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Guide to setting up a business and finding opportunities in Malta

Setting up a business and finding opportunities in Malta? You will be glad to know that Malta boasts one of the EU's fastest-growing economies, drawing entrepreneurs and investors with its favourable business climate.  

The diverse economy offers ample business opportunities in Malta to tap into its broad target market. Since the 1950s, the government has actively encouraged startups and investors, leveraging a population of over 500,000 and over 2.8 million annual tourists as the target audience. 

The country's tax system includes refundable tax credits, double taxation agreements and an imputation tax system. With a high ease of doing business score of 88.2 according to the 2020 World Bank rankings, Malta is an attractive location for starting a company. However, setting up a business in Malta requires careful understanding.  

Let’s explore further in our guide to setting up a business in Malta.  

Types of business opportunities in Malta

The Company Law offers various business structures, ranging from simple to complex. Sole proprietorships require only one individual, while partnerships need at least two members, who can be individuals or companies and can have varying degrees of control. General and limited partnerships are possible. 

Private and public limited liability companies provide benefits like limited liability for debts. They have more extensive requirements, including a larger number of shareholders and minimum share capital. 

For private companies, a minimum of two shareholders and around €1,200 in share capital, with a 20% deposit upon registration, are needed. Public companies require similar shareholder numbers but higher capital, around €46,000, with a 25% deposit upon incorporation. Foreign companies can also operate in Malta through branch offices or subsidiaries. 

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Steps for setting up a business in Malta

If you understand the available business opportunities in Malta and want to set up a business and want a concise overview of the company registration process with the Malta Business Registry, you are at the right place. Here's a step-by-step guide outlining what to expect when registering a company in Malta: 

1. Select the type of company  

The first step to setting up a business in Malta is to choose your type of company.  

2. Pick the name of your company 

Types of companies in Malta 
Private and public limited liability company 
General and limited partnership 
Sole proprietorship  
Holding company 

It's crucial not only to choose the type of company but also to select its name wisely. The name should not duplicate an existing enterprise, include offensive words, or misrepresent the nature of the business. In essence, it should be a unique name that accurately reflects the company's mission. 

3. Get ready with the necessary documents

Once you've decided on the type of company to establish, several documents need preparation for submission to the Registrar of Companies Association of Malta. The primary document required is the Memorandum and Articles of Association, containing essential details such as: 

  • Company's type
  • Subscribers' identification
  • Company name
  • Registered office
  • Share capital
  • Directors' information

The registrar may request further supporting documents as needed. 
A registration fee, determined by the company's authorised share capital, must also be paid. 

4. Obtain a Certificate of Registration

If all required documentation is provided and approved by the registrar, a Certificate of Registration will be issued. This certificate confirms the establishment of the company and grants authorisation to commence business from the date of issuance. 

The duration for setting up a business in Malta varies based on the type of company, the completeness of documentation and whether any additional information is needed by the registrar. Typically, this process typically takes between 5 to 10 days.

5. Register your business for VAT in Malta

After obtaining the Certificate of Registration from the registrar in Malta, your company needs to register for VAT, especially if it's involved in trading activities. The VAT rate in Malta is 18%. The registration process varies depending on whether you're a sole proprietor, a company legal representative with a Maltese ID card, or a foreigner without one.

Typically, the process can be completed in as little as a day by submitting the following documents:

  • Application form through a registered practitioner with an authorisation letter.
  • Identification document of the practitioner or company's legal director.
  • Self-registration as a company's legal director via eID.
  • Self-registration using a valid identity/residence card (if available) and document numbers.
  • Submit Annual Returns and Accounts

Upon incorporation, setting up a business in Malta entails the obligation to submit Annual Returns and Accounts annually.

The Annual returns, signed by a company secretary or director, must be filed with the registrar within 42 days from the firm's incorporation date to avoid late filing penalties. They can be submitted in paper or digital form and should include details such as the company name, registered address, share capital and identification of shareholders, directors, secretaries and corporate bodies.

A fee, based on the company's share capital, is payable to the Malta Business Registry when submitting the Annual Return.

Want to learn how to set up a business in Malta?

If you want to learn the intricate details of setting up a business in Malta, your search ends here. GBS Malta offers a reputed course that can help you do so.  

GBS Malta offers top-notch British qualifications, empowering students to excel in their careers. Renowned for specialised courses in higher education and a global network through GEDU, it’s a rapidly growing institution. Affordable accommodation choices are easily accessible and furnished to a high standard to meet the requirements of international students. 

GBS Malta offers diverse business courses at various levels to cater to students' academic aspirations and interests. For certification, the institution provides the Award in Business Management and Study Skills, which equips students with foundational business knowledge and essential study skills for higher education success. 

For undergraduate studies, GBS Malta offers the BA (Hons) Business and Management course, preparing students like you to become proficient professionals capable of thriving in the future workplace. 

For postgraduate studies, GBS Malta provides master's degree options, including the MA Business and Management for enhancing commercial acumen and professional skills and the MBA Entrepreneurship course, offering specialised pathways in business and administration. 

Want to know more about the courses offered? Contact the student support team.  

Frequently asked questions about business and opportunities in Malta

There are numerous business opportunities in Malta for you to explore, such as: 

  • Financial Services 
  • Electronics 
  • Knowledge centre/Back-office services 
  • Generic pharmaceuticals 
  • Training and education 
  • Gaming 
  • Aviation
  • The film industry 

Listed below are the types of companies available in Malta: 

  • Private and public limited liability company 
  • General and limited partnership 
  • Sole proprietorship  
  • Holding company 

The advantages of setting up a business in Malta include its fast-growing economy, business-friendly environment, advantageous tax system and access to a diverse market. 

Cultural and economic factors shape business opportunities in Malta by influencing consumer preferences, market demand and investment patterns. 

To set up a business in Malta, you'll need to register your company with the Registrar of Companies, obtain necessary permits and licenses and comply with local regulations and tax requirements. 

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