In Estonia, a new company can be established in less than a day! Yes, it’s a fairly quick process. It is also a well known fact that to establish a company you do not need to be an Estonia citizen or be based in Estonia. As a result, there are a multitude of companies whose owners are foreign nationals that run the company registered in the Estonian commercial register from overseas. Below you’ll find an overview of the upsides of e-Residency as well as guidelines as to who can apply for e-Residency and how this can be done.
Upsides of e-Residency for resident undertakings
As from 2015, Estonia is the only country in the world to offer E-Residency. E-Residency constitutes virtual residency by way of which foreign nationals gain secure access to Estonian e-services in both the private and public sector. That is to say that e-Residency enables residents by way of digital identity to use the same e-services that are available to Estonian resident ID-card holders.
How can e-Residency make it easier for residents to manage a company from abroad? Let’s say an Italian, living in Italy, has registered a company (say, a pizza restaurant) in the Estonian commercial register. To provide for accounting for the restaurant, relevant services are purchased from an Estonian accounting company. Accountants of said accounting company, however, need certain authorizations to perform accounting for the pizza place. Read on for a comparison of the process of obtaining the required documents as an e-resident and as a non e-resident.
Non e-residents. To perform accounting for the company, both the undertaking and the accountant must have access to e-services provided by the Republic of Estonia Tax and Customs Board. To conclude a relevant agreement with the Tax and Customs Board and to set up relevant access for the accountant, the undertaking must attend the Board’s Office or prepare a notarized power of attorney for the accountant. Furthermore, the undertaking must register the person submitting relevant data also in the commercial register’s portal; however, non e-residents do not have access to this measure. Indeed, the accountant may prepare reports for the company, yet such reports must be printed when completed and presented to the management board for signature, after which the signed report should be scanned and submitted to the commercial register as a PDF file. All this is cumbersome and time consuming for the undertaking.
E-residents. All required steps can be taken on web sites of the Tax and Customs Board and the commercial register.
E-Residency significantly cuts back the time spent on effecting relevant measures. To render accounting services more efficient for customers, IT resources set up by the state should be used.
Further perks of e-Residency
The state-established and secured digital ID is certainly a sound method for foreign customers and partners of Estonian enterprises to communicate with local companies. However, the digital ID system provides even further perks:
- Digital signing of documents
- Login to all portals and information systems that establish identities based on the Estonian ID-card
- Online establishment of Estonian companies and active participation in management thereof, while residing in another country
- Use of Estonian online banking
- Encryption of documents
- Filing of reports to the commercial register and the Tax Board
- Use of Estonian digital prescriptions
- E-residents can use e-services provided by the Tax and Customs Board subject to the same terms and conditions as Estonian ID card holders.
E-residents make use of all of the e-services provided by eesti.ee. Should you wish to register a new business, you can do so online conveniently and quickly in the e-Business Register. To do that, however, non Estonian nationals related to the establishment of your company must be registered as e-residents with a valid digital ID, enabling digital signing of the petition for first entry and of the formation documents.
Should an undertaking require information on its cooperation partners, general information for businesses registered in Estonia is available for review in the e-service environment at eesti.ee, indicating a company’s valid activity licenses, notices concerning its economic activity, precepts, and occupational bans. Hence, if you have digital ID, you can collect relevant information on businesses register in Estonia.
The Register of Economic Activities enables convenient online submission of applications for a permit and notices of commencement of economic activity in areas of activity that are subject to special requirements, amendment of economic activity related information in valid permits and notices, and notification of suspension of an activity license or termination of activity. You can also view general information, valid activity licenses and notices of economic activity, precepts, and occupational bans etc.
Visit the working environment and staff related category at eesti.ee to view your employees’ e-certificates, check validity of the information included in such certificates, and if required, download relevant certificates. You can also apply for different certificates for entrepreneurs. Furthermore, you can enter the customer portal of the Republic of Estonia Labour Inspectorate, enabling employers and private individuals to communicate and exchange documents electronically with the Labor Inspectorate. Yet another measure available to you is the opportunity to check your employees’ health insurance information with the Estonian Health Insurance Fund etc.
eSTAT enables data as pertaining to businesses, institutions, and private individuals to be sent to Statistics Estonia.
Should your company need new premises, you might want to check out the e-Land Register. This environment contains information on all registered immovables in Estonia – for example, information on the immovable’s surface area and owners, restrictions and mortgages that encumber the immovable etc.
To find out more on what e-Residency enables you to do online go to eesti.ee.
How do I become an e-resident?
You can apply for e-Residency if you are at least 18 years of age, do not reside in Estonia, and have a link to Estonia or foster a vested and current interest in using Estonian e-services. E-Residency does not constitute a right handed out to anyone that so requests. It is, rather, an amenity granted to the applicant after they have filed an application and successfully undergone relevant verification process administered by the state. E-Residency is granted to reliable persons only.
Apply for e-Residency:
- online at the Republic of Estonia e-Residency home page
- on site in Estonia at service offices of the Republic of Estonia Police and Border Guard Board
- elsewhere in the world at Estonian embassies and consular representations
The state fee payable upon applying for an e-resident’s ID-card is 100 euros.
How do I become an e-resident?
E-Residency does not constitute citizenship, tax residency, residence permit, or a permit to enter Estonia or the European Union. An e-resident’s digital ID is not an identity document or a travel document and it does not include a picture of its holder.
Do you require accounting services?
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