Transfer pricing in Switzerland at a glance
|Are there specific transfer pricing regulations?||No|
|Submission deadline upon request||N/A|
|Annual update required||N/A|
|Official language requirements||German, French, Italian and Romansh|
|Potential impact of penalties||N/A|
Swiss tax law
Switzerland does not have specific transfer pricing legislation in its tax law. Although the arm’s length standard is not explicitly defined, the basis for adjusting profits for non-arm’s length terms is essentially set out in article 58 of the Federal Direct Tax Act, as well as in Article 24 of the Harmonisation of the Cantonal Tax Laws Act.
Switzerland is a member of the OECD and generally follows the OECD Transfer Pricing Guidelines (the Guidelines) and the Swiss Federal Tax Administration has previously instructed cantonal tax administrations to take into account the OECD transfer pricing guidelines when taxing multinational enterprises.
The following transfer pricing methods outlined in the Guidelines are accepted:
- the comparable uncontrolled price method
- the resale price method
- the cost plus method
- the profit split method
- the transactional net margin method
Priority of methods
There is no priority of methods in Switzerland – all of the above methods are accepted, though in practice transactional methods are generally preferred over profit methods
Information that should be included in the documentation:
There are no specific documentation requirements in Switzerland.
Documentation needs to be submitted in one of the country’s official languages (depending on the relevant canton):
In practice, English is also frequently accepted.
Requirements to prepare documentation annually
There are no provisions in regard to the preparation of transfer pricing documentation. However if requested, the taxpayer must provide documentation to support its transfer prices were applied based on sound economic and commercial reasoning. There is no specific guidance as to the form such documentation should take.
Submission deadline upon request by tax authorities
Upon request of the Swiss tax authorities a taxpayer must submit documentation within a reasonable timeframe – usually 30 days, though this can be extended if necessary upon request.
Advance Pricing Agreements
It is possible to obtain Advance Pricing Agreements (APA’s) in Switzerland (unilateral, bilateral and multilateral). However, no formal APA procedure exists. Despite this, obtaining tax rulings are common practice in Switzerland.
Based on common practice in Switzerland, it can be concluded that APA’s can be obtained for a period of three to seven years.
There are no specific transfer pricing penalties, meaning that ordinary tax penalties apply. Interest is levied for late payments on adjustments.