How to Register a Sole Proprietorship in Liechtenstein
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In the heart of the Alps lies one of the world's smallest countries, The Principality of Liechtenstein. It is situated between two highly developed countries, Switzerland and Austria. Free access to the Swiss market and the European Economic Area create optimal conditions for a strongly export-oriented economy.
When starting a business, you can choose between numerous legal forms in Liechtenstein, one of which is a sole proprietorship. It has the simplest structure, and it is the easiest to establish.
Disclaimer: Be aware that this article is not a substitute for legal advice. Please always check official websites or seek legal advice before you take action.
An individual operating a commercial business in their own name and at their own responsibility is considered a sole trader (proprietorship). The proprietor is liable with all of their personal assets, and the liability is not limited. There is no legal personality separate from a natural person. There is also no minimum capital required, and no articles of association are necessary.
In Liechtenstein, sole proprietorships fall under the same incorporation regulations as any other type of company. The main law governing the establishment of a sole proprietorship is the Persons and Company Law. Professionals operating in the agricultural or publishing sectors fall under the Small Business Law.
Business name in Liechtenstein
First, you will need the business name. The business proprietor's family name must always be included in the corporate name. It is possible to include other additions in the corporate name besides the business proprietor's name, like the description of the business activity.
Business permission in Liechtenstein
Before the registration of a business, you must obtain permission from the Office of Economic Affairs. Some industries require a specialized business license instead of a general one. All EEA / EFTA nationals can apply for a trade license. Nationals of non-member states (Example: USA) require residence in Liechtenstein of at least 12 years. All persons can form a company, no matter their nationality. Along with the filled application, the following documents have to be submitted:
- Proof of qualification through an apprenticeship letter, diplomas, etc.;
- The employment contract of the manager or confirmation of the degree of employment;
- Complete rental agreement or proof of ownership (e.g., an excerpt from the land register) with floor plan;
- Extract from the criminal record (original);
- Extract from the seizure register (original);
- ID or passport copy;
- Confirmation of residence for people with residence abroad (original).
Liechtenstein Trade Register
Once this permission is obtained, the sole trader can register with the Trade Register in Liechtenstein. All businesses need to be entered in the commercial register if the annual turnover exceeds the sum of CHF 300,000. The application consists of the application letter, along with all supporting documents required for registration. The required documents are:
- Application for registration with certified signature. This can be recorded directly at the Office of Justice or submitted using Form No. 2 (registration of a sole proprietorship);
- Declarations of acceptance or signing by the business owner;
- Declaration of acceptance and company signature;
- Copy of the business license.
All templates can be found on Onlineschalter.
The commercial register fee for the registration of a sole proprietorship is between CHF 300 and 500. Additional fees can be charged.
If an annual gross turnover of more than CHF 10,000, sole proprietorships are required to keep books. Thus, if the annual gross turnover is less than CHF 10,000, you are exempt from keeping books.
Taxes and VAT in Liechtenstein
The income tax in Liechtenstein has no uniform tax rate. It depends on whether you are single, a single parent, married, or whether you are assessed together with the spouse. In addition, it varies depending on the municipality. The tax rate is comprised of between 1% and 8%, and communal taxes apply on top of the national tax.
The tax return can be filed electronically via e-Tax.
Liechtenstein's standard Value Added Tax rate of 7.7%. Any person with an annual turnover of less than CHF 100,000 is generally exempt from VAT liability.