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New changes in the Immigration Law of Latvia
On March 2, 2017 the new amendments to the Immigration Law of Latvia (hereinafter referred to as  - the Law) came into effect, according to which several new grounds for obtaining a temporary residence permit in Latvia (hereinafter referred to  as –TRP), as well as the conditions for obtaining a TRP on the basis of registration of a representative of a foreign merchant.
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Член Торгово-промышленной палаты Латвии Latvijas Tirdzniecības un Rūpniecības Kameras biedrs Member of the Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

About Us

Since its foundation in 1996 the law office “INLAT PLUS” has been one of the most active and leading companies providing legal service in Latvia. The variety of the qualified legal services provided by the company will meet the most demanding requirements of its clients (legal and physical persons).

Contact information

Address of the office:
E-mail:
Brivibas 40-15, LV-1050, Riga, Latvia ip@inlatplus.lv
Phone:
Fax:
(+371) 67505970
(+371) 26403577
(+371) 67505978

Real Estate And Taxes In Switzerland

03.09.2008
Switzerland is rightfully considered as one of the best places to live on Earth. Switzerland has never been involved in a war in the last 500 years as it has always been and still remains politically neutral. This is one of the reasons why so many international organizations have chosen Switzerland as a location of their headquarters.

Inflation in Switzerland is less than 1%. The economy of Switzerland is one of the world's most stable economies, whereas the Swiss franc is the fifth-most-traded currency in the foreign exchange market.

Insurance, hotel business, as well as tourism are the most important industries in the Swiss economy, as to its banking system - it has always been and will be surrounded by myths and legends.

Switzerland is a famous international tourism and banking centre. For decades Switzerland has also been a centre of international schools and pre-school institutions. Children from all over the world study in Swiss boarding schools to improve their knowledge.

There are four official languages in Switzerland: Swiss German (65%), French (20%), Italian (9%), Romansh (1%). Foreigners make up about 20% of the population of Switzerland.

Purchase of real estate in Switzerland is a conservative yet safe investment with a long-term perspective. It is one of the best ways to vary one’s investments on the international market. Within the last 40 years the value of real estate in Switzerland has been constantly rising for 3-4% per year. It should also be kept in mind that Switzerland offers more favourable terms of taxation in comparison with other European countries.

Commercial Real Estate

For foreigners, there are no restrictions or limitations regarding the purchase of commercial real estate in Switzerland, in contrast to residential real estate.

Switzerland offers equal legal terms and absolute legal protection both to foreign investors and citizens of Switzerland.

Commercial real estate (e.g., offices, warehouses, workshops etc.) is attractive to investors as they can predict their income for the immediate future. Normally, rent agreements are concluded in Switzerland for a period of 5 years, then they are prolonged for the same term. It is a quaranteed income, in comparison with the purchase of residential real estate.

Residential Real Estate

Purchase of real estate by foreigners in Switzerland is governed by the federal law "The order how foreigners can acquire plots of land" – a so called "Lex Koller”. A person whose permanent residence is outside Switzerland (i.e. a nonresident) must acquire a special "permit" to buy a real estate. Around 1500 "permits" are issued to foreigners each year throughout Switzerland to be later divided between the cantons with the lowest level of tourism and economic growth.

It should be kept in mind that there is a prohibition in most cantons of Switzerland for foreigners to acquire residential real estate, as well as there are certain limitations regarding the area of the residential real estate (max. 200 square meters), area of the plot of land (max. 1000 square meters) and terms of further resale.

If a foreigner acquires a real estate in Switzerland it does not mean that he automatically receives a residence permit. In Switzerland a notion “immigration” does not means the same as, say, in the USA. A foreigner who has purchased a real estate can stay in Switzerland up to 180 days per year on the basis of a tourist multi-visa.

Taxes in Switzerland

Taxes in Switzerland, both for physical persons and legal entities, are much lower than in neighboring countries. E.g. in most EU countries and the US taxes are from 30 to 55 percent, whereas in Switzerland total tax imposition does not exceed 35% of income.

Taxes should be paid to three institutions – federal government (8,5%), cantons and communes (municipal government). Each canton has its own legislation in the field of taxation and is entitled to set tax rates and tax privileges.

Today, practically all cantons can offer a tax privilege package to foreign companies – in order to encourage investments and create new work places. From the point of view of taxation, the most favourable cantons are Zug (around 16%), Appenzell Ausserrhoden (12,5%) and Obwalden (12,5%).
If a company does not carry on business activity within the territory of Switzerland taxes shall be paid only on a federal level (8,5%).

Tax Consultations.
Within the framework of cooperation with our Swiss partners we render consultations to our clients regarding the following issues: taxation in Switzerland, choice of type of real estate which would be the most favourable in respect of tax privileges in each certain case.
All the details should be discussed with tax authorities, and in each certain case a tax burden can be different – depending on the type of business of each client.
Later on, a client can be offered a current bookkeeping service, as well as assistance in preparing an annual report, filling in a tax declaration, etc.

Residence Permit

In order to come to Switzerland and subsequently live in that country one must obtain a residence permit and a work permit. Typically Swiss authorities can grant a residence permit to a foreigner under the condition that he or she undertakes to establish his/her own company and work for that company.

Before applying for a residence permit one should analyze all the aspects of coming to Switzerland, in order to discuss all the details with canton authorities in advance. Within the framework of cooperation with our Swiss partners we render the following services to our clients:

  • preparation of the client’s business project in accordance with the requirements of authorities,
  • preparation of the package of documents necessary for obtaining a residence permit,
  • holding negotiations with canton authorities regarding obtaining a residence permit for the client and his family, taking into account the client’s business project,
  • search of residence for the client and his family (a house or a flat),
  • search of a school (or a kindergarten) for the client’s children,
  • assistance in opening a banking account.
    As a rule, authorities decide within three months whether or not a residence permit should be granted.

    Second option of obtaining a residence permit is signing an agreement with a canton regarding a lump-sum taxation. In this case it is not a necessary condition to have a business in Switzerland. Normally, taxes make up to 90.000 francs per year, depending on the certain canton, municipal government, value of the real estate and other factors.

    For EU citizens a procedure of obtaining a residence permit is considerably easier.