- Where onshore strengths enhance offshore advantages, and West welcomes East
- A perfect solution: a corporate account in Serbia for a branch of a foreign company in Serbia
- Feel the difference: options available in Europe vs the recommended Serbian solution
- Banking and saving: commercial banks in Serbia
- Paperwork matters: documents needed for opening a foreign company branch in Serbia
- Customer focus: our Concierge Services for your branch of a foreign company in Serbia
- Serbian branch registration and maintenance costs
- Household matters: the annual costs of the economic presence of your branch in Serbia
- Steps to engage our experts in your offshore company’s branch registration in Serbia and the non-resident corporate account in Serbia
Our readers often turn to us for help when they notice that invoices issued by their offshore companies are not accepted any longer in the growing number of countries. Besides, they complain that more banks refuse to deal with entities that cannot prove their physical presence (substance). Are you also looking for solutions to these and similar issues? This article explains how you can have the best of both worlds if you register a branch of a foreign company in Serbia and then open a non-resident corporate account in Serbia.
You can be sure that thanks to the branch registration in Serbia and its resident or non-resident bank account opening in Serbia in a fast, easy, efficient way with our assistance, you can overcome the 2 typical challenges faced by many offshore businesses:
- the requirement to meet the requirement for your offshore entity’s substance (a legal address and a physical office, TIN, employees, a corporate account, etc.)
- the need to get a guaranteed access to commercial banking tools and services for your international offshore business.
Our professional services and advice are based on the extensive network of resident experts and over 10 years of international experience in non-resident bank account opening in Serbia and many other countries. We have helped out our clients’ companies registered in BVI, Nevis, Marshall Islands, UK, USA, etc. Read on to find out why and how an offshore bank account Serbia obtained after your offshore company’s branch registration in Serbia can be a perfect way to your international credibility and reputable status. You will also learn about our exclusive VIP Concierge Service that simplifies for you the establishment of a branch of a foreign company in Serbia and the set-up of a corporate account in Serbia, wherever your main business structure is incorporated.
It will take you a few days to open up a business branch in Serbia and from 1-2 weeks, up to a few months – to obtain a Serbia bank account.
Where onshore strengths enhance offshore advantages, and West welcomes East
You can enjoy all the offshore advantages as well as onshore benefits if you start a branch of a foreign company in Serbia. Here are the key justifications for this statement:
- According to the Law on Companies, a branch registration in Serbia does not mean you will obtain a new separate legal entity. It will act in legal transactions in the name and on behalf of your offshore company (which will remain unlimitedly liable for all liabilities arising from the activities of its branch).
- After you open up a business branch in Serbia, the ‘headquarters’ will continue its usual operation and will not have to amend the incorporation documents. There is no need to change its ownership, shareholders, and management structure.
- No branch of a foreign company in Serbia can operate through a foreign bank account. However, it will face no obstacles in opening a non-resident bank account in Serbia in the name of the ‘parent’ offshore entity. Likewise, a branch can only use (never own) the property of the parent company. The bottom line is, the company will conduct its business formally through the branch, even when the main business activities of the branch and the company are not the same. Given that, you can launch a new line of business in Serbia. Besides, the foreign company can have as many branches in Serbia (and Serbia bank accounts) as it needs.
- The trade name of the branch of a foreign company in Serbia is the same as the parent company’s business name. However, additionally, it can have its own local name for promotion purposes. It will get its TIN in Serbia and will have a legal address of its own.
- Any branch of a foreign entity in Serbia is considered a resident. It must keep separate accounting records and is taxed only on the profits booked to the branch. A branch is required to register as a VAT taxpayer after the annual revenues exceed a particular threshold. Serbia’s wide network of tax treaties is a very good justification for the legal right of the branch to avoid double taxation.
- Assets and payments transferred to the branch from the head office are not taxable (because they are considered as funds moving within one company). Therefore, a branch of a foreign entity in Serbia can be used for internal treasury management.
- If a branch of a foreign entity in Serbia needs to be closed in the future, there will be no liquidation requirements, because its assets will still remain the property of the parent offshore company.
- Serbia remains neutral on disputable issues challenged by East and West. This small European country is equally proud to promote cooperation within and outside Europe. You can hope that your branch of a foreign entity in Serbia will be a gateway to different international markets for your business.
A perfect solution: a corporate account in Serbia for a branch of a foreign company in Serbia
As we have already stated above, offshore companies find it more difficult these days to win the banks’ and customers’ trust in different parts of the world. Their invoices are rejected, they are requested to provide evidence of the taxes paid. Besides, the proof of substance is a very important document for negotiations with banks. Even routine bank transfers may prompt in-depth questions and fact-checking inspections. That is why offshore companies are looking for strategies that will allow resolving such issues.
Your easy solution: registration of your branch of a foreign company in Serbia and opening its corporate account in Serbia is a way to quickly set up the physical presence/substance, get a Serbian TIN, keep professional accounting, issue invoices, transfer and receive payments, and never be sanctioned in any part of the world for developing your offshore business.
Feel the difference: options available in Europe vs the recommended Serbian solution
You can open a branch/office and open its corporate account in Serbia or in any other European country. But the efforts, costs, terms, and benefits will be more rewarding in Serbia.
- The costs of opening and operating a branch and its account in any European country (e.g., the fees for accounting services, office rent, etc.) will be much higher than those that you will incur in Serbia.
- European taxes for companies are much higher than the taxes your branch will have to pay in Serbia
- Serbia is neutral not only in its foreign policy. Inside the country, there is no discrimination for political reasons against private persons or foreign (especially offshore) companies. The state creates a favorable business climate and is not interested in restricting activities of entrepreneurs, as long as they observe the laws and procedures.
- Serbia welcomes and appreciates the contribution of investors to the national economy. At the same time, a new disturbing trend is spanning Great Britain, France, Spain, and other counties: funds, business, and property of foreign HNWIs and international companies are vilified and exposed to collective sanctions purely under political pretext.
The above-mentioned advantages are available after opening a bank account in Serbia for a business branch in Serbia. To learn more about other incentives offered by Serbia, please order a free online session with our experts.
Banking and saving: commercial banks in Serbia
Your Serbian branch will be able to cooperate with reputable international banks. It will perform multi-currency fast and secure IBAN payments both domestically and internationally. The European banks in Serbia require minimum paperwork and are very meticulous about deadlines.
Please note that we do not recommend trying to open a corporate account in Serbia on your own because it is not easy. There is much more to it than just submitting an application to any big name bank. Depending on the needs of your business, the profile of your shareholders and owners, and other parameters, you should select a bank that will suit your corporate needs. This selection requires thorough research. Besides, banks are also choosy.
The choice of financial institutions in Serbia is large, including such major brands from Europe, Turkey, UAE, Russia and China as Addiko, Bank of China, Erste Bank, Credit Agricole, Halkbank, Intesa, Mirabank, NLB Bank, OTP Bank, Raiffeisen, Sberbank UniCredit, and other banks.
Paperwork matters: documents needed for opening a foreign company branch in Serbia
Here is a typical list of documents to compile:
- apostilled copies of your offshore company’s corporate documents (the Certificate of Incorporation, Certificate of Incumbency, Good Standing or Registry Extract, Memorandum and Articles of Association, copies of share certificates, etc.). They must be issued not earlier than 3 months prior to submission. The exact list and requirements can be discussed with our expert once you start the process with us
- a contract with a local director (optional)
- a Lease agreement for renting a registered office in Serbia
- Serbian Business Register Forms (filled out under our supervision) for setting up a branch of a foreign company in Serbia
- copies of passports of all directors, shareholders, and UBOs
- a Legalized Limited Power of Attorney issued to a local representative you will need for delegating the establishment of the branch and other chores.
- a copy of the foreign company’s Resolution (we will provide a draft) to establish a branch of a foreign company in Serbia
- a completed Consent signed by the parent company stating the offshore company’s agreement to remain liable for all liabilities of its Serbian branch
- a document confirming that the parent company holds an account with a bank/financial institution in another country (not older than 1 month). No notarization is needed. Please see below the FAQs about solutions for offshore companies that do not have accounts abroad.
Please note that all the documents need to be translated into the Serbian language. We can take care of this for extra payment (the fees charged by local translators vary but are not expensive). We can invoice your branch of a foreign company in Serbia for all minor services after the registration.
Customer focus: our Concierge Services for your branch of a foreign company in Serbia
A branch in Serbia needs to have a legal address and keep financial records. The accounters’ tariffs depend on the types of services and the amount of financial transactions for your branch. The typical annual accounting fee, including the fee for filing the company’s annual returns, is about €1,200 (€100 per month). If the financial operations are extensive and require some advanced/specific knowledge, companies can hire one of the 4 major international consulting firms.
In a country whose language you don’t know, it’s never easy to start a business. How will you answer a letter from a government agency? How will you handle communications with a Dun and Bradstreet credit agency reviewing your business? How will you respond to an unexpected phone call or a sudden arrival of a customer? Many clients leave these and thousands of other small daily business tasks to someone who is good at these things. For example, we can help you in your interactions with tax, regulatory, and other authorities in Serbia as part of our ‘Branch Concierge’ package service.
The ‘Branch Concierge’ services are right what you need on a daily basis, and they are available at reasonable fixed prices. You can choose and purchase 1 of our 3 Branch Concierge packages, with the following specifications.
|Branch Concierge services||Basic package|
€250 / month
€500 / month
|VIP package |
€900 / month
|A registered address for your branch||V||V||V|
|Storage and archiving of original copies of the documents; scanning and handling of the incoming mail and messages; communication with the accountant (up to 5 e-mail messages or phone calls per month)||V||V||V|
|Interaction with tax and government authorities, state agencies, and banks (up to 5 contacts per month)||V||V||V|
|2- hour-consultations or legal services (qualified English-speaking Serbian lawyer)||V||V|
|2 hours of miscellaneous services (post office/courier services, market research, interpreters/translators, etc.)||V||V|
|1 extra hour of consultations (qualified international business expert)||V|
|Local transfers (in the city) for 2 days||V|
|Meaningful miscellaneous tasks – in an unlimited amount (post office/courier services, market research, interpreters/translators, etc.)||V|
|Unlimited support in your communication with the accountant and state agencies||V|
Serbian branch registration and maintenance costs
The total costs of your company branch registration and bank account opening in Serbia will be from €4,500 plus tax. The following services are included in our package offer:
- registration of a Serbian branch
- payment of state duties
- TIN acquisition
- translation of documents
- consultations and assistance during your first visit to Belgrade.
Household matters: the annual costs of the economic presence of your branch in Serbia
- The fee for the registered address (mandatory) is from €100 per month or €1,200 per year
- The fee for bookkeeping/accounting services is from €100 per month or €1,200 per year (the ultimate price will depend on the actual tasks).
We recommend, though it is not a must, to rent some office space (with a legal address) for your Serbian branch. It is also a good strategy to hire a part-time or full-time resident employee. In the long run, this substance will prove beneficial in many ways and enhance your business reputation.
Moreover, the employment of high-quality Serbia-based personnel can be a winning cost-effective strategy. Please note that you can recruit/outsource a highly qualified remote personal assistant, SEO specialist, social media manager, programmer, etc., in Serbia for very reasonable fees.
Steps to engage our experts in your offshore company’s branch registration in Serbia and the non-resident corporate account in Serbia
You are welcome to contact us at the e-mail address: email@example.com (indicating the “New Branch Registration in Serbia” in the subject line). Explain to us the basic details of your goal and the offshore company. We will reply asap to agree with you on the date and time of the session with our expert.
We will arrange your Zoom meeting with our expert and send you the invitation by email.
You can pay the fee for our services (with a credit card, bank transfer, or via WebMoney, Western Union, MoneyGram, or crypto. You can also discuss with us the optional services you may need besides the ones mentioned in this article.
To find more answers to your questions about our very competitive offer, please contact us by email, in messengers, or give us a call (see the contact details at the top of this page). We will discuss your specific needs so that we could provide a customized assistance in the seamless branch registration in Serbia and opening of a bank account in Serbia for your offshore company.
Please note that the requirements of Serbian banks to clients, particularly non-resident ones, are growing stricter in Serbia, just like anywhere in the world. Nevertheless, it is quite feasible to open an account in Serbia for your offshore company’s Serbian branch. Here is what you will need to 1). have your application portfolio thoroughly prepared with our help; 2). get the papers reviewed by our experts before their submission; 3). submit the documents to the bank for the preliminary approval (which is our unique ‘Pre-approval’ service). We will take of the rest.
How can my offshore company prove its substance in Serbia?
You can benefit from hiring local staff in Serbia and delegate some of your company’s operations to them. In doing so, you can easily and for very reasonable fees hire well-educated and highly skilled employees in Serbia who are fluent in English, have a sound knowledge of the world, and modern outlooks. We recommend, for example, outsourcing IT specialists, accountants, call center staff, human resources, etc. However, they need to be registered with the social insurance fund, pension fund, and social security fund. We have good experience in HR matters and can help with the recruitment and contracts in Serbia. Likewise, our services include assistance in renting an office with the legal address. Moreover, we can provide to your branch of a foreign company in Serbia (at very attractive fees) the subscription to the so-called Concierge Service including accounting, business correspondence, some other office-based services.
Why should I consider Serbia as a destination for opening a branch or a representative office of my offshore company?
There are several good reasons for opening a branch of a foreign company in Serbia:
– Serbia is a very fast-growing economy welcoming investors and international businesses. The country’s public welfare program is getting more profound, the infrastructure development projects are extensive, the gas and energy supplies are sufficient for advancement of the key industries – the automotive industry, machinery, mining, energy sectors, and agriculture.
– Serbia maintains a good reputation with international organizations including World Bank.
– Servia attracts investors from the EU, China, Russia, the US.
– The Serbian authorities keep to the neutral international economic policy and are open to any cooperation that can be good for the nation.
– The government supports entrepreneurship by developing favorable conditions and special economic zones.
– Serbia has developed a pragmatic and transparent national legislation.
All those considerations attract foreign investors. In their turn, the inbound foreign investment and projects tap more opportunities both for domestic and international companies.
What advantages can I obtain through opening a branch of a foreign company in Serbia?
Here are just a few benefits you will have access to by registering a Serbian branch of your offshore company:
– You can open a branch of a foreign company in Serbia remotely or in person.
– You can open a Serbian branch of any foreign entity, even an offshore company.
– Your branch office will obtain a TIN in Serbia and qualify as a resident entity.
– The corporate tax in Serbia is 15%, but having the business operations of your parent company outside Serbia can help to decrease the effective tax rate.
– Your branch of a foreign company in Serbia can open a local bank account (i.e. in Europe), and your offshore company can legally transfer its funds into/from this account.
– The cost of the economic presence (substance) of a legal entity in Serbia is low.
– You can manage a branch of a foreign company in Serbia without having to reside in Serbia.
– If you apply for the permanent residence permit in Serbia (with a branch this will be easier) you will get access to additional advantages.
Serbia is planning to join the EU, which will open new opportunities for entities registered in Serbia in the future.
– Serbian authorities have concluded dozens of Double Taxation Treaties and duty-free trade agreements with countries featuring with 1.1 billion potential customers.
– Serbia has a well-developed banking sector and financial services.
– Serbia has joined the CRS/AEOI and is ‘whitelisted’ by FATF, but till now has not started automatic information exchange with other countries.
Is there a chance for opening a corporate account in Serbia for my branch if my offshore company does not have a bank account abroad?
By the rules, your branch of a foreign company can open a corporate account in Serbia only if its parent company has an account with a foreign financial institution. However, if your offshore entity does not have (or losses access to) an account in the country of registration, it can still meet this requirement by setting up an account with a bank or payment system somewhere else. We can explain the details of this solution and our relevant offer if you order a free online consultation with our expert.
Will our bank deposits in Serbia be safe?
Your question is really important to discuss when choosing a bank for your branch of a foreign company in Serbia. There are reasons to believe that it is safe to deposit funds in Serbia. First, the government guarantees every client a payment of up to 50,000 EUR if the bank fails. Second, some banks (such as the Postal Savings Bank which is over a hundred years old) are majority owned by the Serbian government. Their reputation is time-tested. Moreover, most banks belong to well-capitalized international groups that bail out their foreign subsidiaries in the case of any trouble. Finally, the country’s economy is quite sustainable, and the risk of a bank failure is very low.
Can the bank in Serbia require information about my movement of funds?
All reputable banks take care of their safety and try to mitigate risks by knowing their clients and monitoring their transactions. Banks are especially meticulous about their new customers. If you respect their policy, you will understand why it is in your interest to respond to the bank’s requests for information as soon as possible. Just in case you cannot be reached quickly we can help you with a special arrangement. This service is free for all users of our Concierge Services: our Serbian office can act as your back-up contact. So, when the bank tries to get in touch with you, we can notify you and at the same answer the bank on your behalf, to ensure that the transaction goes through. This will assure your bank of your trustworthiness and protect your branch of a foreign company in Serbia from any penalties.
How can I benefit from becoming a legal resident in Serbia?
The status of a resident will let you avoid double taxation under Serbian DTTs with nearly 60 countries. Residents can buy property in Serbia. For residents it is easier to open a corporate account in Serbia with the local banks. Among other benefits of the legal residence is the banking/financial confidentiality, because Serbia has not yet started automatic exchange of financial information about its residents with other countries. Please note that if you apply for opening a branch of a foreign company in Serbia you as a foreign investor can qualify both for opening a bank account in Serbia and for a residence permit.