Starting Business

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Here is the ultimate, clear and concise help. Read this, and you will know what you need to do before you have your own business set up here in Malta. Of course, we recommend you do your own research elsewhere online, too, for example on the site of the actual offices we mention below. Apart from that, this is a good rule-of-thumb and can give you a rough idea of how much money you need to spend on the paper work.

 

Before you start thinking of how to set up a company in Malta, you should know that the EU is the most difficult place to do business. Still, Malta is not one of the worst and if you can deal with the fact that things happen slowly if you compare to many other Western European countries, then you are half-way down the road.

We have collected information mostly based on our own experience regarding setting up a business, establishing a company. In other words, a step-by-step guide to what needs to be done. It is good to keep in mind, that other people might have another experience of the process, but we assume it is pretty much the same.

  • Start by reserving a unique company name

Checking the availability of a company name can be done online through the website of the Registry of Companies or by going to the office. The reservation confirmation is sent by email.

Time: Less than one day (online procedure)
Cost: 8 euros

  • You need to get a draft of the memorandum and articles of association

Lawyers or corporate service providers draft the memorandum and articles of association.

Time: 2 days
Cost: 500 euros and 1 000 euros.

  • You need to deposit of the paid-in minimum capital in the bank

The bank will open a company account once it receives reference letters from the signatories’ of the respective banks. The following documents are necessary for opening a bank account:

  1. A duly filled in Know-Your-Client (KYC) form
  2. A completed request to open an account specifying the type of account, the currency and the preferred mode of tax payment
  3. Copy of the Memorandum and Articles of Association together with a certified copy of the Certificate of Registration issued by the Registry of Companies once the company is registered. The bank may also require a description of the activities of the company and the anticipated turnover thereof.
  4. Confirmation of the permanent address of the Directors through a completed identification statement certified by a Prime bank or Maltese Embassy in the country of residence. The bank also requires the authenticated identification documents for all the directors, signatories, beneficial owners and secretaries. An original copy of a utility bill to be certified by the bank may also be required.
  5. A completed form signed by the directors of the company appointing the bankers. 1 day no charge
  • Go and get registered at the Companies Registry

The following documents are submitted to the Companies Registry in order to incorporate the company:

  1. Confirmation of name reservation
  2. Signed memorandum and articles of association
  3. Confirmation of deposit of share capital
  4. Copy of the passport/ID of each shareholder, director and company secretary

The Registry will take between 2 and 3 days to incorporate the company at which point the official memorandum and articles along with the certificate of registration bearing the registration number and registration date of the company are issued. These documents are then subsequently uploaded to the website of the Registry of Companies.

The Registrar of Companies also provides an alternative service for the registration of companies. Registration may now be carried out online through the Registry’s portal. Prior to registration, an applicant must register for an account and obtain a personal Digital Certificate by registering for an e-ID. The MFSA would then vet the application within 5 working days.

Time: 2 days on average
Cost: 910 euros

  • Obtain a trade license

Businesses can obtain licenses from the Trade Licensing Unit Commerce Department or through BusinessFirst. There are 2 main types of trading licenses depending on whether your business activity involves the handling of food and/or beverages and activities involving hairdressing, beauty treatment, fitness or physical well-being where a No Objection Declaration issued by the Environmental Health Directorate is required.

Documents required:

  1. Notification Form.
  2. Copy of Passport or ID Card.
  3. Declaration of Shareholders or by Board of Directors in case the applicant is the legal representative of a partnership or company.
  4. Development Class Number allocated by MEPA (where applicable) and Building Permit Number issued by MEPA and date issued (where applicable).

Legal basis: Trading Licenses Act (Chapter 441 of 2002) and its subsidiary legislation.

Time: 10 days
Cost: EUR 70 (for commercial activities from fixed premises that are less than 200m³)

  • Obtain a company Tax Identification Number (TIN)

Agency: Inland Revenue Department

The company’s certificate of incorporation (and Registrar of Companies number), as well as a copy of the memorandum and articles of association, are needed in order to obtain the TIN number.

The company founder can also log in to the electronic service of the Inland Revenue Department and retrieve the TIN. Through an automated interface with the Registrar of Companies (ROC), the TIN is automatically generated by IRD as soon as the ROC issues the ROC number. The TIN is available for retrieval within a day or two from the date of issuance of the ROC Number.

Time: 2 days
Cost: no charge

  • Register for VAT

Agency: VAT Department

To register for VAT, the entrepreneur submits the application form S.L. 406.09 “Value Added Tax (Forms) Regulations”, along with the company Tax Identification Number (TIN). Furthermore, a copy of the memorandum and articles of association, and a copy of the original certificate of registration including the stamp of the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) should be produced.

Time: 7 days
Cost: no charge

  • Obtain a PE number (employer identification number) and register employees

Agency: Inland Revenue Department

Both the VAT number and the Income Tax number are required to obtain the PE number
For PE number: the registration form is available, the entrepreneur can either complete it online or print it and send it to IRD. The entrepreneur has to provide:

  1. The tax ID number
  2. The number of employees
  3. Details of the business
  4. Date of first employment

Time: 3 days
Cost: no charge

  • Register the employees with Employment Training Corporation (ETC)

Agency: Employment Training Corporation

The entrepreneur must declare the company’s recruits to the ETC. The PE number is required. Less than one day (online procedure) no charge.

  • Register for Data Protection

Agency: Office of the Information and Data Protection Commissioner

Such registration must be done before the company carries out any data processing operations. VAT and registration numbers are required according to the form to be submitted.

Time: 1 day (simultaneous with previous procedure)
Cost: EUR 23.29

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COMPARATIVE FACTS

The influential report, which is referred to by international investors when determining foreign direct investment locations, places Malta as the 80th most friendly place in the world in which to do business out of 189 countries gauged this year.

The main sore points about doing business in Malta, according to the World Bank, were in the areas of getting credit (ranking nro 180) starting a business (ranking nro 161), dealing with construction permits (ranks as nro 163), getting electricity (on place 115) and in enforcing contracts (is on place nro 122).

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