Establishing a company in Liechtenstein

Liechtenstein is one of the world’s smallest countries, defined officiously as the Principality of Liechtenstein and situated between the Alps, Switzerland to the west and Austria to the east. Its area is only 160 km2 and its population is only 35,000. The capital is Vaduz, and the head of state is a prince of the Liechtenstein dynasty for which the miniature state is named. The official language is German, and it gained its independence from the German Confederation in 1806. It is situated entirely within the Alps and so characterized by towering mountains that encase green and fertile valleys, providing luxury appeal to winter sports lovers.

Liechtenstein is a member in several international and European economic organizations, but not of the EU. Its major economic activity centers on its financial sector, and it is considered a tax haven due to its unobtrusive and inviting tax policies for companies setting up business there. It does not have a large airport due to its tiny size and mountainous topography. It can be reached via flight from Zurich (115 km from Liechtenstein) or by car.

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Five things you did not know about Liechtenstein:

  • A full third of its population are registered as active athletes in various sports clubs. Despite its tiny demographic, the state has earned no less than 9 Olympic medals, all in Alpine sports.
  • Liechtenstein’s central and most prestigious ski site is located in Malbun. The infrastructure is excellent, and visitors can find a few hotels alongside private luxury cabins. The ski slopes are at a comfortable height of 1,600 m.
  • Anyone living or working in Liechtenstein receives free medical insurance from the state, and the medical system is extremely modern and advanced.
  • McDonalds has been active in the state since 1996 and has only one branch there, the only branch in the world to also serve wine. 
  • Liechtenstein has one of the lowest crime rates in the world, and local police also take meticulous care to enforce speed limits. There are speed cameras everywhere and the tickets for fines are very expensive, so when in Liechtenstein – slow down and enjoy the view!

Liechtenstein’s economy

Due to its size and lack of natural resources, the economy of the state has evolved as a free enterprise economy, which is extremely industrialized and advanced. The currency is the Swiss franc. GDP of this petite country is 3.5 billion USD and per capita income is the astonishing sum of 98,000 USD. There are over 70,000 foreign companies registered in Liechtenstein – more than twice the number of Principality residents. The financial services sector is undoubtedly the most significant revenue generator to local economy. The standard of living is particularly high, even compared to its successful neighbors of West Europe, and unemployment extremely low (only 2%). In terms of foreign companies, the state offers low personal and corporate tax rates, as well as easy and convenient registration procedures.

Additional information about establishing offshore companies in Liechtenstein:

General
Type of company
Anstalt - commercial and non-commercial without shares
Relevant Companies Law
Law on Persons and Companies (termed 1926 PGR Code)
Offices
Law requires appointing local representative
Language of original incorporation documents
German
Finance and Taxation
Currency
CHF
Corporate tax rate
12.5%
Standard share capital
30,000 CHF
Office Holders
Secretary
Obligation to appoint company secretary
Not required
Obligation to appoint local secretary
Irrelevant
Type of entity that may function as company secretary
Irrelevant
Director
Obligation to appoint company director
Required
Obligation to appoint local company director
Required
Minimum number of directors
1
Type of entity that may serve as company director
Individual and/or company
Shareholders
Obligation to register shareholders
Not required
Obligation to register local shareholders
Not required
Minimum number of shareholders
Not required
Type of entity that may register as shareholder
Not required
Type of shares
Irrelevant
Accessibility of Information
Company registrar
Information regarding office holders accessible to the public
Annual Assembly and Reporting
Obligation to hold annual assembly
Not required, in any location
Obligation to prepare financial reports
Required
Obligation to submit financial reports
Required