Serbia: Premier Choice for Investors and Entrepreneurs in 2024

Explore the advantages of establishing a business in Serbia, a rising star for global investors in 2024.

As of 2024, Serbia is quickly turning into a top choice for investors from around the world. It’s well-placed as a key business center in South East Europe. People in Serbia enjoy a lifestyle that’s on par with the rest of the continent, and business owners have a lot of freedom to run their companies. The Serbian government is supportive of foreign investors. They offer great deals like tax savings and other special perks.

While there are numerous reasons to establish a company in Serbia, which are covered in other articles on this website, right here and now, we’re going to talk about what it’s like to own a company in Serbia.

Quick and easy business formation in Serbia

Starting a business in Serbia is really easy. The country is financially stable, has modern online banking, and is friendly to people investing from other countries. The procedure of company registration and сorporate bank account setup only takes a few days here. Your physical presence in Serbia isn’t required to do it. A power of attorney assigned to a local representative is sufficient to handle all formalities with the Serbian Companies Registry and the bank.

In Serbia, the most basic form of business ownership is the sole proprietorship, known locally as preduzetnik. Similar to other countries, the sole proprietor assumes complete accountability for the business’s activities. This type of ownership may restrict growth potential and offer less flexibility though. Registering as a sole proprietor could be advantageous if you plan to conduct a niche business in Serbia that predominantly relies on your individual contribution.

Serbian partnerships fall into two distinct types:

  1. Serbian General Partnership (о.d.): This form of partnership allows both individuals and legal entities to become partners. It requires at least two members, without it being necessary for them to be Serbian citizens or residents. There’s no minimum capital requirement to form a General Partnership. However, all partners share unlimited liability for the business’s obligations. Adding new partners is subject to the unanimous agreement of the current partners.
  2. Serbian Limited Partnership (k.d.): Unlike the General Partnership, the Limited Partnership introduces limited liability for certain partners. It consists of one or more General Partners with unlimited liability and one or more Limited Partners whose liability is confined to their capital contributions. The General Partner manages the partnership and acts as its legal representative, while the Limited Partners typically do not participate in management.

Public vs. private companies in Serbia: which structure is right for you?

The preferred choice for business ownership in Serbia is the private limited liability company, commonly referred to as d.o.o.

A d.o.o. can be established by one or more shareholders, either individuals or companies. They may or may not reside in Serbia.

The shareholder count for a d.o.o. is capped at 100. Should the need arise for additional shareholders, the company must transition to a public company status.

In Serbia, a private limited liability company, or d.o.o., may issue registered shares exclusively. These shares are non-transferable and cannot be sold to others without the approval of the company’s stakeholders.

The company’s operations are overseen by one or more directors. It is not mandatory for the directors to be legal residents of Serbia. They have complete control and are fully accountable for the company’s management.

If you’re looking to start a big business in Serbia, a public limited liability company, or a.d. for short, is a suitable choice.

The registration process for an a.d. is akin to that of a d.o.o. An a.d. in Serbia must have a minimum capital of EUR 25,000, with at least 50% paid at the time of company establishment. The remaining capital must be contributed within the first two years. Founders are required to provide a written agreement for the stipulated capital amount.

In contrast to a d.o.o., an a.d. may have an unlimited number of shareholders.

A public limited liability company in Serbia (a.d.) is permitted to issue shares that can be traded freely. These companies may qualify for listing on the Belgrade Stock Exchange or even on international stock exchanges, provided they fulfill all necessary criteria.

The governance of an a.d. is entrusted to a Board of Directors, whose members are chosen during the General Shareholders’ Meeting. The board must comprise at least three but no more than fifteen directors, with the company’s Articles of Association declaring the precise number.

Directors of a Serbian a.d. are not obliged to hold shares in the company unless it is stipulated in the Articles. There are also no specific requirements regarding the nationality or residency of the directors.

Compliance checklist for Serbian companies

Regardless of the type of company you establish in Serbia, certain obligations must be fulfilled by all businesses registered in the country.

A mandatory requirement is to have a registered office address. Those not residing in Serbia can lease a registered office in a prestigious area of Belgrade, with prices starting at approximately EUR 1200 per annum.

Serbian companies must maintain accurate financial records, as is the standard globally. This necessitates the engagement of accounting services. Accountants typically charge a fixed monthly rate starting at EUR 100, which includes bookkeeping and the annual financial statement. Should you employ staff, the accountant will also manage payroll taxes, pension fund contributions, and social security payments.

Start and manage your business in Serbia with SerbiaWealth

At SerbiaWealth, we will help you start a new company or set up a branch of your current business in Serbia, even if your firm is based in another country. Plus, we will certainly help you open a bank account in the jurisdiction and get all the paperwork ready. Our office in Belgrade also offers services to keep your company running smoothly under local laws.