The Principality of Liechtenstein is a small, landlocked country in Europe. Bordered by Switzerland to the west and south, and Austria to the east and north, it is one of the smallest countries in the EEA. Whilst the country may be small, it makes up for it with one of the highest gross domestic products per person in the world and is well known as a centre of excellence for its financial services industry.
As well as banking services, the country is well known for insurance, asset management, and fund management industries and the sector employs over 5000 people, or 17% of the population!
Due to its EEA membership, it enjoys the same rules and benefits as other EU countries and its national laws ensure compliance to the highest standards. Its financial services industry is one of the most competitive in the world.
So why should you do business there? Read on to find out more.
There are a few different types of company available for those that want to set up in Liechtenstein. The most popular of these is the limited liability company (or GmbH) or you can opt for a public company which is limited by shares, otherwise known as AG. Foundations are popular due to tax benefits as are trusts, but you can also have an establishment, which is a business form unique to Liechtenstein.
A limited liability company can be set up in just over a week but must have a minimum capital share of EUR 30,000. It can be used for both commercial and non-commercial activities, must have a local registered office, and a board of directors. An AG company has a minimum share capital of EUR 50,000.
Both AG and GmbH companies pay corporate tax at 12.5%, whilst a foundation also requires the holder to pay a net assets tax of 2.5%. If your company will have an annual turnover of more than EUR 100,000 then you must also register for VAT, and with social services if you intend on hiring personnel. There is also no withholding tax required on dividends that are paid to a foreign company.
How to go about it?
The process is quite straightforward and as long as all of your documents are in order, it shouldn’t take more than 10 days. For those not familiar with the country, or the language, it is advisable to use a company such as Fast Offshore to ensure that you have all of the documents you need and that they are submitted correctly.
You will need ID papers for all shareholders and directors, proof of registered address, a copy of the memorandum and articles of association, details of the company’s management, as well as evidence that the share capital was deposited in a Liechtenstein bank. You are also required to appoint a director who is a resident in the country.
Crypto in Liechtenstein
Whilst the country has been historically unfriendly to iGaming, this is not the case with other technologies. Over the last 18 months, a raft of developments have taken place in the country and both regulators and banks have started to embrace crypto and its associated industries. The government is openly supportive towards blockchain and digital currencies and just this month announced the passing of a new blockchain, virtual asset service provider, and tokenisation regulation. The new law will regulate “transaction systems based on trust technologies” and it is hoped that it will create a regulatory environment which will both counter risks and provide regulatory certainty whilst developing a new, token economy.
To find out more about setting up a company in Liechtenstein, contact a member of our team at Fast Offshore who will be able to guide you with advice and assistance.