Swiss territory. A natural person or legal entity with a place of residence or business in Switzerland is recognised as a tax representative. As such, the representative does not necessarily need to be a fiduciary, a lawyer or a member of a specific occupational group; it can also be a private individual. An online registration without the appointment of a Swiss tax representative is not possible.

Last modification 19.02.2018

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