Liechtenstein attracts business people from various countries who choose to set up foreign companies in this tiny independent state. Liechtenstein boasts a hundred-year-old corporate legislation and offers flexible taxation conditions to non-resident companies. Please find out about some specifics of registering a company in Liechtenstein in 2021 from the text below.
A foreign company in Liechtenstein
Liechtenstein is sometimes referred to as a premium-class offshore jurisdiction. Of course, it is not a zero-tax jurisdiction (companies registered in Liechtenstein have to pay at least 1,800 Swiss francs per year in taxes) but if you compare the country to other Western European jurisdictions, you will see that taxes are generally lower there.
You can register a company in Liechtenstein whose name will end in AG и GmbH. These German abbreviations are well known throughout the world the first of them denoting that it is a public company and the second one that it is a limited liability company.
The total population of Liechtenstein is about 33,000 people. The local economy is based on the processing industry and precision instruments production. Financial services and foreign company registration do not constitute a serious share of the country’s incomes.
Liechtenstein has some specific features that make it different from other countries:
- The regulators control only the real estate and the financial sectors as far as foreign investments are concerned.
- The country does not make agreements on double taxation avoidance with other national states.
- Company registration costs more in Liechtenstein than in many other European states.
- Company maintenance costs are also comparatively high.
- The registered capital has to be deposited in full when the company is formed.
Most foreigners register companies in Liechtenstein with the following purposes:
- Protection of assets from possible encroachments.
- Establishment of a holding structure. Many companies registered in Liechtenstein own and manage corporations located in other countries.
- Accumulation of wealth and foreign investments.
Key advantages of Liechtenstein:
- Political stability that the country has been demonstrating for a great number of years.
- Liechtenstein is a member of the Schengen agreement and part of the EEA but it is not a member of the EU.
- There is no currency control in the country.
- Company beneficiaries enjoy a high level of personal information confidentiality in Liechtenstein.
- There is no withholding tax in the country.
- Liechtenstein has never been on any black lists.
The main disadvantages include the following ones:
- Considerable costs of company establishment and business license extension.
- All companies working in Liechtenstein have to pay the profit tax.
- All companies have to be audited and financial reporting is obligatory.
- At least one company director has to be a citizen or a legal resident of Liechtenstein.
- The country practices exchange of banking information in accordance with the CRS.
Experts of InternationalWealth and our partners in Liechtenstein will help you hire a local company director, have your company audited, and financial reports files. Please contact us if you are interested in setting up a foreign company in Liechtenstein.
What type of company can you register in Liechtenstein?
- You can register a private limited liability company in Liechtenstein. The name of the company will have GmbH at the end.
- You can register a public company — AG — that will require a substantial registered capital and bring your business high reputability.
- You can register an Anstalt in Liechtenstein (an ‘enterprise’), which is a sort of trust.
- You can register a Stiftung — a fund for charitable purposes or for family capital protection with a high level of the founders’ confidentiality.
- You can register a Trust that will manage another company.
There are other forms of company ownership available in Liechtenstein as well but they are less popular with foreign business people.
The legislation of Liechtenstein allows registering a company in the name of one person or two or more people. Thus, you can register a personal limited liability company or use nominee services. A trust declaration from the nominee shareholder allows putting the company ownership fully in your hands. Besides, a corporate entity can act as the company founder.
Having a legal resident of Liechtenstein as the company director is a requirement that you cannot avoid. Unlike in some other jurisdictions, a company secretary is not required in Liechtenstein.
Company taxes in Liechtenstein
Regardless of the types of business activities that the company is involved in, it has to pay a minimum tax of 1,800 Swiss francs (CHF) per year. The standard profit tax rate is 12.5%.
The following types of profits are not taxed in Liechtenstein:
- The profit made by the non-resident company subsidiary in a foreign country.
- Profits obtained from sale or rent of real property in a foreign country.
- Dividends paid by local or foreign companies after 2011.
- Profits obtained from sale of ownership shares or corporate rights.
The procedure of registering a company in Liechtenstein
Please contact us and request a consultation on the opportunity to set up a foreign company in Liechtenstein. If you decide that you do want to have one, will sign a service agreement and start registering the company for you. This procedure will have to have several steps.
- Choose the form of company ownership.
Consult our experts and make a choice depending on your intentions and preference.
- Choose the company name.
The choice of the name has to be confirmed with the state register of companies in Liechtenstein. The name has to be unique and it should not contain geographical names nor any references to banking, insurance, nor investment services. Depending on the form of ownership, the company name will end in the corresponding acronym.
- Collect the application documents.
A natural person registering a company in Liechtenstein has to submit the following documents:
- Notarized and apostilled passport copies (if you have a domestic and a foreign passport, you will have to make copies of both).
- A recent utility bill or a bank statement to serve as proof of the residential address.
- A police clearance from the company founder’s home country.
- Prospective company By-laws.
- A bank statement confirming the deposit of the registered capital.
- Company officers’ signature samples.
- Application form for company registration in Liechtenstein.
- Open a corporate bank account.
The corporate legislation of Liechtenstein requires depositing the registered capital prior to registering a company in the country. In order to do that, you will have to have a bank account in Liechtenstein or another country. Please consult InternationalWealth experts on selecting the most suitable foreign bank account to fit your business purposes in Liechtenstein.
- Deposit the registered capital.
The registered capital has to be deposited in full. The required amounts depend on the form of company ownership:
- GmbH, Anstalt, Stiftung — 30,000 Swiss francs.
- AG — 50,000 Swiss francs.
Actually, you can choose one of three currencies to deposit the registered capital: francs, euros, or dollars. The amounts (the figures) will remain the same. You can also use real property, intellectual property, or non-material assets as the registered capital for your company in Liechtenstein.
You can use the registered capital as you wish after the company is registered with the state Register.
If you form a public company in Liechtenstein, you can issue various types of shares.
- Company registration with the state Register
InternationalWealth partners in Liechtenstein will help you hire a company director who is a citizen of the country. He or she will be a nominee director who will surrender the ownership rights to the real company owner (in writing, with an open date). If you wish to hire a nominee shareholder, he or she will also sign a trust declaration that will give all the ownership rights to the real company founder.
Holding a Power of Attorney issued by you, our partners in Liechtenstein will submit the application for company registration to the state register on your behalf.
How soon can a company be registered in Liechtenstein?
The time required for registering a company in Liechtenstein is about one month. One week is needed for preparatory work, for two more weeks the application will be processed by the authorities in Liechtenstein and courier delivery of the corporate documents to the company owner is going to take one more week.
Please apply for our company maintenance services too. You do not have to go into the corporate legislation of Liechtenstein yourself if you would like to register a company in the country. We know it very well already and our partners in Liechtenstein will make all the mandatory payments, keep the financial records, and file the reports on your behalf.
Please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us by phone or live chat and ask us any questions about the opportunity to register a company in Liechtenstein.
What forms of company ownership are available in Liechtenstein?
The most popular among foreigners company ownership forms are as follows:
Private Limited Liability Company – GmbH.
Public company – AG.
How much does it cost to register a company in Liechtenstein?
The cost will depend on the form of company ownership that you choose. Please clarify the issue with InternationalWealth experts.
What are the requirements to the registered capital in Liechtenstein?
The registered capital has to be deposited prior to company registration with the state Register. This is why you have to set up an account with a local or a Swiss bank, for example. The required amount of the registered capital will depend on the form of company ownership. It is 30,000 or 50,000 Swiss francs, or euros, or US dollars.