There are many scenarios when you need to preventively find out if your company is in good shape. Some examples are the change of ownership (you bought previously operating company) or change of accountant/director (you are not sure if he fulfilled all obligations correctly). Being proactive saves you thousands in non-compliance or late filing fees.
Unfortunately, there is no one-stop-shop solution. Below you find the list of key contacts for the health check. You can do it yourself or entrust us with these matters.
Tax authority (Steueramt)
The obvious 1st point of contact. Please be aware that final assessment of taxes is usually made ca. 2 years after reporting period, i.e. tax declarations for 2016 are due on September 30, 2017 (deadline can be further extended) and the average processing time is ca. 1 year. Another nuance is that canton of company domicile only can provide information for the years when company HQ are in that canton. So for a company that in the last few years changed the seat from Zug to Zurich, you should check both tax authorities of Zurich and Zug. This “trick” is used by some unscrupulous corporate service providers selling ready-made companies.
Social Security (AHV)
Salaries, compensations to board members and even in some cases dividends are subject to ca. 10-12% of social taxes. You as director (even new one) is personally responsible for it. So best is to check with all Social Security offices at current and former seats of a company.
Withholding Taxes (Quellensteuer)
In our global world, previous or current employees can be foreign nationals. If they don’t have a Swiss settlement permit, their salaries are subject to withholding taxes. Not employees but a company and its management are responsible for the correct transfer of them to tax authorities of cantons where company’s employees reside. You can find a list of employees in Social Security filings.
VAT Administration (MwSt)
Pretty easy to get in trouble. If the company missed some quartal declarations, they can assume “average” VAT based on industry and start the collection process.
Pension Fund (BVG)
Each employer paying salaries of more than CHF 21’150 (2017 value) is obliged to have a pension fund. Its company obligation to report any changes and don’t assume there are no outstanding items there. Better check and have no surprises.
Debt Collection Offices (Betreibungsamt)
Best is to check with all of them, i.e. at each debt collection office of former and current seats of the company. The database is not centralized. Even small unpaid bills quickly accumulate draconian government fees. Beware!
Private Databases (e.g. Creditreform)
Few respected debt collection agencies run private, member-only databases of companies with bad payment practices. Avoid surprises but requesting an extract of information about your company. It will save you unpleasant surprises from banks, creditors and trade partners – quite some run checks against these private databanks.
Depending on the industry, you should check if your license needs some extension or you miss some customs filings.