Transfer pricing in Switzerland

Transfer pricing in Switzerland at a glance

Regulation Type OECD
Are there specific transfer pricing regulations? No
Submission deadline N/A
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.

OECD

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.

Methods

Accepted methods

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

Documentation requirements

Information that should be included in the documentation: 

There are no specific documentation requirements in Switzerland.

Language

Documentation needs to be submitted in one of the country’s official languages (depending on the relevant canton):

  • German
  • French
  • Italian
  • Romansh

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

General

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.

Terms

Based on common practice in Switzerland, it can be concluded that APA’s can be obtained for a period of three to seven years.

Penalties

There are no specific transfer pricing penalties, meaning that ordinary tax penalties apply. Interest is levied for late payments on adjustments.

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