Associations in Switzerland are, like cooperatives, often linked with charitable notions. An association is a voluntary and long-term association of natural persons and corporate bodies. There is no precise information about the number of existing associations in Switzerland since there is no obligation for them to register at the commercial registry. In terms of numbers, the association is definitively the most important legal structure next to the stock corporation. Since associations must pursue an “ideational or charitable purpose“, they are badly suited for the operation of a company.

Associations come into existence through a foundation meeting, during which the statutes are approved and the organs are constituted. Associations that are intended to generate profit have to be registered at the commercial registry.


  • Various tax advantages

  • No liability for association members

  • No initial capital


  • Bound to a specific purpose

Legal Status


Corporate body, association of individuals



Article 60 ff. ZGB



Freely selectable

Number of Founders


mindestens 2



No minimal capital



1) Association meeting
2) Board (administration, composed of at least one member)
3) Auditors



Association assets; statutes may allow for  reserve liability of association members.



The association is responsible for assets and profits; may under certain circumstances enjoy tax benefits.



By association board, if not delegated to a third party.

Residential regulations





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