Taxi firms, restaurants, gyms: With the COVID-19 emergency funding provided by the federal government and the cantons having come to an end last autumn, most experts think we are likely to see a string of firms go bust. But what are the legal consequences of bankruptcy? And what do those affected need to bear in mind when it comes to bankruptcy proceedings. Is there a way they can save their firm and stop it from going under?
Legal experts here at AXA-ARAG answer key questions about bankruptcy and debt enforcement.
At the latest, you should check whether you need to declare your café insolvent to the courts as soon as your firm’s debts exceed its assets.
No, there are no special rules regarding bankruptcy proceedings.
You need to make a declaration of insolvency to the bankruptcy court at the company's registered office. If there is no prospect of a debt restructuring, the bankruptcy judge will start bankruptcy proceedings.
Bankruptcy doesn't in itself result in the termination of their employment contract; nor are there any grounds for termination without notice. However, the bankruptcy administration will normally terminate employment contracts as of the next possible date.
In principle, this is only possible if the company's creditors waive their claims in full or in part – or make a declaration of subordination.
The declaration of insolvency itself is not open to public inspection. However, the declaration of bankruptcy will be published in the Swiss Official Gazette of Commerce (SOGC) and is therefore publicly available information.
As bankruptcy is frequently the consequence of a company's insolvency, bankruptcies are either instigated at the company's request (declaration of insolvency) or at the request of a creditor. Bankruptcy results in all of a company's assets and liabilities being liquidated by the bankruptcy office. The firm's assets constitute the bankruptcy assets, and the company owner is no longer allowed to access them following the start of bankruptcy proceedings. The company can no longer be saved once bankruptcy proceedings have started. However, the debtor is given a warning of bankruptcy 20 days prior to the start of proceedings – meaning this is the last opportunity the firm has to pay off the debt concerned at the last minute.
A debt enforcement request can be submitted online (subject to a charge) at betreibungsschalter.ch.
In some circumstances, a debt enforcement request can make it easier to enforce a claim.
If you dispute the claim that is the subject of the debt enforcement request, you must declare your objection within a 10-day deadline.
It depends on the legal form of your inn. In the case of a limited company or a corporation, liability is limited to the company's assets; as a sole proprietor, however, your private assets will also be at risk. But even in the case of a sole proprietorship, your pension pot cannot be touched provided the pension benefits are not already due for payment.
The Swiss Debt Enforcement and Bankruptcy Act (DEBA) distinguishes between three types of debt enforcement:
No, bankruptcy is not deemed a reason for revoking the C-type residence permit.
Loss certificates or personal bankruptcies have a negative effect on credit ratings.
No, provided the start-up is not organized in the form of a sole proprietorship.
If your car is mainly used for business purposes, it will be included in the bankruptcy estate. That means you'll no longer have access to the vehicle after the declaration of bankruptcy.