If your company is based in England or Scotland, it would be a good idea to set up a Serbian branch for it. You will also get a European bank account to withdraw the parent company’s funds to Serbia without many limitations. The branch can be established online, so it will be hassle-free for you – especially if you rely on expert assistance.
We would be happy to see you on our portal where you can read the full text of the article on establishing a branch in Serbia for foreign companies. We write about international business and banking, tax optimization, asset protection, investments (including citizenship by investment), and more – so you are sure to find something interesting for you! You will also be able to schedule a meeting with our expert for free to discuss the prospects of company formation in the jurisdiction of your choice. Our specialists will be glad to set up a company or a bank account for you at a reasonable fee. Do not hesitate to contact us!
Why a Branch in Serbia?
The limited liability companies and limited partnerships are very popular legal forms in the UK. The country offers a reliable judicial system, a flexible legal framework, excellent business infrastructure, a good internal market, and well-established cooperation channels with business partners across the globe.
Non-residents have established hundreds of thousands (!) of English partnerships/companies used for investment, asset protection, trade, and so on.
However, British companies were often used for illegal activities and money laundering, which made the UK authorities impose stricter control of non-resident companies by introducing a public register of beneficial owners (mandatory for both partnerships and companies) and requiring annual reports to be submitted.
The efficiency of companies was surely affected, and some bank accounts were simply closed. Many companies ceased to exist after the new regulations had been in effect for several years.
Entrepreneurs needed a way out of the situation, and that’s where Serbian branches came in useful. Many companies set them up and successfully continued their business activities in a more comfortable environment.
Serbian Branch Registration
First of all, let’s look at the main reasons why UK company owners establish branches in Serbia:
- The registration procedure is not excessively long (it takes up to 2 months along with a bank account).
- A branch can be set up on behalf of an offshore company.
- If you start a business in Serbia (and a British company branch will do), you can easily obtain a Serbian residence permit.
- A Serbian branch is a simple way to open a local bank account (which may be more difficult otherwise).
- Branch registration is accessible for non-residents.
- Your branch will receive a TIN and will be recorded in the Serbian register, but it will not be considered a separate legal entity
- The branch maintenance costs are quite affordable: you will not have to pay an annual renewal fee, the rent of a legal address costs 100 euros a month (or more), and you will not have to pay much to keep your accounting in order locally (100 euros a month or more).
- Serbia is a party to 54 double taxation avoidance treaties.
- A branch can be set up online (while a bank account will require a personal visit).
- Serbia is on the verge of accession to the EU (in fact, it is planning to do so in 2025).
- You will be able to withdraw the parent company’s funds to your Serbian account (we keep in mind the situation that the British company’s account may be closed).
- Serbia boasts a robust banking system and substantial experience of working with financial instruments.
The profits derived by the branch are subject to a 15% corporate tax, but the rate may be reduced if you are planning a reasonable cooperation with the parent company.
What is more, Serbia offers some preferential programs:
- Employees have the right to tax benefits
- IT developers that develop intellectual property in the Serbian territory can pay the company income tax at a rate of only 3%.
Documents for Branch Registration
Here are the documents to be provided if you intend to set up a branch in Serbia:
- A limited power of attorney that will allow us to open a branch and a bank account for you (you will only need to fill out our template)
- Certificate of Incorporation (no older than 3 months) with an apostille (original)
- Passports of company owners (certified copies) and proof of residence addresses
- A statement that the British parent company is liable for the branch obligations
- Certificate of Incumbency of the registration agent with an apostille (no older than 3 months)
- Company’s decision to set up a branch in Serbia (for your convenience, we have developed a template that complies with Serbian laws, and you will only need to complete it)
- The latest available version of the Statement Confirmation of a Limited Partnership issued by Companies House (UK State Register) with an apostille
- An apostilled extract from the British Register of Companies
All the above-mentioned documents have to be translated into Serbian and certified. They will be submitted to the Serbian Register, and you have to keep in mind that local experts meticulously check all seals and signatures of officials available in documents.
In addition, you will need proof that the UK-based parent company has an active bank account (you can provide a document issued by a bank or a payment system).
If the branch is carrying out business operations quite actively and the account turnover exceeds 50,000 euros, VAT documents signed by a responsible person will have to be sent to the tax office. However, this does not apply if the funds are transferred to the account by the parent company.
If you want to use a full range of services offered by Serbian banks, you should know that it is only accessible if you are a Serbian resident. You can easily obtain a residence permit if you set up a company or buy real estate in Serbia, and we strongly recommend taking this opportunity to benefit from better banking conditions.
Interested in establishing a branch in Serbia? Please click on the above link to read about the cost of setup and maintenance and get in touch with our consultant to discuss the conditions!