How to register a Company in Montenegro
Forming a company in Montenegro can be an attractive option for various reasons:
- Strategic Location: Montenegro is strategically located between Eastern and Western Europe, making it an ideal gateway for businesses looking to access both markets. Its proximity to the Adriatic Sea also offers potential for businesses involved in shipping or trade.
- Growing Economy: Montenegro has been experiencing steady economic growth. Investing in a growing economy can provide opportunities for business expansion and profitability.
- Favorable Tax Regime: Montenegro offers a favorable tax environment, with one of the lowest corporate tax rates in Europe. This can be a significant advantage for businesses looking to minimize their tax burden.
- Ease of Doing Business: The country has been working on improving its business environment, making it easier for foreign investors to start and operate a business. This includes simplifying registration processes and reducing bureaucratic hurdles.
- EU Accession Candidate: As a candidate country for European Union membership, Montenegro is aligning its laws and regulations with EU standards, which can provide a stable and predictable business environment.
- Tourism Opportunities: With its beautiful coastlines and historic sites, Montenegro is a growing tourist destination. Businesses in the tourism sector, such as hotels, restaurants, and leisure activities, can find a lot of opportunities here.
- Real Estate Development: The real estate market in Montenegro has been booming, driven by foreign investment and tourism. This presents opportunities for development and investment in property.
- Free Trade Agreements: Montenegro has free trade agreements with various countries, allowing businesses based there to export goods without significant tariffs or barriers.
- Workforce: The country offers a skilled yet relatively cost-effective workforce, which can be beneficial for companies looking to manage labor costs while maintaining quality.
- Quality of Life: Montenegro's natural beauty, climate, and lifestyle can be appealing for entrepreneurs and business owners who value a high quality of life.
However, it's important to consider the specific needs and circumstances of your business. Consulting with legal and financial experts familiar with Montenegro's business environment is advisable before making any decisions.
In Montenegro, the process of company registration is quite open to foreign investors, and there are minimal limitations. However, there are a few points that foreigners should be aware of:
- Ownership and Investment: Foreigners can own 100% of a company in Montenegro. There are no specific restrictions on foreign ownership, which makes it an attractive destination for foreign investors.
- Type of Business: Generally, foreigners can engage in most types of business activities just like local entrepreneurs. However, certain regulated industries (like banking, insurance, and investment funds) may require additional licenses and may have specific rules about foreign ownership or management.
- Residency Requirements: There are no residency requirements for the shareholders or directors of a company in Montenegro. This means that foreigners can set up and own a company without being residents of the country. However, if you plan to be actively involved in the day-to-day management of your company in Montenegro, you might need to apply for a residency permit.
- Real Estate Ownership: While foreigners can freely establish a company and engage in most business activities, there may be restrictions on foreign ownership of certain types of real estate, particularly land. These restrictions can usually be circumvented by setting up a local company that then purchases the land.
- Minimum Capital Requirements: The minimum capital requirements are the same for both locals and foreigners. For instance, for a Limited Liability Company (DOO), the minimum share capital is quite low (1 Euro).
- Banking and Financial Regulations: Opening a bank account and handling financial transactions as a foreigner might involve additional scrutiny, in line with international banking regulations and anti-money laundering policies.
- Tax and Financial Reporting: Foreign-owned companies are subject to the same tax and financial reporting requirements as local companies. It is important to be aware of these obligations to ensure compliance.
- Employment of Foreign Workers: If you plan to employ other foreigners in your Montenegrin company, they will typically need to obtain work permits. The process and requirements for obtaining these permits should be considered as part of your business planning.
- Language and Legal Requirements: Official documentation and legal processes are primarily in the Montenegrin language. Therefore, having a local legal advisor or a translator can be very beneficial for understanding and completing the necessary procedures.
How to set up a company in Montenegro?
The procedure for company formation in Montenegro is pretty simple. The whole registration process takes up to ten business days. And of course, you can register a company remotely, without having to visit the country.
Therefore, here are the basic steps for opening a company in Montenegro:
- Check if your desired company name is available (you can search the Montenegrin company register here);
- Prepare and certify your founding documents (they depend on the type of the company you want to register and the number of owners);
- Prepare the company registration forms;
- Pay the registration fees;
- Submit the documents for registration at the Central Registry of Business Entities;
- Obtain a company stamp;
- Open a company bank account and pay up the founding capital;
- Hire an accounting agency for monthly and yearly tax filing;
- Sign an employment contract and register the CEO with the tax authorities
- Obtain a digital signature certificate for the CEO.
A valid passport is the only personal document you need for company registration, and there are no additional requirements. Still, the bank may ask for additional documentation about your income and assets as part of their KYC procedures.
Once the company is officially registered in the Central Registry of Business Entities and the CEO is registered as an employee, the company can start its operations. However, if the main company activity is subject to licensing, this will take additional steps and documentation.
How much does it cost to start a company in Montenegro?
How much does it cost to start a company in Montenegro?
Starting a company in Montenegro is inexpensive. You will only need to pay a few one-time registration fees, as well as the cost of a company stamp and digital signature certificate. The total cost will depend on how you structure your founding documents.
Here is a breakdown of the basic one-time costs for an LLC company formation in Montenegro:
- Founding capital: minimum €1.00;
- Tax administration fee: €5.00;
- Official business gazette: €3.00;
- Central Depository Agency Fee: €7.26;
- Company stamp: €20.00;
- Digital signature certificate: €30-110.00.
What are the minimum monthly costs for a company in Montenegro?
]Clients often ask about the minimum monthly costs of owning a company in Montenegro. These costs will vary based on the company type, size, activity, number of employees, and other factors. However, every company will have some minimum monthly costs, even if it has no turnover. The good news is that these costs can be as low as €3,000.00 per year.
Breakdown of minimal monthly costs for a company:
- Licensed accountant – from €120.00 per month (may include registration address);
- Bank account and e-banking – €10-25.00 per month;
- One minimal salary taxes and social contributions – €117.00 per month;
- One minimal net salary – €450.00 per month (although if you are the owner and the CEO you pay this amount to yourself).
Compared to other countries, Montenegro has a favorable tax system. Depending on the profits, the corporate tax rates range between 9% and 15%. The capital gains and dividend tax are also limited to 15%. Salary taxes and contributions depend on the net salary amount, but they can be as low as €117.00 for the minimum salary.
So, here are the basic taxes you need to pay if you register a company in Montenegro today:
- VAT for outgoing invoices – 21% (depending on the products you sell, it could be 7% or 0%);
- Salary taxes and social contributions – approx. 26.24% of minimal net salary (the percentage rises with the net salary amount);
- Corporate profit tax – 9-15% per year, depending on the profit amount.
- Dividend (capital gains tax) if you take your dividend out of the company – up to 15%.
Montenegro also offers various tax incentives, such as exemptions for certain types of income. In addition, favorable tax treatment for businesses operating in certain industries is also possible. The country also has tax treaties with many countries, so you can avoid double taxation for your capital gains or dividend tax.
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