Malta company registration: How to set up a company in Malta?
Malta is an island at the foot of Italy, a natural stepping stone between Europe and North Africa.
Malta is a honeycomb for ex-pats who are drawn to its mild Mediterranean climate and English-speaking citizens.
This beautiful island is also decidedly pro-business — particularly for foreign businesses. There’s the Malta Startup Residence Programme, offering non-EU startup entrepreneurs medium-term residency in Malta.
This 3-year residence permit (renewable for 5 years after the third year is up) allows entrepreneurs to reside in Malta while launching and scaling their startups. Eligible founders and co-founders (plus dependents) also enjoy visa-free access to Schengen countries for business networking and travel — a great deal for UK businesspeople in a pro-Brexit world.
Sounds good? Ready to register your Maltese company? Read on.
Malta company registration
To register a company in Malta, you need to:
1. Choose the type of company
- Limited Liability Company (private or public)
- General Partnership (En Nom Collectif or En Commandite)
- Single Proprietorship
- Overseas Company with a branch in Malta.
2. Select a unique company name
The name should not be a duplicate, offensive, or misrepresent the nature of the business. Certain words may require special permission.
3. Prepare necessary documentation
This includes the Memorandum and Articles of Association, which provide important details about the company, such as type, subscribers, registered office, share capital, directors, etc. Form BO1 may be required for corporate shareholders. You will need to also provide evidence of paid-up share capital which can be in the form of bank deposit advice.
4. Pay the registration fee
The amount depends on the authorised share capital.
5. Obtain a Certificate of Registration
If all documents are accepted, the Registrar issues a certificate that confirms the company’s existence and authorisation to conduct business.
6. Register for VAT
Once you’ve registered the company, you must register for Value Added Tax (VAT) at 18% if it is a trading entity. The process varies depending on the applicant’s status (sole proprietor, company legal representative with a Maltese ID, or foreigner).
How much does it cost to set up a company in Malta?
To register a company in Malta, a registration fee must be paid to the registrar of companies. The fee is based on the authorised share capital of the company.
For companies with an authorised share capital under € 1,500, the fee is € 245, while for companies with an authorised share capital over € 2.5 million, the fee is a maximum of € 2,250. Investment Companies with variable share capital (SICAVs) typically used for collective investment schemes have a standard fee of € 1,750.
Documents for company registration in Malta
The required documents for company registration in Malta include:
- Memorandum of Association
- Articles of Association
- Form BO1
- Evidence of paid-up share capital
- Identity proofs of individuals and officers involved in the company
- Beneficial owner form
- Satisfactory bank references for non-EEA resident shareholders
- Cheque for the registration fee
- Any additional forms or documents requested by the Registrar’s Office.
All copies of documents must be certified by a notary or lawyer.
For the registration of an overseas company in Malta, the necessary documents include:
- An authentic copy of the charter or memorandum and articles of incorporation
- List of directors and secretaries
- Returns of the overseas company with details of
- trade name
- branch office address
- business activities
- authorised representative
- information about the legal form of the overseas company and its registration.
Can a foreigner register a company in Malta?
Certainly. In Malta, company formation and registration are accessible to all, without any restrictions on foreign ownership. Malta boasts a business-friendly environment, making it effortless for businesses to establish and run in Malta. The preferred choice for foreigners starting a business in Malta is often a Limited Liability Company (LLC).
Before commencing business operations in Malta, it’s essential to consider various factors, including:
- securing funding
- opening a company bank account
- obtaining insurance
- acquiring a PE (Permission to Employ) number
- recruiting employees
- determining the company’s office, warehouse or factory location.
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Benefits of incorporating a Malta company
Malta offers several benefits for companies:
- Corporate tax benefits. Despite a 35% corporate tax rate on trading profits, Malta has one of the lowest net effective tax rates in the EU. Through the Malta Taxation Refund System, shareholders can claim back a portion of the paid tax, reducing the net effective tax rate to as low as 5% for trading activities and 10% for passive income. Tax deductions can further lower the effective tax rate.
- Lower entry barrier. Overseas companies and foreign individuals can set up a company in Malta with 100% ownership.
- Double taxation avoidance treaties. Malta has signed over 70 Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements with various countries, protecting businesses from double taxation.
- Exemption on duty on documents. Malta offers exemptions on duty for share transfers and increases in share capital, reducing operational costs and improving efficiency.
- Visa-free zone. Being part of the Schengen area allows easy movement between Malta and other Schengen countries, facilitating business operations.
- Geographical advantage. Malta’s strategic location in the Mediterranean offers easy access to major European capitals and North Africa, making it convenient for businesses to operate and travel.
- Mediterranean weather. Malta’s pleasant Mediterranean weather throughout the year adds to its appeal as a business destination.
Malta company types
When setting up a company in Malta, you have the following options to choose from:
- Limited Liability Company. The most common type can be either Private (with a limit of fifty members and no public invitation for shares or debentures) or Public (offering shares or debentures to the public).
- General Partnership. Suitable for medium-to-small-sized businesses, it can be either En Nom Collectif (a partnership between two or more partners, including individuals or corporate bodies) or En Commandite (Limited Partnership, where members have limited liability).
- Single Proprietorship or Single Member Company. An enterprise owned by one person, either from the beginning or through acquiring all shares later.
- Overseas Companies. Companies that have a legal entity located outside of Malta but have established a branch in Malta.
Set up company in Malta FAQ
How much is the VAT in Malta?
The standard value-added tax (VAT) rate in Malta is 18%. This rate applies to most goods and services unless they qualify for exemptions, a 0% rate, or reduced VAT rates.
There are two reduced VAT rates: 7% and 5%. The 7% rate applies to tourist accommodation and the use of sports facilities. The 5% rate is applied to various items, including confectionery and similar food products, medical equipment, printed materials, electricity, equipment for disabled individuals, and the import of artworks, collectors' items, and antiques.
Certain supplies and services are subject to a 0% VAT rate. This includes standard supplies like exports, food products (excluding catering services) and certain pharmaceutical products.
Additionally, there are VAT-exempt supplies, such as health services, education, and sports activities.
Is Malta tax-free?
Income tax in Malta is a fixed rate of 35% that applies to all income earned within and outside the country, regardless of the profit amount.
What is the company tax rate in Malta?
The company tax rate is 35%. However, Maltese-registered companies may apply for tax deductions and potentially receive a refund of 6/7, 5/7, 2/3, or even the full amount paid — depending on specific conditions that need to be met.
How long does it take to register a company in Malta?
It takes about two weeks to register a company in Malta.
Do I need to have a physical address?
Yes, a registered office is mandatory for a Malta company, and it must be a physical address located within Malta.
What capital does a Maltese company need?
For a private company in Malta, the minimum capital needed is € 1,164.69, while for a public company, it is € 46,587.47. At least 20% of the issued share capital must be paid up for a private company at the time of signing the Memorandum of Association (20% for a public company).
How many directors and shareholders are required in a Maltese company?
At least one director and one shareholder are required.
What are the annual document filing and fee obligations?
Each year, the Maltese authorities require the submission of audited financial statements, corporate tax returns, and an annual return.
Are there any company name restrictions?
The chosen name must be unique and not include offensive words. Additionally, the company name must accurately reflect the nature of the business.
What is the role of the Malta business registry?
The Malta Business Registry registers new commercial partnerships, processes documents related to commercial partnerships, issues certified documentation including certificates of good standing, reserves company names, collects registration and other fees, publishes notices, conducts investigations of companies, and maintains the company and partnership registry.
Which authority registers companies in Malta?
The Malta Business Registry registers companies in Malta.
Malta company registration FAQ
How do you check if a company is registered in Malta?
To check if a company is registered in Malta, you can verify through the “Company Search” feature on the Malta Business Registry official website.
Why do companies register in Malta?
Companies choose to register in Malta because it offers:
- corporate tax benefits with a low net effective tax rate, allowing shareholders to claim back a portion of paid tax
- a low entry barrier, allowing 100% foreign ownership and affordable registration costs
- a wide network of double taxation avoidance treaties and exemptions on duty.
Malta is also part of the visa-free Schengen zone and has a strategic geographical advantage and a Mediterranean climate.
Can I register a company in Malta?
Absolutely! There are no limitations based on nationality or residency. Both non-resident individuals and corporate entities can establish companies in Malta.
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