How To Start A Business In Malta In 10 Steps

Malta is a tiny nation in the Mediterranean Sea, strategically positioned between Europe and Africa. It is home to around 400,000 inhabitants, including a certain Fun Entrepreneur, and has over 5000 years of history and culture at its roots. Malta is also a good place for business, offering year round great weather, short commutes and a skilled and flexible workforce. Whilst the local population does not offer huge market opportunities, it is a great testing ground. Existing logistical connections to mainland Europe and North Africa mean that companies wishing to expand beyond Malta can do so with ease. For those who wish to start a business in Malta, here are 10 simple steps to follow:


1. Limited Liability or Self-Employed?


The main difference is that by having a limited liability company you give your business a more trusted face and you, as a shareholder, are better protected. There are also more bureaucratic steps in creating such a company, such as having an annual audit, so I would recommend making sure your business is viable before registering it as LTD. You also need to be at least two shareholders to register a company.


For a self-employed person to start a business in Malta, the steps are much simpler, but so is the personal risk if anything goes wrong, such as with defective products or lawsuits. If you decide to start as a self-employed, then you can go directly to Step 5.


2. Prepare Registration Documentation


If you are going to proceed with a limited liability company, then you need to draft the memorandum and articles of association. Whilst you could prepare these yourself if you have the experience, I would strongly recommend seeking the assistance of local accountants or lawyers especially if you are starting a business in Malta for the first time. These documents are not only important for registration, they also detail what the company, its shareholders and its directors can and can not do.


3. Deposit the Minimum Share Capital


The amount will be determined in your memorandum and articles of association. To start off, any company needs some capital, however small. The minimum amount allowed is €1,200 (value rounded up), but you only need to deposit 20% of this value at a bank. Therefore, this step also includes you needing to open up a bank account in the company’s name. Inform the bank teller that you are depositing your share capital.


The money will go into a holding account until the company is properly registered. You will be given a receipt. It is very important that you do not lose it as you will need it to start a business.


4. Start A Business In Malta


In this step you need to present the filled in company registration form, together with the memorandum and articles of association and the share capital deposit slip to the Malta Financial Services Authority, who oversees all locally registered companies. Registration is done within 2 to 3 days and there is a registration fee to be paid, depending on the size of the company. The MFSA offers detailed information about fees and the registration procedure.


5. Obtain Licences


All those who start a business in Malta need to obtain a trading licence. For most businesses the process is quite simple. You only need to fill in the Application form for a commercial activity, although if you are setting up a food preparation business, beautician related business or a large manufacturing business you will need to apply for further licences from various governmental departments.


The best place to get your answers to all your questions about proper licencing is the Commerce Department. You will need to pay one or more annual fees for each licence but the very basic licence will cost you €70 for a small business.


6. Get a Tax Identification Number


Whilst this step might not be the most exciting, it is a legal requirement that a business has a tax identification number. Once again the necessary form can easily be found online. There are no fees to be paid, however once a year you will need to fill in a tax return form and this varies depending on whether you are a limited liability company or a self-employed person. In this case, especially for your first year in business, I would recommend  seeking the assistance of an accountant or a lawyer.


7. Inform the VAT department that you will Start A Business


Another requirement to start a business in Malta is registering with the VAT department. When doing this there are 3 important thresholds to keep in mind. If you are foreseeing a turnover of not more than €7,000 in a year period (January – December) then you are not obliged to register or charge VAT.


For businesses which expect a turnover of between €7,001 to between €14,000 and €35,000, depending on the business, registration is optional, though I would recommend it. In this case the business would not charge VAT either. For turnover values above this figure VAT would need to be charged. More information about VAT requirements can be found on the department’s website. Obtaining a VAT number is free and the process is extremely fast.


8. Obtain a PE Number


This step can be skipped if you are self-employed and do not intend to employ any employees. If, however you have a limited liability company, you are automatically working for the company, therefore you are an employee. In such a case and in cases where you intend to have employees then you need to carry out this step.


To obtain a PE number you need to fill in a form online by the Inland Revenue Department. This process normally takes around 3 days and is also free of charge.


9. Register with the ETC


The Employment and Training Centre (ETC) is responsible for all employment registration in Malta. Irrespective of whether you will start a business as a self-employed person or a limited liability company, you need to fill in a form for each employee. Forms needs to be filled in upon registration and again upon termination of each employee. The process is quick and free of charge.


10. Data Protection Registration


This step only applies for businesses that will be collecting personal details of their prospective or existing customers. In recent years Malta has caught up with the rest of Europe in providing safety to people’s information. It is important that when you start a business you create certain safety processes to ensure that customer’s details cannot be stolen by third parties. More information on Data Protection in Malta can be found on their website.


You might have other questions of uncertainties when you start a business in Malta. The government has set up a department, Business First, which can handle almost all of these steps for you. If you have any further questions you can contact them via email.


Please leave a comment below if you have found this information to start a business in Malta useful.

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The FUN Entrepreneur

Having started my first business at the age of 16 I was always eager to dive into the exciting world of entrepreneurship, but seeing so many others fail I sought ways to succeed, not only by making money, but also by having fun whilst doing it!

14 thoughts on “How To Start A Business In Malta In 10 Steps

  • June 11, 2016 at 9:00 pm

    Please let me know if you’re looking for a article writer for your blog. You have some really good posts and I think I would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d absolutely love to write some material for your blog in exchange for a link back to mine. Please send me an e-mail if interested. Kudos!

  • July 25, 2016 at 10:22 am

    You’re so cool! I have been looking for advice on setting up a business in Malta for ages. It feels so good to locate somebody with helpful ideas on this topic, and not trying to sell you services! Seriously.. many thanks for starting this up. This site is one thing that’s needed online, someone with a certain amount of originality with a local perspective!

    • July 27, 2016 at 1:11 pm

      Thanks Simon for your comment. Indeed there is a lot of advice on opening a business abroad, but not much easily accessible advice for setting up in Malta. The Fun Entrepreneur will help change this. Be sure to subscribe to receive immediate updates on new articles which will be of interest to you. Have a great day! 🙂

  • August 3, 2016 at 6:38 am

    I’m getting many ideas after reading your post, thank you.

    • August 8, 2016 at 2:18 pm

      With the new incentives for businesses in Malta now really is a great time to start a business on the Island.

  • August 16, 2016 at 6:24 pm

    Wow, this post is good, my sister is thinking of starting a business here so I am going to share it with her. Thanks!

    • August 19, 2016 at 11:44 am

      I wish your sister luck Mark, let her know she can subscribe to our site to get new articles straight in her inbox. Thanks.

  • September 4, 2016 at 11:47 am

    Thanks for this really useful guide and the link for Business First. I am setting up a business here after having moved from Australia. Looking forward to more articles on business in Malta.

    • September 4, 2016 at 12:11 pm

      You’re most welcome, Jean. Be sure to subscribe for more articles directly to your inbox. Malta Enterprise’s assistance department, Business First, is very helpful and can help you get started with comfort. Good Luck.

  • September 15, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    bookmarked!!, I love your web site!

  • September 17, 2016 at 5:37 am

    Great post. I’m setting up a business in Malta at the moment so found great information.

    • September 22, 2016 at 2:03 pm

      You’re welcome, Trevor. Be sure to subscribe to The Fun Entrepreneur as you will receive great grants and other support measures which are available to you when you set up a business in Malta.


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