Paolo Pamini: Catalogue data in Spring Semester 2017

Name Dr. Paolo Pamini
Lehre Geistes-,Soz.-u.Staatswiss.
ETH Zürich, IFW E 46
Haldeneggsteig 4
8092 Zürich
Telephone+41 44 586 56 28
DepartmentHumanities, Social and Political Sciences

851-0735-16LSwiss Start Ups Tax Law2 credits2SP. Pamini
AbstractETH students learn the relevancy of the tax law framework in the context of company start-ups. Based on theory and case studies, the participants discuss which regulatory options the legislator has, how it can promote innovative start-ups and where the typical pitfalls are. The consequences of direct and indirect taxes are debated both at the company and the entrepreneur level.
ObjectiveAfter attending this seminar, you should be able to spot the most important issues from a Swiss tax perspective in connection with start-ups.

Most of the time, scientific knowledge and the resulting technical innovations spread outside of the academic world over the activities of business ventures, specifically by developing new products and processes or by improving existing ones. As an ETH graduate who would like to practically implement her theoretical knowledge, you know the advantages and disadvantages of the manifold legal system set by the legislator, both from a private and from a tax law perspective.

Start-ups differ substantially from normal kinds of enterprises. For instance, ownership can be concentrated in few hands and change over time, being opened to venture investors (e.g. in connection with private equity funds). The corporate governance can be particularly complex (e.g. including dual-class shares or an asymmetry between the degree of financial participation and the share of voting rights). The industry wherein the start-up is doing business can also be typically very volatile, preventing to find sensible comparables to value the start-up; reliable business plans are often missing.

On the one hand, in this seminar you learn the regulatory options that are available to the legislator to promote innovative start-ups. In this context, you are also introduced into financial markets theory, economic policy making, innovation promotion and business strategy. On the other hand, you learn the technical knowledge in Swiss tax law that you need in case of a possible future business venture. You will be also stimulated in approaching complex problems outside of your area of specialisation thinking in a connected way. Pre-knowledge in law or in business administration is useful, but does not represent any necessary condition to participate.

In the first sessions, the lecturer introduces you into the theoretical fundamentals as well as into the Swiss tax system, covering both direct taxes (such as the individual income and wealth taxes and the corporate income and capital taxes) and indirect taxes (such as VAT - value added tax, WHT - withholding tax, and stamp duties). Focusing on the field of start-ups, the discussions will deal both with individuals and corporations. The second part of the seminar will consist of the active discussion, primarily done by the seminar participants themselves, of some hypothetical business cases where the typical tax issues in connection with start-ups can be analysed more specifically.