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An Overview of Domicile Services in Switzerland

Armin Gilg, Attorney at Law at Studhalter & Pfister Rechtsanwälte AG, writes on the topic.

What is a Domicile Address?

In order to legally establish a company in Switzerland – in particular a stock corporation – the company must be registered in the Swiss Commercial Register. To be registered, the company requires, among other things, a registered office and an address for its administrative office or business premises.

If the company has no administration at its registered office or does not conduct business locally, it must indicate a domicile at the place of its registered office in the Commercial Register. The purpose of determining a domicile address is to enable the delivery of notifications to the registered office.

In order to obtain such a domicile address, the company may authorise a natural or legal person to receive the mail addressed to the company on its behalf and to forward it to the company administration.

The commercial registry offices may only enter a domicile address if the application for registration is accompanied by a document expressly stating that the domicile holder has granted the company concerned a legal domicile at its registered office.

What is a Domicile Agreement?

In addition to drawing up the aforementioned domicile declaration, the relationship between the domicile holder and the domicile provider is outlined in an agreement. Such an agreement is also known as a domicile service agreement.

By means of a domicile service agreement, the provision of a domicile address at a specific location is legally determined. The domicile holder provides the company with a business address which is entered in the commercial register as the domicile address (so-called “c/o address”). Annual compensation is typically agreed for providing the business address.

What Are the Advantages of a Domicile Service?

The advantage of the domicile service for the domicile holder is that the domicile holder has a business address without renting an office and is thus able to strengthen the company’s image in a cost-efficient manner.

Furthermore, the domicile service contract not only includes the provision of a business address, but also provides for the processing of certain services for the domicile holder. Typical domicile services are the handling of correspondence in the form of receiving and forwarding mail, receiving incoming calls and the providing meeting rooms. Thus, with the help of a domicile service agreement, the domicile holder can outsource the aforementioned administrative activities in order not to have to carry them out personally.

Deletion of the Domicile Address

If the domicile service agreement is terminated and the former domicile holder subsequently fails to notify the Commercial Register of the deletion of the domicile endorsement, the domiciliary provider may register the deletion of the “c/o address”.

Administration Agreement

In practice, an administration agreement is regularly concluded in addition to a domicile service agreement. The administration agreement enables the domicile holder to outsource other administrative activities beyond receiving and forwarding mail. Often, the domicile provider assumes the following tasks for the domicile holder within the framework of an administration agreement:

– Receiving incoming telephone calls and inquiries, staffing the telephone during normal business hours;

– Acceptance of daily correspondence;

– Processing of daily incoming correspondence, in particular incoming inquiries, requests and applications, etc., including dossier management;

– Financial and liquidity management: execution and monitoring of payments and other transactions, evaluation and securing of liquidation requirements, contacts and negotiations with banks and other financial institutions, preparation and ongoing continuation of bookkeeping;

– Preparation of the bookkeeping and annual audit in cooperation with the auditors;

– Preparation and monitoring of board meetings and other meetings, including preparation of the necessary documentation and minutes;

– Execution of payments incl. contact with banks and administration of accounts;

– Other administrative work in connection with the maintenance of the client’s area of activity.

Compensation for the execution of these administrative tasks is generally paid on a time and material basis.

Armin Gilg is an Attorney at Law at Studhalter & Pfister Rechtsanwälte AG, ag@stu-law.ch

For further information regarding our services: www.stu-law.ch

charlie.hartmann@livinginluzern.swiss

Charlie Hartmann is the managing director of the Livingin organisation which focuses on helping international residents connect, grow and thrive in Switzerland.

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