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Company formation:

Malta, a southern European archipelago, is renowned for its strategic position and a thriving business-friendly atmosphere, making it a prime location for entrepreneurs seeking growth.

Located in the heart of the Mediterranean, Malta offers a unique blend of opportunities for entrepreneurs and business-minded individuals. With a rich history that bridges cultures and continents, Malta has evolved into a modern European nation with a robust economic structure. Its pro-business policies, strategic geographic location, and membership in the European Union make it a desirable destination for company formation. Furthermore, the country’s bilingual populace and strong education system ensure a skilled workforce ready to meet the demands of various sectors.

Country Malta
Language Maltese (90%)
English (88%)
Italian (66%)
Time in Malta GMT+1
Population 514,564 (source: World Bank, 2020)
Currency €, EUR
Religion Catholicism (Predominant)
Tax regime 35%
VAT 18%
Overage salary €20,000 annually (source: Salary Explorer, 2022)
Types of incorporations Limited Liability Company (LLC)
Partnership (P)
Sole Proprietorship (SP)
Branch of a Foreign Company (BFC)
Trusts and Foundations (TF)
Investment Companies (IC)

Why opening a company in Malta?

Malta, as an EU member state, presents a myriad of advantages for businesspeople. Its fiscal policies, especially, are geared towards attracting foreign entrepreneurs. Those interested in industries like online gaming, maritime, and aviation, in particular, will find Malta’s regulations and tax structures highly beneficial.


Incorporating a company in Malta offers a range of benefits, thanks to the island nation’s strategic Mediterranean location, progressive business policies, and membership in the European Union. Let’s delve deeper into the specific advantages of setting up a business in Malta:

Advantages Details
Pro-Business Policies Malta offers favorable tax incentives, and its regulatory environment supports both startups and established businesses.
EU Membership Being an EU member state, businesses in Malta enjoy access to European markets, making trade and transactions seamless.
Skilled Workforce Malta’s multilingual population and robust education system provide a steady flow of skilled professionals across various sectors.
Attractive Tax Regime Companies can benefit from Malta’s competitive tax system, which includes double taxation treaties with over 70 countries.
Stable Political Climate Malta’s stable political environment instills confidence among investors and promotes long-term business strategies.
Modern Infrastructure From digital connectivity to transportation facilities, Malta provides businesses with state-of-the-art infrastructure.


Despite the numerous advantages, there are challenges to consider when incorporating a company in Malta. Recognizing these drawbacks helps in making informed decisions and strategizing effectively:

Disadvantages Details
Small Domestic Market Given Malta’s small size and population, the domestic market is limited, which might pose challenges for certain industries.
High Operational Costs Some sectors might face elevated costs related to rents, utilities, and wages in Malta compared to other jurisdictions.
Intense Competition Because Malta attracts numerous businesses, certain industries might experience stiff competition, making market entry challenging.
Limited Natural Resources Malta relies heavily on imports for many goods due to its limited natural resources, which can affect specific business sectors.

Most popular sectors to set up a company in Malta

Some of the most lucrative sectors in Malta include the maritime sector, online gaming, tourism, aviation, and financial services. These industries have seen immense growth due to supportive regulatory frameworks and the country’s strategic location.

Fiscal system in Malta

The Maltese fiscal system is structured to be both competitive and compliant with EU and international standards. It integrates both direct and indirect taxation methods.


Malta’s tax system is designed to promote investment and business. The headline corporate tax rate stands at 35%. However, Malta has a unique tax refund system, which can effectively reduce this rate for non-resident shareholders. This rebate system can bring the effective tax rate down to between 5% to 10% for trading income. Dividend distributions do not attract any withholding tax. This makes Malta one of the most attractive jurisdictions in the EU from a tax perspective.
Additionally, Malta has signed numerous double taxation treaties with a variety of countries, ensuring that the same income isn’t taxed twice. The treaty network facilitates better trade and investment flows between Malta and partner countries.

The Personal Income Tax (PIT) in Malta is progressive, with rates ranging from 0% to 35%. Expatriates and foreign workers can benefit from special tax status, leading to reduced tax rates on foreign income remitted to Malta.

Capital gains tax in Malta is generally levied at the standard rate of 35%. However, certain exemptions and reductions apply, especially for non-resident investors. Moreover, no inheritance or wealth tax exists in Malta, making it favorable for estate planning.

Malta’s tax system also provides incentives for research and development, innovation, and patents. Such provisions ensure that businesses can remain competitive and innovative in the global market.

VAT in Malta

Value Added Tax (VAT) in Malta is charged at a standard rate of 18%. Reduced rates of 7% and 5% apply to specific goods and services, like accommodation and electricity respectively. Exports from Malta are zero-rated, promoting international trade.

CFC Rules

Malta does not have specific Controlled Foreign Company (CFC) rules. However, it adheres to the EU Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive, which provides guidelines on countering tax planning strategies that shift profits to low-tax jurisdictions.


Local director

A company in Malta is not strictly required to appoint a local director, but it is advisable for tax residency purposes.

Local secretary

It is mandatory for a Maltese company to appoint a company secretary, but they need not necessarily be a resident of Malta.

Annual return

All companies in Malta must file an annual return, providing an overview of the company’s performance, assets, and liabilities.

Audited accounts

Companies in Malta are required to have their accounts audited annually by a certified public accountant.

Company types in Malta

Private Limited Company (Ltd)

Type Designations Minimum Share Capital Taxes
Private Limited Company Ltd €1,165 35%

The allure of establishing a Private Limited Company (Ltd) in Malta is often found in its flexibility and protective structure for shareholders. Principally, an Ltd in this jurisdiction is especially favorable for small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), family businesses, or startups, primarily due to its relative ease of management and operational leniency.

The minimum share capital requirement, set at a modest €1,165, allows for an accessible entry point for smaller businesses or entrepreneurs with limited initial capital. This paired with the 35% corporate tax rate, which can be substantially reduced through refundable tax credits to 5%, makes it financially appealing for new entrants into the business sphere.

A significant advantage of opting for the Ltd structure revolves around the limitation of liability, wherein the personal assets of shareholders are shielded from company debts or liabilities. Additionally, governance and operational management tend to be less rigid and bureaucratic than in Public Limited Companies, providing a certain degree of freedom and flexibility in the strategic and daily operations of the business.

Furthermore, the privacy of the company’s shareholders is duly respected and protected, making it a suitable choice for businesses that prefer to keep their organizational structure and investor information confidential.

Public Limited Companies (PLC)

Type Designations Minimum Share Capital Taxes
Public Limited Company PLC €46,600 35%

In the Maltese business landscape, Public Limited Companies (PLC) hold a pivotal role, especially when it comes to mobilizing capital from the public. Large-scale businesses and those with a robust growth trajectory typically find this incorporation type to be immensely viable. The essential characteristic of PLCs, which is the ability to offer shares to the public, enables them to garner substantial capital, which is pivotal for expansions, large-scale projects, and international ventures.

A substantive minimum share capital of €46,600 is necessitated for the incorporation of a PLC, a reflection of its magnitude and the scale of operations typically associated with public companies. This ostensibly high entry barrier ensures that the company is sufficiently capitalized to protect the interests of its shareholders and can endure the vicissitudes of the market.

One of the principal reasons organizations opt for a PLC status is the potential access to a wider capital base. This incorporation type allows businesses to enlist their shares on the Malta Stock Exchange and, consequently, provides an open avenue for raising funds and enhancing visibility in the market.

Whilst the corporate tax rate is pegged at 35%, similar to the Ltd, PLCs in Malta can avail themselves of the nation’s full imputation system, which allows shareholders to receive a tax credit for the tax paid by the company on profits distributed as dividends, thereby substantially reducing their effective tax rate.

The meticulous regulatory and compliance requisites for PLCs, while ensuring transparency and safeguarding stakeholders’ interests, also demand a stringent adherence, necessitating a well-organized administrative and governance structure within the company.

Through astute fiscal management, adherence to regulatory norms, and strategic utilization of available resources, PLCs in Malta can navigate through the multifaceted business ecosystem, ensuring sustained growth and contributing substantially to the economic vitality of the nation.


Type Designations Minimum Share Capital Taxes
General Partnership N/A No minimum requirement Progressive up to 35%
Limited Partnership Limited Partnership (L.P.) No minimum requirement Progressive up to 35%

A partnership in Malta traditionally takes the form of either a general partnership or a limited partnership. The allure of this model of incorporation generally rests in its capacity for flexibility, reduced formality, and its particular suitability for small to medium-scale business operations.

The distinctively accommodating and simplified regulatory framework for partnerships in Malta facilitates the straightforward administration and operation of businesses. This invariably translates to reduced bureaucratic impediments and enables entrepreneurs to channel their energies into their operational endeavors.

Fiscal attributes of partnerships further entrench their popularity among business communities. For general partnerships, the distribution of profits and losses among partners allows for an efficient distribution of tax liabilities. On the other hand, limited partnerships offer a blend of liability protection and operational flexibility, which can be particularly enticing for small enterprises and start-ups, balancing risk and regulatory compliance effectively.


Type Designations Minimum Share Capital Taxes
Branch Branch of [Parent Company Name] None 35% (rebates available)

The concept of a branch office in Malta caters predominantly to international enterprises seeking to extend their operations into the Maltese markets without establishing a separate legal entity. Malta, with its strategic geographic locale, serves as a gatekeeper between European and African markets, thereby presenting a plethora of opportunities for businesses looking to expand their reach.

A branch office benefits from Malta’s advantageous tax regime, which whilst maintaining a headline tax rate of 35%, allows non-resident shareholders to claim a refund of the Maltese tax paid by the branch, thereby reducing the effective tax rate significantly. It further basks in the liberty to remit its profits to its foreign head office without incurring any Maltese withholding taxes, streamlining fiscal outflows effectively.

Whilst operating as an extension of the parent company, a branch is endowed with a certain degree of autonomy in its operations. Its entrenchment in Malta’s eclectic and thriving business ecosystem facilitates seamless integration with local and international markets, leveraging Malta’s expansive double tax treaty network, and fostering cross-border business activities.

Sole Proprietorship (SP)

Type Designations Minimum Share Capital Taxes
Sole Proprietorship N/A N/A Progressive

The Sole Proprietorship (SP) stands out as one of the preferred business structures amongst entrepreneurs embarking upon their commercial endeavors in Malta. This type of incorporation, notable for its straightforwardness, is particularly apt for small-scale businesses and individual entrepreneurs for whom the simplicity of administrative and regulatory compliance is a pertinent consideration.

The SP structure is characterized by a single individual who owns and manages the business. Here, there is no legal distinction between the owner and the business entity, meaning that the owner is directly responsible for all the business debts and obligations. This entity does not require a formal designation after the company name, reflecting its uncomplicated nature and personal responsibility.

Financial enthusiasts and solo entrepreneurs may gravitate towards an SP due to the minimal bureaucratic encumbrances and the full control it grants over the business operations. Furthermore, this model permits an individual to secure all profits, though it mandates the proprietor to address all liabilities and debts personally. The tax implications also hinge directly on the personal income tax bracket of the owner, adhering to a progressive tax rate that intertwines with the personal earnings and imposed accordingly.

The essential benefits lie in the streamlined operation, less stringent regulatory compliance, and direct control over the business. Nevertheless, prospective owners should carefully weigh these advantages against the unshielded exposure to business liabilities and financial obligations inherent to the SP model.


Type Designations Minimum Share Capital Taxes
Trust Trustee, Settlor, Beneficiary N/A Subject to Trust Deed

Unlike the singularly helmed Sole Proprietorship, a Trust in Malta unfolds in a distinctly different manner, grounding itself within the realms of wealth management and asset protection. Navigating through the distinctive roles of a Settlor, Trustee, and Beneficiary, the Trust entity carries a unique suite of characteristics and capabilities, making it a viable option for diverse financial objectives.

The Settlor, who places the asset into the Trust, the Trustee, who manages it, and the Beneficiary, who is the recipient of the asset, all play crucial roles within this structure, which does not require a minimum share capital and where tax implications are determined by the specifications outlined in the Trust Deed. This formation is not a legal entity per se, but a legal relationship, hence not demanding a specific designation after a name but requiring meticulous crafting of the Trust Deed.

Considering the often complex, multifaceted nature of managing and distributing assets, individuals, families, or entities looking to safeguard their wealth for future generations or specific purposes might opt for a Trust. Its utility extends beyond mere wealth preservation, acting as a potent tool for estate planning, securing financial futures, and meticulously planning the distribution of assets with a considerable measure of control and security.

Embarking upon the creation of a Trust demands a thorough understanding of its intricate mechanics, ensuring that assets are managed and eventually distributed in accordance with the Settlor’s objectives and wishes. Thus, it simultaneously offers a structured, secure means of managing wealth while providing a mechanism to ensure the financial stability and adherence to the wishes of the entities or individuals involved.

Common questions

How do the tax refunds work for Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) in Malta?

Malta has a unique tax system where the effective tax rate can be significantly reduced for shareholders of Maltese companies. While the corporate tax rate stands at 35%, upon distribution of dividends, shareholders can claim tax refunds, typically resulting in an effective tax rate of 5-6%. This system is attractive to foreign investors as it offers potential tax efficiency.

What are the administrative requirements for maintaining Partnerships in Malta?

Partnerships, like other entities in Malta, are required to file annual returns with the Malta Business Registry. Financial accounts must be audited by a licensed auditor in Malta. Also, partnerships are expected to maintain proper bookkeeping and should adhere to the local VAT and tax regulations. Periodic meetings among partners are essential, with minutes kept for documentation purposes.

Are there any industry-specific benefits for Sole Proprietorships in Malta?

Sole Proprietorships in Malta, especially those in the tourism, arts, and crafts sectors, might qualify for certain grants or incentives offered by the Maltese government. These incentives are designed to bolster smaller enterprises and individual entrepreneurs in sectors vital to Malta’s economy and cultural heritage.

What are the challenges a foreign company might face when setting up a Branch in Malta?

While establishing a branch allows a foreign company to tap into the Maltese market, challenges include adhering to local regulations, managing double reporting (to both the home country and Maltese authorities), and potential currency exchange issues. Branches also don’t benefit from Malta’s tax refund system in the same way local entities do.

Are Trusts and Foundations in Malta subject to any regulatory oversight?

Yes. Trusts and Foundations in Malta fall under the regulatory purview of the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA). They must adhere to the Trusts and Trustees Act and the Second Schedule Regulations. Compliance includes regular audits, proper bookkeeping, and fulfilling anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorist financing (CFT) requirements.

Can Investment Companies in Malta market to the EU?

Investment Companies, once licensed by the MFSA, can indeed market to the EU. Under the UCITS (Undertakings for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities) framework, these companies can passport their services across EU member states. This makes Malta a favored location for establishing investment vehicles aiming for a broader European market presence.

What role does the Malta Business Registry (MBR) play in business incorporation?

The MBR is the central authority in Malta responsible for company registration. It maintains the official documentation of all registered entities, ensuring transparency and compliance. All companies, including foreign branches, are required to file annual returns and financial statements with the MBR. It’s a key institution ensuring the legitimacy and proper functioning of businesses in Malta.

Can one transition from one company type to another in Malta?

Yes, with the appropriate legal processes. For instance, a Sole Proprietorship can be transitioned into a Limited Liability Company, provided the proper documentation is filed, and any regulatory requirements are met. However, there are complexities involved in such transitions, especially concerning liabilities and assets, so legal advice is crucial.

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