Serbia used to be part of Yugoslavia, a socialist country with a planned economy. When Yugoslavia ceased to exist, all of its former republics chose the western model and turned into market economies. Serbia was not an exception and its economic transformation has been impressive indeed. Over the last thirty years, the independent Serbia has become a business and financial center of Southeastern Europe. Its geographic location has contributed to Serbia’s economic development but other factors have played important roles as well. In particular, the Government of the country has been actively promoting the creation of a favorable business environment in Serbia to make it more attractive for foreign investors. And these efforts have been successful: a lot of capital is currently invested in Serbia by a number of EU countries as well as China and Russia.
Today, Serbia is a democratic country with a market economy and it is expected to join the European Union soon. However, it’s not quite there yet. Even though Serbia lives by the Western political and economic values and plays by the European rules in general, it still deviates from both sets of principles in certain specific areas. Here we are talking about such kinds of deviations that make Serbia especially attractive for international entrepreneurs. The process of company formation in Serbia is rather straightforward and the foreign businessperson registering an enterprise in Serbia will find him- or herself in a European country that offers some advantages typical of offshore jurisdictions located in the middle of the ocean.
What offshore qualities does the onshore Serbia possess? First of all, the country is not a member of the CRS group yet. Well, the agreement to join the group has been signed but it hasn’t been implemented thus far. Therefore, anyone who would like their home country’s fiscal authorities to remain ignorant about their financial transactions should give some serious consideration to the opportunity to open a company in Serbia. There is one more exciting opportunity, however. Many owners of offshore-registered companies grab the chance to set up branches of their companies in Serbia. It is still possible to do so and the advantages that this business maneuver brings are quite obvious. If you have a Serbian branch of your offshore company, then you can open a European bank account thus improving the image of your parent company to a great extent.
As far as the bank account is concerned, the opportunity to open one is the key reason why many foreign nationals choose to register companies in Serbia. They open bank accounts in Europe and this already speaks for itself. They find top-quality banking services in the Balkan country and a wide range of banking possibilities. It’s quite possible to set up a multicurrency account in a Serbian bank, acquire debit and credit cards, interact with personnel who speak your national language (Serbian bank officers are often multilingual), and use various up-to-date computer and online applications that simplify banking. However, account opening and maintenance cost less in Serbia than they do in Western European countries such as Switzerland or Austria, for example. Unlike banks to the northwest of Serbia, banks in the country normally do not require any minimum deposit when setting up accounts for their customers.
What qualities of a reputable European jurisdiction does Serbia possess? We’ve already mentioned one of them: a superb quality of banking services that matches the quality of these services found in Switzerland or elsewhere. Besides, many banks operating in Serbia are divisions of large international banking groups. This means that you can set up a bank account with an institution carrying a reputable brand name. What is truly fascinating is the fact that you can do so for your offshore company!
One more factor that makes Serbia an outstanding jurisdiction where you can open a company is its unique free trade agreements. If you establish a company or a company branch in Serbia, you will be able to trade duty free with markets whose overall population exceeds 1 billion people. How is that possible? Well, Serbia has free trade agreements with such huge markets as the EU, USA, and China as well as several smaller but important markets such as Russia, Turkey, UAE, and others.
The local equivalent of an LLC is abbreviated as doo in Serbia and this is by far the most popular form of company ownership that foreign nationals opt for when registering companies in the country. The company can be established by a group of people or a single person and the liability will remain limited in any case. Besides, you can make a legal entity such as a foreign business company, for example, the owner of your Serbia-based company as such an opportunity exists too. The package of application documents is going to be a bit larger in this case but it may well be worth it.