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across tax ArkIon SA


Arkion SA is an independent provider of services for families, entities and individuals specialising in planning, optimising, structuring and managing wealth. Founded in Geneva in 2001, the firm also has offices in London and Hong Kong. This firm seeks to provide a comprehensive platform of services for the management of wealth and financial planning, optimising the capacity and success of businesses by ensuring that the necessary but time-consuming tasks such as administration, taxation and accountancy processes are taken care of. Director of Arkion, Pierre Gritti, is a Swiss citizen living in Geneva and a certified Swiss tax expert. This month, Finance Monthly speaks to Mr Gritti about Arkion and the issues surrounding Swiss tax.


Q


Please can you introduce yourself, your role within the firm and what services Arkion


provides?


Having graduated as a Swiss certified tax expert in 1988, I am a member of the Swiss Chamber of Chartered Accountants and spent 17 years as a Co-manager of the controller’s office at the Geneva tax administration before joining the trust company of Ferrier Lullin Bank in Geneva. there, I headed the company and mainly looked after HNW individuals and the tax department. In 2001 the bank decided to spin-off its subsidiary, Privexia Geneva SA, via a management buy-out. In 2005 I joined Arkion SA as Partner and head of the tax department. As well as my native language, French, I can also speak Spanish and English, something which is very useful in today’s global society. The main services we offer at Arkion are a multi-family office, tax advisory services, accounting services, controlling and reporting, as well as dealing with trusts and corporate companies. We believe firmly in our corporate motto which is that ‘Trust, Flexibility and Creativity are our strengths.’


Q


What tax laws must foreign investors be mindful of in your jurisdiction?


There are several general aspects of the Swiss tax system that foreign investors should be aware of. Firstly, the Swiss direct tax system is made up of a


fi MONTHLY MARCH 2011


network of different taxing jurisdictions. Although federal tax is common to all taxpayers, each of the 26 cantons (states) has its own tax system based on the Federal Law. Switzerland has been undergoing a reform of its


direct tax system with a view to harmonising federal, cantonal and communal tax laws. Cantons and communes however, still retain a large degree of independence, and this is particularly true with regard to the taxation rate, which is determined exclusively by the individual cantons. One notable point is the fact that Switzerland has


concluded and signed more than 72 double tax treaties at an international level.


Corporate Taxes Corporate Income Tax The net taxable income is calculated by the gross income generated during the financial year after deduction of justifiable expenses. The Swiss federal tax rate is currently 8.5 per cent. Similar rules are applicable for cantonal and communal income tax. The base tax rate however is variable, averaging between 10 per cent and 15 per cent.


Corporate Capital Tax In addition to corporate income tax, Swiss corporations are - for cantonal and communal tax purposes - subject to an annual capital tax on share capital which averages between 0.4 per cent and 0.6 per cent.


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