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Are you thinking about moving your business to Europe? Find a business environment that matches most of your operational needs and lets you make the most of your budget. Below we have collected the most affordable countries in Europe for company formation, with some hints on how each can contribute to the growth of your business. Take a look!
Lithuania has a vibrant tech culture that is attracting foreign investment in software, IT, and life sciences. Lithuania ranked #11 in the latest Ease of Doing Business survey of the World Bank, which promises a business-friendly environment with great potential. On top of this, Lithuania is Europe’s most digitized country, with advanced public e-services. The startup visa programs for investors and employees make immigration quite simple. Setting up a business is really straightforward and takes just a few days, while standard corporate tax is 15%, with more favorable options available based on the size of the operation.
Hungary can be a great strategic decision for setting up your headquarters in the EU, as it is located in the exact center of Europe with excellent connections to all major cities in the region. This is complemented by a highly skilled workforce and an export-driven economy. Bringing in talent from abroad is also relatively quick and straightforward, especially compared to EU standards, while even better options are planned to be introduced in the near future. Company formation in Hungary takes only 4-5 business days, and your company may receive an EU VAT number immediately, without further conditions. Corporate tax is only 9% for every company, which is the lowest standard rate in the EU.
The Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is home to the headquarters of several European corporations, while subsidies related to research and development make the country even more attractive to investors. Residence permits for both business owners and employees in just 2 or 3 months after application, which is great for moving your existing, experienced employees to a new country. Company formation can be taken care of within a week, but you have to wait 2 months for an EU VAT number. Corporate tax is 19%, which is above the proposed global minimum tax – meaning your operation will not be affected by it, however big it grows.
Romania is a growing business hub in the region thanks to its low maintenance costs and an urban infrastructure that is developing in strides. Romania can boast the fastest internet in Europe with great coverage, a solid banking sector, and great potential for growth. Company setup procedures are streamlined to take less than a week. Residence permits are available to the director and foreign employees, but the exact procedure is determined by the type of work performed. The standard corporate tax is 16%, but smaller businesses with a yearly net profit below 1 million may reduce that to 3%, or even 1%.
Greece is the biggest economy in the Balkans, in great part thanks to its ports with a sizable merchant shipping industry and a significant tourism sector. Living costs are quite low, which makes for low maintenance costs for your business relocated here, while you can also take advantage of government subsidies, interest discounts, and tax breaks (depending on your location and your sector) which all intend to incentivize economic growth. Residency is again readily available to investors and employees, but the standard corporate tax is 22% (for credit institutions, it is even higher, 29%).
How to choose?
You can decide which country is the best for your business depending on the specifics of your operation. If you intend to import goods by sea, Greece seems a logical choice thanks to its ports. If you consider digitization important, Lithuania offers the most services, while Romania has the fastest internet. Getting a work permit in Hungary is quite straightforward, while the country also offers the lowest corporate tax in the EU. R&D is most incentivized in the Czech Republic.
Consider not only your immediate goals, but also how your EU business will remain sustainable, and in which environment you can imagine yourself prospering in five, or even in ten years. For example, while work permit application is quite similar in each of these countries, permits must be renewed regularly, while Hungary offers permanent residency just after just three years of residency, and Hungarian citizenship is available after 8 years (or even sooner). The Hungarian passport is the 9th strongest in the world, and it offers visa-free travel to 185 countries around the world.
Set up a business in the EU
The European Union is not a melting pot but a community of diverse cultures, gradually built up around common guidelines. Laws governing business setup are varied and reflect local economic policies. Thanks to the diversity, you have a bigger chance of finding an environment that fits your planned European operation, whatever the factors that can help you lower your costs. At the same time, guidelines for immigration are relatively similar, and residency is available in each country for those who are planning to increase the local GDP.
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