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Formation of charitable foundations in Switzerland

Swiss foundations are very active in the fields of health, education, social services, culture, environment and ecology, research, crypto-currencies and funding of general-interest projects.

Switzerland is one of the world’s most highly appreciated countries for the formation of charitable foundation since its laws are very liberal and the legal system is stable. A Swiss foundation is regulated by just eight short articles in the Swiss Civil Code. A foundation obtains its legal personality by its recording in the Trade Register and it is the foundation’s council that deals with achieving the corporate objects according to the settlor’s wishes.

In addition, Switzerland has a high concentration of banks specialising in the fields of wealth management and a banking system renowned internationally for its stability.

More information about Swiss Financial Company & Trust SA

Swiss foundations

Swiss foundations file their financial statements each year with the foundations supervisory authority but the details are not made public.

Public-interest Swiss foundations may benefit from special tax emptions. A request for tax exemption must be made to the tax authorities for foundations that pursue charitable objects and if they fulfil certain cumulative conditions (a foundation does not pursue for-profit objects, a foundation irrevocably allocates its funds to the pursuit of its objects with no possibility of its funds being returned to the donors and the foundation board receives no payment for its work). Commercial activity may be

Swiss public-interest foundations

A Swiss public-interest foundation benefiting from tax exemption is fully exempted from the following taxes:

  • Tax on capital and profit,
  • Taxes on inheritance and donations (not in all cantons),
  • Transfer taxes (not in all cantons),
  • Tax on income from real estate when its use directly serves the public-use object (not in all cantons),
  • Tax on added value (VAT).

Swiss Financial Company & Trust SA sets up and administers public-interest and other charitable foundations for Swiss and international clients. Our experience in requests for tax exemptions and the administrative management of foundations, along with our network of top banking partners allows you to concentrate on what matters the most: the development of your charitable activities.   

Our services to Swiss foundations

  • Forming foundations in Geneva, Lucerne and Zug
  • Applications for tax exemptions
  • Nominee council member residing in Switzerland
  • Opening bank accounts
  • Financial and wealth management services
  • Accounting and Taxes services
  • Administrative management of human resources
  • Legal services

For more information, please do not hesitate to contact us. We will be happy to assist you.