Switzerland, a country in Europe bordering Germany, France, Italy and Liechtenstein, is not part of the European Union, but is integrated into the European economy and is considered the most famous financial centre in the world. Its banking sector has a storied history and an impeccable reputation. Switzerland continues to keep the identity of its beneficial owners confidential. Small and medium-sized companies in Switzerland do not have to publish accounts and can also obtain exemptions from audits.
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Accounting in Switzerland is regulated by the provisions of the Code of Obligations.
Swiss companies must file the following forms of financial statements:
I. The following companies must keep accounting records and prepare financial statements and file them with the Commercial Registry:
2. Legal entities:
II. The following companies in Switzerland are not required to keep full accounting records and prepare financial statements; they can prepare condensed financial statements:
III. Sole proprietorships and partnerships with proceeds from sale of goods or services or financial income under 100 000 CHF must only keep records of their receipts and payments on the cash basis.
Requirements regarding compulsory publication of financial statements of companies in Switzerland are limited:
Accounting records, accounting documents, annual accounts and auditor’s reports must be kept for ten years in the registered office of the company.
The following companies must be audited:
I. Companies that exceeded 2 of the 3 criteria in 2 straight years:
II. Standalone and consolidated financial statements of listed companies (whose shares are listed on a stock exchange).
III. Cooperatives that have at least 2 000 members;
IV. Funds that must be audited according to the law.
Switzerland has 26 cantons, confederate states, and each canton has its own time frame for filing accounts, from 6 to 9 months.
In the case of late filing of accounts or refusal to file them, penalties apply. Each of the 26 cantons has its taxation system, so penalties for companies will vary in the case of a delay in filing accounts.
If a company, association or fund controls one or several legal entities that must file financial statements, in addition to annual accounts the enterprise must prepare annual consolidated financial statements for all controlled entities.
Sole proprietorships and partnerships are exempt from the consolidation requirement.
A legal entity is considered to control another entity if it:
A legal entity is exempt from the obligation to make consolidated financial statements if the entity did not exceed two of the following thresholds in two consecutive financial years:
Subgroups are also exempt from the consolidation requirement if consolidated financial statements of the controlling entity have been prepared, audited and provided in accordance with legislation.
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