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Created on 12.11.2018

Digitization and e-government – how businesses can save themselves a trip to the local authority offices

The digital transformation is not just about robots, big data and artificial intelligence. Federal government, the cantons and the municipalities in Switzerland are providing more and more e-government services thanks to greater digitization. As well as the planned introduction of e-voting, e-payment already makes digital transactions with the authorities easier. With the large range of online services available, it is sometimes difficult for companies to find their bearings. We outline which useful digital tools are available in this field and how you can avoid having to visit local authority offices in future.

Digitization as an opportunity

The digital transformation does not just provide digital natives (people who grew up in the age of digital technologies) with useful, new technologies. E-government services are making everyday routines in business increasingly easier. They make obtaining information and authorizations as well as the processing of transactions with the public administration much more straightforward. As the 2017 The link will open in a new window study published by E-Government Switzerland indicates,  the Swiss economy’s level of satisfaction with the services provided by the administration is high. Switzerland is also performing well by global standards in this respect. It currently occupies 8th place in Europe according to the UN E-Government Survey 2018 .

In order to expand the range of services provided by the digital administrations within e-government, the Federal Council adopted the E-Government Strategy Switzerland in 2007. The administration’s strategy on digitization has since been implemented and driven forward in cooperation with E-Government Switzerland, the umbrella organization run by federal government, the cantons and the municipalities. Strategic projects, such as E-ID Switzerland (electronic ID), are also being jointly planned and coordinated.

Useful tools from the Confederation and the cantons

The digital transformation is creating new technologies and, in turn, new ways of interacting with the authorities. At federal and cantonal level, there are already an increasing number of useful The link will open in a new window online tools. We would like to briefly outline some of the projects at this point.

E-government at federal level

An online counter for companies which enables the central electronic processing of authorization, application and registration procedures. Registration is free of charge. At work the tool makes it easier, for example, to set up companies as registration with the commercial register, the AHV compensation fund and for VAT can be carried out electronically.

ESTV SuisseTax

This e-government solution introduced in 2015 enables Swiss SMEs to manage their tax affairs online. After registration with the Federal Tax Administration (FTA), VAT returns or applications for the reimbursement of withholding tax can be submitted electronically.

The Swiss Commercial Gazette

The Swiss Commercial Gazette publishes announcements provided for by law as well as official information, such as commercial register notifications, calls to creditors and corporate publications. The announcements are all freely accessible. Data from the past three years is available digitally.

E-government at cantonal level

The cantons are also gearing up for the digital future and developing new e-government projects. A good example is the Canton of Zurich which is continually enhancing its expertise in the field of digital administration. The option of making all entries in the Zurich commercial register electronically has been available since 1 January 2013, for example. In addition to Zurich, all other cantons, including the Canton of Berne and the Canton of Zug, are providing their citizens and companies based there with more and more online services in the field of e-government. For example, applications for residency and work permits can be made digitally. 

Digitization as a driver for greater efficiency

Digitization is driving forward e-government at Swiss administrations. Keeping track of everything is a challenge for many companies. Knowing where to find key information and tools makes life easier and means you can avoid having to make a trip to local authority offices in future.

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