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Open a Business in Serbia

Open a Business in Serbia

Updated on Monday 17th July 2017

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Open a business in Serbia.jpgWith six free trade zones operating in the country and full membership to some of the most important financial institutions in the world, Serbia provides a friendly business environment to those interested in opening a business.  The local authorities have simplified the procedure of company registration and the maximum amount of time needed to open a company in Serbia is 5 working days, down from 23 days as it was in 2003. The Companies Law regulates the types of businesses available to foreign investors and the company start-up procedure. There are many business types in Serbia to choose from: limited liability companies, joint stock companies, general partnerships or limited partnerships. Our lawyers in Serbia can assist you in all aspects related to opening a business, such as company incorporation and registration and obtaining special permits and licenses from the relevant authorities.  

How to open a business in Serbia

There are several steps to take in order to open a business in Serbia. These include the following:

•    Prepare the articles of association and have them notarized at a Basic Court or at a municipality or public notary - you need to authenticate the incorporation act and obtain a signature from the representative court in Serbia. These will allow you to open a temporary bank account and deposit the share capital. Note that several fees must be paid during this step of company incorporation. A Serbian law firm can help you draft the articles of association and incorporate the company on your behalf;

•    Register the incorporation act and the share capital deposit with the Business Registry - you have to obtain a certificate of registration from the Business Registers Agency and then address the tax authority for acquiring the tax identification number. Several documents need to be submitted with the Serbian Business Registration Agency (SBRA) in order to register the company. This procedure usually takes three days to complete and relying on the legal services of a local law firm may significantly simplify this step;

•     Make a stamp and seal – according to the Companies Act, a stamp and a business seal are compulsory for any business operation in Serbia. You need to address to the seal maker agency in order to have a stamp and seal manufactured. This procedure is complete in one working day;

•    Register your business with the local tax authority for VAT purposes and register the employment contracts - a tax identification number will be assigned to your business which allows you to further register any employment contract, pay for pension fund and health insurance. Note that Serbia is part of several treaties on the avoidance of double taxation, from which your business may profit.

How easy is it to hire personnel in Serbia?

It’s not hard to find suitable candidates for the vacant places in the legal entities. The Serbian workforce is highly educated and has many skills. A main advantage of hiring personnel in Serbia is granting of an exemption on salary tax for the employer who hires certain categories of workers on a permanent contract for a periods of two or three years. Also the employers will not pay social security contributions over that period, for certain category of employees.

What are the advantages of a holding company in Serbia?

The international companies have the same status and rights as the local ones.  Foreign investments can be made in any industry and the profits and dividends are freely transferable.
Other incentives are granted on the customs duties. An exemption or a lower rate is granted on paying customs duties on construction materials imported into free zones, used equipments, some raw materials and processed tobacco.
Income generated through commercial activities in the free zones in Serbia is exempted from value added tax. 
If you need more information about opening a company, you may contact our team of attorneys in Serbia.


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