The Swiss Confederation, is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons (similar to federal states). Bern is the seat of the federal authorities. The country is in the heart of Western Europe where it is bordered by Germany to the north, France to the west, Italy to the south, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. The Swiss population is approximately 7.8 million people. Zurich and Geneva are the biggest cities and economic centers. There are three main linguistic and cultural regions: German, French, and Italian, to which the Romansh-speaking valleys are added.
The Swiss Confederation has a long history of neutrality and is home to many international organizations, including the second largest UN office, the Red Cross, the World Trade Organization, International Labour Organization or sports federation as the International Olympic Committee and FIFA. On the European level it was a founder of the European Free Trade Association and is part of the Schengen Agreement. But Switzerland is not a member of the European Union and not a member of the European Economic Area.
Switzerland is one of the richest countries in the world by per capita gross domestic product and is also seen as on of the most competitive economies. Switzerland also has one of the world’s largest account balances as a percentage of GDP, only placing behind a few oil producing countries. Zurich and Geneva have respectively been ranked as the cities with the second and third highest quality of life in the world. Please find more information here.
- Switzerland has one of the highest living standards in the world, it is located in the center of Europe and has an abundance of natural beauty that is popular with tourists
- Global financial center
- Very favourable tax regime with moderate tax rates
- Comprehensive tax treaty network
- You can find more comprehensive reasons to relocate to Switzerland here
In general the Swiss tax law is very abstract and differs in each canton. While many cantons have very reasonable tax rates it is important to get advice before relocating.
- Income Tax: Starting at Depends on the canton and city, e.g. in the canton of Zug maximum of 22%). In many Cantons so called "lump sum tax agreements" are possible for non working foreign citizens. These taxes can be significantly lower than otherwise. The annual fixed tax can be anwhere from 150.000CHF to 1.000.000CHF.
- Capital Gain Tax: Capital gains on private property (excluding real estate) are tax-free (exceptions can apply).
- Inheritance Tax: Very low; in some cantons tax free.
- Gift Tax: Depends on canton and recepient. In some cases tax free.
- Wealth / Net Worth Tax: Depends on the canton on city
- Depending on the canton very interesting tax exemptions for holding companies.
Cost of living
- Cost of living in Switzerland is relatively high. Zurich was ranked the most expensive city in the world in 2013. Rent for a 1BR appartment can be 30.000USD/year; purchase prices start at 1.2 million USD. Prices can differ significantly in other cities / cantons. Please find more details here.
- As citizen of a signatory of the Schengen treaty it is relatively easy to to relocate to Switzerland. Non-working EU citizens need to proove sufficient funds. In general it is very difficult for owners of SME that do not own a EU passport to obtain a permit that allows them to work. You can find more information here.
- Immigration though Lump Sum Taxation Agreement is possible for non EU citizens. This requires proove of a significant amount of wealth. Please contact us for further information.