BUSINESS IN ESTONIA

1.How does Estonia’s economy compare internationally?

Numerous international organizations have recognized Estonia as having a thriving, open, and competitive economy. Estonia has been ranked:

  • 1st in the International Tax Competitiveness Index – OECD
  • 1st in Entrepreneurship – World Economic Forum
  • 1st in Digital Economy and Society Index – European Commission EU
  • 2nd in Internet Freedom – Freedom House 2015
  • 8th in the Index of Economic Freedom 2015 – Wall Street Journal/The Heritage Foundation
  • 16th in Ease of Doing Business Report 2016 – World Bank
  • 23rd in the Corruption Perceptions Index 2015 – Transparency International
  • 30th in the Global Competitiveness Report 2015-2016 – World Economic Forum

Estonia offers highly-competitive international credit ratings:

  • Standard & Poor: AA-
  • Moody’s: A1
  • Fitch IBCA: A+

2.Is founding a business really as easy as it seems?

Yes and no. While Estonia makes it easier than almost anywhere else, there are a couple issues commonly faced:

  • Registration of a company still involves legal questions and fine print that you may miss at first glance. Without any previous experience or professional assistance, there can still be some challenges and frustrations. This is where we come in.
  • Opening a bank account without any formal links to Estonia can be challenging – and without an Estonian bank account, a business doesn’t have much use. Fortunately, we can help.

3.Is Estonia really tax-free?

No. Income tax is flat 20%, and VAT is 20%. But corporate income tax is only applied to dividends, meaning reinvested corporate profits are tax-free. Fringe benefits are taxed in the same way as salaries. Read more about Estonian taxes here.

4.Do I really need a service provider? Can’t I do this by myself?

Most entrepreneurs elect to partner with an experienced service provider for three reasons:

  1. To avoid or help resolve issues due to lack of experience with Estonian companies and the Estonian government.
  2. To receive support during the application and set-up process. For example, if there are any problems in opening a bank account, this could prevent you from needing to be physically present in Estonia.
  3. To receive tax and accounting support on an ongoing basis after your company is established.

5.How many companies have been founded by e-Residents in Estonia?

Thousands. For the most current figure, click here.

6.Can I visit Estonia?

Absolutely! Read more about travel opportunities here.

7.What if I have other questions about starting a business?

The answers to most commonly-asked questions can be found here. And when in doubt, you can always get in touch.

E-RESIDENCY

1.What is e-Residency?

e-Residency is a secure, government-issued digital identity that provides access to Estonian e-services.

2.Why become an e-Resident?

e-Residency provides access to the EU business environment from anywhere in the world. e‐Residents are granted access to secure e‐services, such as digital authentication, digital signatures, and the ability to start a company.

3.Who can be an e-Resident?

e-Residency is available to anybody in the world.

4.What can I do with e-Residency?

e-Residents can:

  1. Found and manage a location-independent online company
  2. Apply for a business bank account and credit card
  3. Securely manage banking online
  4. Access international payment systems (PayPal, Transferwise, etc.)
  5. Digitally sign, encrypt, and/or transmit documents
  6. Use Estonia’s e-services (see the state portal at eesti.ee)
  7. Provide reports to the Estonian Tax and Customs Board and E-Business Register
  8. Declare Estonian taxes online

5.What can’t I do with e-Residency?

e‐Residency does not provide citizenship, tax residency, a residence permit, or the right to enter Estonia.

6.How do I prove I am an e-Resident of Estonia?

All e-Residents receive a digital ID card to prove e-Residency.

7.Is the e-Resident ID card secure?

Yes. The smart ID card is protected by two unique PIN numbers for secure digital authentication and transmission of digital signatures.

8.Can I use my e-Resident card like a passport?

No. The e-Resident ID card is not a travel document and does not display your photo.

9.How many people have already applied for Estonian e-Residency?

Tens of thousands – and the number continues to grow.

10.Who has already applied for e-Residency?

So far, individuals from over 100 countries have applied to be an e-Resident within Estonia. Find out more here.

11.How can I become an e-Resident?

There are a few steps involved, but we can help. Click here to learn more.

12.What if I have other questions about e-Residency?

The answers to most commonly-asked questions can be found here. And feel free to contact us.

DIGITAL SIGNATURES

1.What is a digital signature?

A digital signature is an electronic marker which has the same legal merit as a traditional signature and/or face-to-face identification.

2.How do I provide a digital signature?

A digital signature can be provided by connecting your ID card to your computer with a ID card reader and running the free DigiDoc3 secure ID card software.

3.Where can I get an ID card reader?

You can buy an ID card reader here: https://www.pluss-id.com

4.Where can I download the necessary software?

You can download DigiDoc3 software for free: https://installer.id.ee/

5.Can I provide a digital signature without an ID card?

No. Your secure chip-enabled ID card is what allows you to prove your identity and digitally sign forms and documents.

6.Do I need to be present to offer a digital signature?

No. With a digital signature, you can legally sign forms and documents from anywhere in the world – without ever having to be physically present.

7.Where can I go for technical assistance?

Most solutions can be found on the ID card help page. For further support, you can contact us.