With 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.
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.
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