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Created on 17.12.2018

The commercial register – what you need to bear in mind

A commercial register entry is mandatory for many companies. The commercial register is a public directory that helps ensure greater transparency and certainty on the Swiss market. As a database managed by the cantons, the register contains the most important information, key figures and other details on all actively operating companies. Federal government has supreme supervisory control. The register is governed by law under the Commercial Register Ordinance (CRO). Who does this apply to? Who does the commercial register concern?

Applicability: All companies in Switzerland with certain legal forms require an entry in the commercial register. This includes sole proprietorships (from CHF 100,000 in annual revenue), private limited companies, general and limited partnerships, limited liability companies, cooperatives, commercially-run associations, foundations (except for family and church foundations) and branches of companies. 

What must be included in the commercial register entry?

Companies can make an entry in the commercial register at one of Switzerland’s 30 commercial registries or online atThe link will open in a new window EasyGov. The Central Business Name Index (The link will open in a new window Zefix) manages all entries. Anyone can view the information on a particular company subject to payment of a fee.

Depending on the legal form, the commercial register entry provides information on

  • The name, year of foundation and head office of the company,
  • The purpose of the company,
  • Corporate governance, in other words the names of the shareholders, board of directors’ members, executive board members and authorized signatories,
  • The capital structure and
  • Auditors

How much does a commercial register entry cost?

A commercial register entry is subject to a charge.Various fees apply for the commercial register entry, depending on the type of company:

  • Sole proprietorship: CHF 120 (basic fee)
  • General partnership and limited partnership: CHF 240 (basic fee)
  • Private limited company and limited liability company: CHF 600 (basic fee)
  • Cooperative and association: CHF 400 CHF (basic fee)
  • Signing right: CHF 30 (per entry)
  • Entry of a function: CHF 20 (per entry)
  • Drafting of a registration: up to CHF 100
  • Issuing or certification of registration documents: up to CHF 120
  • Legal information or validation of entry documents: CHF 100 to 250 (per hour)

Why make a commercial register entry?

The entry in the commercial register entails rights and obligations.Business partners can view the legal relationships in the commercial register. Companies entered therefore generally enjoy greater trust. They also benefit in terms of creditworthiness, as creditors enjoy better protection in the event of bankruptcy. The entry also protects the company’s name.

On the other hand, enforcement through bankruptcy proceedings applies to companies entered in the commercial register.This means that in extreme cases, individual creditors can demand the opening of bankruptcy proceedings. All of the debtor’s assets are included in the bankruptcy estate under this procedure.

Anyone starting a business must find out exactly which obligations arise from a commercial register entry. In return, they enjoy significant rights and benefits. 

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