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Old 25.09.2010, 16:55
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Registering an Online Business in Switzerland

Hello everyone, my name is John!

I am new to this forum!

I am planning in the near future to open up an online business in Switzerland and I need information of how to do it?

This type of business will be flexible to operate in any part of the world but will be registered as a swiss entrepreneurship business.

I ve read all the rules needed to start up a normal small business in switzerland
(Work Permit, Identification, business plan, sustainable capital in swiss currency, etc)
but are there any other rules considering an online business??

I cant find any asnwers on that anywhere and I thought that this is the best place to ask!

If anyone knows any information about that please share!

Yours Truly

John K.
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Old 25.09.2010, 17:14
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Re: Registering an Online Business in Switzerland

Just to be more specific,

This online business will be a music production business operated from many parts of the world, I travel alot due to my career in many parts of the world,
Austria, Greece, Switzerland, etc.

The music so far will be promoted and sold in different parts of the world (USA, Germany, Denmark, Greece, UK, Holland) in niche markets, through online websites, and the income will be in a swiss bank account.

I read some other relative topics that were helpful, but the issue of taxes is my main concern.

1) If swiss tax is 15% then will I pay as an online business to the other countries some tax as well?

2) What makes an online business different than a normal business in terms of forming it (are there any other rules that apply to online?).

Last edited by Uncle Max; 27.09.2010 at 14:43. Reason: Removed self-quoted post
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Old 25.09.2010, 17:24
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Re: Registering an Online Business in Switzerland

Just be very specific, go ask (meaning pay him) your accountant or notary for full upto date accurate details.

You'll save a lot of time and effort
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Old 25.11.2010, 13:27
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Re: Registering an Online Business in Switzerland

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Just to be more specific,

...

1) If swiss tax is 15% then will I pay as an online business to the other countries some tax as well?

2) What makes an online business different than a normal business in terms of forming it (are there any other rules that apply to online?).
Hi John,

I'm in the same position and looking for same answers.
I see this post is 2 months old, did you get answers to such questions ?
Thx
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Old 25.11.2010, 13:35
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Re: Registering an Online Business in Switzerland

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Just to be more specific,

This online business will be a music production business operated from many parts of the world, I travel alot due to my career in many parts of the world,
Austria, Greece, Switzerland, etc.

The music so far will be promoted and sold in different parts of the world (USA, Germany, Denmark, Greece, UK, Holland) in niche markets, through online websites, and the income will be in a swiss bank account.

I read some other relative topics that were helpful, but the issue of taxes is my main concern.

1) If swiss tax is 15% then will I pay as an online business to the other countries some tax as well?

2) What makes an online business different than a normal business in terms of forming it (are there any other rules that apply to online?).

1) I doesn't matter if your business is online or not. The internet will only be your means of selling. If your business is based in Switzerland, you pay taxes in Switzerland and operate under Swiss laws.

If your web shop is global your customers all over the world are doing business with a Swiss business and you will not pay any taxes but the one you pays here in Swiss. As long as you don't have any local affiliate/business in any other country, that is how it is.

If you sell some "music stuff" from your Swiss company in your web shop you are exporting your product/service.

2) As far as I can think of......Nothing. I had a web shop in Denmark for several years and a web shop is like any other shop. You have a product/service you want to sell and your web shop is just your way to do it as opposed to sales people in a physical store or a call center.

Last edited by ElggDK; 25.11.2010 at 14:09. Reason: Spell check
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Old 25.11.2010, 13:45
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Re: Registering an Online Business in Switzerland

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1) I doesn't matter if your business is online or not. The internet will only be your means of selling. If your business is based in Switzerland, you pay taxes in Switzerland and operate under Swiss laws.

If your web shop is global your customers all over the world are doing business with a Swiss business and you will not pay any taxes but the one you pays here in Swiss. As long as you don't have any local affiliate/business in any other country, that is how it is.

If you sell some "music stuff" from your Swiss company in your web shop you are exporting your product/service.

2) As far as I can think of......Nothing. I had a web shop in Denmark for several years and a web shop is like any other shop. You have a product/service you want to seel and your web shop is just your way to do it as opposed to sales people in a physical store or a call center.
Careful this is not strictly true. Internet businesses have different laws applying to the transaction and these are the local laws of the buyer not the seller. This is very relevant in the EU.

Also wrt taxes you can pay sales tax in a local jurisdiction if your sales are high enough. Income tax or profit is a different matter though.
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Old 25.11.2010, 14:16
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Re: Registering an Online Business in Switzerland

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Careful this is not strictly true. Internet businesses have different laws applying to the transaction and these are the local laws of the buyer not the seller. This is very relevant in the EU.

Also wrt taxes you can pay sales tax in a local jurisdiction if your sales are high enough. Income tax or profit is a different matter though.
I am puzzled.....(but at the same time well aware that you are into law-stuff).

Could you please describe a case or two.....

I cannot see why any local VAT will come into play if the sellers Swiss company sell something to someone out side Switzerland APART from what will be added as VAT when it enter the country where the buyer reside, but that has nothing to do with the seller.

However, I am aware of the fact that when I buy something at amazon.COM (i.e. in the US), Amazon will tell me cough up Danish/Swiss VAT depending on my choice of shipping address, so is this because Amazon sells for a zillion per minut and then are over a specific limit?

BTW OT: Your URL in your signature is not working.....at least not at my end.
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Old 25.11.2010, 14:35
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Re: Registering an Online Business in Switzerland

I know I need to see an accountant... but just out of my curiosity:

So, let's say I sell software online from my Swiss company, do I have to check regulations according to ALL countries where a customer purchase my software ?

Also, if I sell software online, can I be a solo entrepreneur ? I guess yes, but then I have to be careful to not go to court , correct ?

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BTW OT: Your URL in your signature is not working.....at least not at my end.
Same here, so curious to see it
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Old 25.11.2010, 15:12
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Re: Registering an Online Business in Switzerland

As Richard says, if I buy your stuff on your swiss hosted site in Ireland, the buying transaction for me is subject to Irish law, especially when I provide an Irish billing and delivery address.

Depending then on how much Irish based business you'd be doing, once you exceed a certain business volume threshold, you either have the option of registering locally for VAT/Taxes or must.

You're aware of the example of the Apple iTunes store. Physical deliveries from Ireland attract Irish rates of VAT within EU, however downloads within EU attract Luxembourger rates of VAT.

Check the Swiss iTunes T&Cs for details of how they differentiate Swiss bought transactions technically executed from Wallisellen/ZH (similar for Cisco, Microsoft etc).
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Old 25.11.2010, 15:20
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Re: Registering an Online Business in Switzerland

Hi all, very interesting post.

Is the seller responsible to apply the VAT in the country of the buyer? I thought the seller is exporting something and as far he/she is concerned it is (in most case) free of VAT. Like when you get something from the UK for example and it comes VAT free but you pay the VAT here.
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Old 25.11.2010, 16:07
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Re: Registering an Online Business in Switzerland

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Is the seller responsible to apply the VAT in the country of the buyer? I thought the seller is exporting something and as far he/she is concerned it is (in most case) free of VAT. Like when you get something from the UK for example and it comes VAT free but you pay the VAT here.
Here is how it worked when I had a Danish (i.e. within the EU) web shop. When I sold something to someone living in another EU country, they paid the Danish VAT and when I sold to customers in Non-EU countries like Switzerland, the Danish VAT was not added.

This is according to Danish VAT-law so I assume it applies within the other EU-countries as well.

However, as I wrote in my previous post and as I understood Richard ment as well, there may be other rules for the really big companies like Amazon and Apples when a customer within a EU-country buys something from a company outside the EU.
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Old 25.11.2010, 16:24
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Re: Registering an Online Business in Switzerland

Roger that... thanks
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Old 25.11.2010, 20:47
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Re: Registering an Online Business in Switzerland

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Here is how it worked when I had a Danish (i.e. within the EU) web shop. When I sold something to someone living in another EU country, they paid the Danish VAT and when I sold to customers in Non-EU countries like Switzerland, the Danish VAT was not added.

This is according to Danish VAT-law so I assume it applies within the other EU-countries as well.

However, as I wrote in my previous post and as I understood Richard ment as well, there may be other rules for the really big companies like Amazon and Apples when a customer within a EU-country buys something from a company outside the EU.
Magyir summed it up. Each country within the EU has limits on the amount of goods an internet business (or physical for that matter) can sell into a country before they need to be registered for VAT. And it is not as high as you think. You will notice that companies such as play.com and amazon use Jersey and Switzerland as their delivery port. IF they were to use an EU based delivery portal or send from within the EU ie drop ship then they would be liable to the EU VAT registration rules. Incidentally Germany is a nightmare in this respect as they have rules about which "countries" they believe are in the EU and that is not quite the way the EU sees it. This is basically to prevent a business setting up as being for example in Jersey and registering everything including the internet shop and payment gateway in Jersey and then shipping everything free of VAT but from somewhere within the EU.

You might bring up the subject of Ebay which has some of its customers registered and for that matter actually being in Hong Kong but delivering into the EU. For that reason there is no duty free amount on Ebay transactions and any amount is liable for VAT at the national rate. The customer generally picks up the bill here.

The other thing about the internet shipping within the EU is VATable articles vary from country to country. So for example in the UK books are VAT free but not in Germany. If you are a book seller be it internet or physical shop then if you sell over if memory serves me right about 60K in total on all items into Germany you must register for and then also charge VAT on books. The same applies to other countries for other articles.

That you never did it for goods out of Denmark does not mean you were handling VAT correctly. It is a very complicated area of EU regulation, very volatile and do not take the above I have written as the correct version. IT is a mere subset of how the law was a few months ago. I will need to check in a few months again but for now...
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Old 25.11.2010, 20:49
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Re: Registering an Online Business in Switzerland

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BTW OT: Your URL in your signature is not working.....at least not at my end.
Never noticed that before thanks. Changed it now.
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Old 05.05.2011, 17:06
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Re: Registering an Online Business in Switzerland

Sorry for not replying to any of your posts.

Looks like this thread was quite busy.

I will read all of the posts cause I have alot of questions also.
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Old 05.05.2011, 17:07
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Re: Registering an Online Business in Switzerland

Sorry for not replying to any of your posts.

Looks like this thread was quite busy.

I will read all of the posts cause I have alot of questions also.
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Old 05.05.2011, 18:09
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Re: Registering an Online Business in Switzerland

So based on all of the threads that everyone has written


1) I need to see a swiss accountant.

2) VAT is paid based on which country does the swiss company sells to.

This thing needs alot of research in depth

Thanks for your input guys!
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Old 10.10.2011, 15:22
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Registering an internet service business in Switzerland

Hello everyone!

I am a EU citizien, how can I register an internet service company that can operate outside of Switzerland?

If yes then how?

Here are my questions:

1) What kind of a business tax will it pay?

2) What is required to register the company in Switzerland.

3) What kind of VAT for services does the company charge?

4) Payment methods & charges of swiss & non swiss citizens (available payment options)

5) Requirements to open a business bank account

6) Bookkeeping & accounting services (mail forwarding, fax, phone numbers.)

7) Is any Swiss Insurance payment necessary?

8) Shareholders payments and taxes: do they pay taxes in Switzerland or at the country where the owners/operators reside.

How much all of the above process will it estimate in cost?

Can you also refer me to any links where I can ask??
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