We are a very focused accounting firm – working exclusively with internationally operating clients.
Our primary focus is on foreign investors dealing with Malta, whether it be direct investment (FDI), employing just one person in Malta, or exporting or selling on-line in Europe through Malta.
These scenarios involve an array of tax, legal and other challenges that most professional advisers do not deal with.
To this niche client base we offer a comprehensive range of services from high-level tax consulting to basic bookkeeping, to setting up entities and assisting expats in relocating to Malta.
Our team comprises of a mix of Maltese and other nationalities with different professional backgrounds. The fact that our official company language is English reflects our focus on foreign businesses with interests in Malta.
Between us we speak a number of other languages including Maltese, French, Italian and Arabic.
Accounting and related
Providing the full range of accounting services to foreign-based businesses’ Maltese units is our daily bread and butter. Our language skills, knowledge of non-Maltese accounting software, familiarity with relevant aspects in many head office countries, familiarity with what foreigners find odd about Maltese accounting and related areas equips us extremely well in serving our clients.
Our systems and procedures ensure that the matter at hand is not dependent on the availability of a particular person – we work as a team.
We also work in a way that enables us to easily avail of the resources in any of the other Sheltons Group offices should the need arises.
We prepare accounts from source documents, or on the basis of preliminary work from the client, taking Maltese rules and the foreign client’s wishes into account.
We use a variety of accounting software packages.
We prepare statutory (legally required) accounts – as well as regular management accounts, with or without reports, analyses, etc.
We also prepare special-purpose accounts (such as pro forma accounts) and consolidated accounts.
Our services include reviewing client-prepared accounts and supporting the client’s internal accounting team, as appropriate.
We have experts in IFRS and have a good knowledge of the GAAP of a number of countries.
- Audit assistance
An important role is to liaise with the Maltese auditors of the client’s Maltese company. We have clear systems for preparing material to facilitate efficient audits in Malta.
We can often satisfy all questions from the auditors or at least significantly reduce the time demands on the client.
We very regularly liaise with the auditors of other parts of the group.
As a completely independent firm, we are not a member of any accounting network, resulting in a comfortable relationship with the auditors of the non-Maltese parts of the group who will usually be in such a network.
- VAT services
See also under VAT advice
We assist with all aspects of VAT compliance, from registration to setting up routines with the clients to ensure comfortable meeting of filing deadlines and the preparation and filing of VAT returns.
- Salary administration
Apart from advising employers and employees on the Maltese and international tax aspects of employment (see under Local tax advice and compliance), we provide efficient payroll administration services.
Many of our client cases involve employers based in other countries, directly employing staff in Malta.
The employees may well be Maltese residents or non-residents in Malta for shorter or longer assignments, and may be in Malta under the special qualifying employment regime, the residence program or simply qualify as non-domiciled residents..
Providing payroll administration services for foreign businesses, or Maltese units thereof, often involves extensive interaction with the foreign part of the group. We pride ourselves in our ability to understand the needs of the foreign parts of the group and in our flexibility in providing the services.
Our broad range of services includes matters such as
- Employer registration
- Drafting and review of employment contracts
- Visa assistance
- Generation of payslips
- Filing regular PAYE (FSS) returns
- Assistance with payment (net salaries, tax, etc)
- Annual administration (reports to the tax authorities, the employer and the employees)
Apart from providing advice on employer obligations, we also provide comprehensive tax advice and expat relocation services.
Local tax advice and compliance
We are widely recognised as being leading professionals in the area of Maltese and international tax advice. Our origins in this regard goes back the late 1980’s where Ned Shelton founded the specialist international consulting division of Crowe Horwath in the Netherlands (then known as Horwath International) being then and still now the 10th largest accounting network in the world, followed by Ned’s return to Malta and commencing the Sheltons office in 1995.
Although Sheltons has branched out and is now a specialist accounting firm (working only with internationally operating businesses), tax is still a strong string to our bow.
See also SITTI and International tax advice
Our compliance services covers areas such as personal and company tax return preparation and reviewing assessment notices; obtaining tax residence certificates, obtaining tax clearance certificates, administration of payroll taxes and national insurance contribution, administration of stamp duty and customs, VAT return preparation, registration of shareholders for refunds and procedures for requesting such refunds.
- Corporate tax
Our services on corporate tax cover a wide range. Some key areas on which we commonly advise are as follows:
- Maltese TIN number
- Corporate tax generally
- Tax efficient ecommerce and trading
- Deductibility of interest
- Determination of residency
- Obtaining tax rulings
- Legal entity selection
- Tax consolidation
- Tax efficient financing
- Tax treatment of partnerships
- The application of anti-avoidance rules
- Maltese Transfer pricing
- Treatment of foreign exchange gains and losses
See also under Tax compliance, Maltese international tax and International tax
- Personal tax – including Maltese international tax
Our personal tax services cover a wide range. Some key areas on which we commonly provide advice are as follows:
- Inheritance and gift taxes
- Residency issues
- Global residence program and other residence schemes
- Malta retirement schemes including the united nations pensions program
- Returning migrants
- Salary packaging and fringe benefits
- Structuring local investments
- Tax issues connected with pensions (and superannuation)
- Tax planning
- Taxation of Maltese-sourced investment income
- Taxation of foreign-sourced investment income
- Taxation of expats coming to Malta
- Taxation on departing Malta
- Taxation on residents working abroad
- Trusts – Maltese and foreign
See also under Corporate tax, Maltese international tax and International tax
- Maltese international tax – corporate
Our services in the area of Maltese international tax cover a wide range. Some key areas on which we commonly provide advice are as follows:
- Beneficial ownership under treaties
- Impact of Controlled foreign company (CFC) rules
- Determination of the profits attributable to a permanent establishment – in Malta and abroad
- Existence – or not – of a permanent establishment in Malta
- Existence of permanent establishment abroad
- Interest & Royalties Directive
- Management and control
- Other EU tax aspects
- Parent-Subsidiary Directive issues
- Planning for foreign investment income
- Reducing Maltese and foreign withholding taxes
- Residency under tax treaties
- Structuring investments abroad
- Relief for tax paid abroad
- Fixed rate foreign tax credit matters
- Tax treaty application
- Tax treaty interpretation
- Taxation of foreign real estate owned by Maltese taxpayers
- Transfer of residency to and from Malta
- Withholding tax issues on payments to Malta
- Withholding tax refunds
See also under Corporate tax, Personal tax – including Maltese international tax and International tax
- VAT advice
VAT issues on intra community supplies and acquisitions
Disputes with the tax authorities
Eligibility for registration
Liability to VAT in Malta
VAT on services
VAT in ecommerce
VAT issues generally
See also under VAT Service and International tax
Entity set-up and management
Working exclusively with internationally operating businesses over more than two decades has resulted in us played a leading role in the formation of several hundred entities – companies, general and limited partnership, trust and other entities – in many countries throughout the world.
During our many years’ of experience in establishing Maltese companies and partnerships for foreign-based businesses, we have developed and fine-tuned our systems and procedures, enabling us to provide efficient and reliable services in this regard.
Our extensive international experience built up over the past two decades means we are often quite familiar with the shareholders’ jurisdictions and the shareholding entity – whether it be a Delaware LLC, a German GmbH, an Indian Pvt Ltd, a Brazilian Limitada, a UK LLP, a Dutch closed CV, etc. etc.
Before setting up the company or other entity we are almost always consulted as regard the selection of the right legal form as well as on the relevant business tax conservations of each legal form.
When we set up a company or other entity for a client are almost always asked to attend to all necessary (regular) registrations as well as the setting up of a bank account, obtaining credit cards, etc. Often we also assist with obtaining merchant facilities for the company in order to receive credit card payments.
Apart from our expertise in establishing new entities we are also very experienced in the field of liquidations and winding up. We regularly assist in this in cases where the entity is solvent and a registered liquidator is not legally required to be involved.
See model below.
This is the public company form, requiring at least two shareholders and a minimum share capital of EUR 46,587.47, which needs to be at least 25% paid up (i.e. EUR 11,647). It is similar to the German AG, the UK PLC, the Australian Limited, the Dutch NV, etc.
Maltese-owned companies are in sometimes in this form, mainly for prestige reasons. Almost no foreign-based groups use this form for their Maltese subsidiaries.
It is a ‘per se’ corporation for US check-the-box rules. The plc can be listed on the Maltese stock exchange (whereas the other business forms dealt with here cannot be).
See model below.
This is the normal private company form, requiring only one director and a minimum share capital of EUR 1,164.69, which needs to be at least 20% paid up (i.e. EUR 233). It is similar to the German GmbH, UK Limited, the French Sarl, the Australian Pty Ltd, etc.
Almost all foreign-based groups use this form for their Maltese subsidiaries.
- LP (en commandite)
See model below.
This is a limited partnership. It is a legal person and can also have ownership divided into shares (not a common feature in common law jurisdictions). It is transparent for tax purposes in Malta, however it can elect to be treated as a company for tax purposes in Malta, similarly to the US. It is not governed by the companies Act but by a separate legislation.
- GP (en nom collectif)
Currently being updated
See model below.
This can be both a private (Ltd) or a public (plc) limited liability company, but where the share capital is variable. This entity is used for collective investment schemes. It is not governed by the companies Act but by a separate legislation.
See model below.
This is a European company. Due to Malta being part of the European Union, the SE form is available. It is a legal person and follows the same rules as those applicable to Public companies (Plc) with few exceptions. It is taxed as a company.
See model below.
This is a European partnership. Due to Malta being part of the European Union, the EEIG form is available. It is similar to a general partnership, is a legal person and is transparent for Maltese tax purposes.
- Liquidations / winding up
The process of ending the existence of a Maltese company is relatively simple where there are no unpaid creditors. In such cases there is a requirement that a registered liquidator be involved the process may take over 6 months.
Domiciliation (director, registered office, etc)
When a foreign-based business establishes a Maltese company, there will always be a period until the new company has its own premises and own senior staff in Malta.
We provide not only the registered office but if the client wishes we can arrange for the appointment of a local director.
Even when the entity has its own premises in Malta the client often prefers that we continue to provide the registered office in order to ensure that important mail, often of legal importance, is handled professionally and with the appropriate degree of confidentiality.
Maltese companies require the appointment of a physical person as a ‘company secretary’. Unlike other jurisdictions (such as the UK and Australia) it is not possible to waive this requirement and only natural persons may hold the office of company secretary.
We can arrange for the appointment of a Maltese resident professional company secretary.
The role of the company secretary is that of ensuring good governance and compliance with the Companies Act.
Although the individual does not necessarily need to be resident in Malta and does not need to have any minimum academic or professional requirement, it is the responsibility of the directors to ensure that the company secretary appears to have the requisite knowledge and experience to carry out this role.
Our services cover attending to all shareholder and directors meeting and resolutions without a meeting, keeping of registers such as the shareholder registers and filing all required forms and documents with the Maltese registrar of companies (the ROC).
We have well-developed systems and procedures for this and wherever legally possible we ensure that everything is in English, for the benefit of our foreign-based shareholders / clients.
Our two decades of experience in forming and administering entities has resulted in the development of extensive knowledge, systems, models and routines in this regard.
Relocation of expats
Relocation of expats
As a consequence of our focus on internationally operating businesses, and especially those based abroad doing business in Malta, and as a result of our close involvement with the incoming employees – with regard to tax matters, visas, registrations with the authorities and the like, it was not a major step to formally offer relocation services.
To make the decision even more obvious, Ned Sheltons himself was originally an expat – coming from Arthur Andersen in Australia to Denmark to take up a position in the head office of Danske Bank, and further, currently we have senior staff in the offices of Sheltons Denmark who are themselves expats. To top it off, we have staff at Sheltons Denmark who have a background in relocation.
So since early 2016 we have offered expat relocation services. We formed a separate company to provide these services but it is very much part of Sheltons Denmark – the offices is shared, the team is shared and facilities are shared.
The services we deliver include assistance in each of the following areas.
Arranging for a temporary, furnished apartment
Bank account opening
Finding a job for the partner or “trailing spouse”
Importing a (used) car
Language courses – recommending, arranging
Obtaining a Danish driver’s licence
Preparing a move-in report
Removals – transport
Subscriptions for telephone, internet, TV, Netflix, etc
Tax advice – employer
Tax advice – expat
International tax services
To learn about our International Tax Services please click here