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, Danish, Polish, French and Italian.
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, analysis, etc.
We also prepare special-purpose accounts (such as pro forma accounts) and consolidated accounts.
We also have a wealth of experience in preparing and report group reporting packages for the purpose of group consolidation.
Our services include reviewing client-prepared accounts and supporting the client’s internal accounting team, as appropriate.
We have experts in IFRS and have good knowledge of the GAAP throughout 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 in advance, or at least significantly reduce the time and 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 also provide efficient payroll administration services.
Many of our client cases involve employers based in other countries, directly or indirectly 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 programme or who 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 part 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 specialists in Maltese tax are highly regarded professionals, often speak at local tax conferences and teach on some of the most prestigious tax programmes on the island.
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
Some key areas on which we commonly advise are as follows:
- Tax efficient ecommerce and trading
- Deductibility of interest
- Determination of residency
- Corporate tax generally
- 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
Some key areas on which we commonly provide advice are as follows:
- Inheritance and gift taxes
- Residency issues
- Global residence programme 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
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
The following are some areas on which we commonly provide advice on VAT matters:
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 for more than two decades has resulted in our team playing 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.
Before setting up the company or any other entity we are almost always consulted as regard to 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 any other entity for a client are almost always asked to attend to all necessary (regular) registrations as well as to assist with 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.
This is the public company form, requiring at least two shareholders and a minimum share capital of EUR 46,587.47, of which at least 25% needs to be 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).
This is the normal private company form, requiring only one director and a minimum share capital of EUR 1,164.69, of which 20% must be paid up (i.e. EUR 233) prior to incorporation. 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)
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 Maltese tax purposes. It is governed by the Companies Act.
- GP (en nom collectif)
A Partnership en nom collectif is formed by two or more members, however, its obligations are guaranteed by the unlimited joint and several liability of all its members.
The registered address of the Partnership must be situated in Malta and if conditions are met, there is no requirements for audited accounts to be prepared.
This can be both a private (Ltd) or a public (plc) limited liability company, but with the difference that the share capital is variable. This entity is used for collective investment schemes.
This is a European company. Since Malta forms 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.
This is a European partnership. Since Malta forms part of the European Union, the EEIG form is available. It is similar to a general partnership, it is a legal person and is transparent for Maltese tax purposes.
A foreign company can register a branch in Malta. Registering a branch entails the appointment of a local representative who must be an individual resident in Malta.
Foreign companies that have a branch registered in Malta need to abide to the same rules in Malta as those applicable to the respective legal form. A foreign company would need to file audited financial statements of the branch in Malta on a yearly basis.
A trust owns assets for the benefit of another person. It binds the trustee to deal with property to which they have control over as per the terms of the trust.
Foundations are legal persons able to hold assets for the benefit of its beneficiaries. They have no legal owners and would not be affected by the death or insolvency of any beneficiary. The foundation must have a local administrator who must be licensed to act as such.
- Cell Companies
Cell Companies are companies which are able to separate their assets and liabilities in separate cells within the company itself. Each cell is protected in terms of law from the other, and the bankruptcy of one cell does not have any impact on any other cell.
These Cell Companies are only allowed to operate in the insurance and the securitisation businesses.
- Liquidations / winding up
The process of ending the existence of a Maltese company in the instance where there are no unpaid creditors, is relatively simple although it can be very time consuming. In such cases, the liquidation process may take over six (6) months.
Domiciliation (director, registered office, etc)
When a foreign-based business establishes a Maltese company, it has to recognise that 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 also arrange for the appointment of a local director, either as a natural person or even as a corporate entity.
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 natural person to hold office as a ‘company secretary’, unlike other jurisdictions (such as the UK and Australia) it is not possible to waive this requirement.
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 covering this appointment include: attending to all shareholder and directors meetings, preparing all necessary resolutions, updating of registers such as the shareholder and director registers and filing all required forms and documents with the Maltese registrar of companies (the ROC).
Any documentation submitted to any authority here in Malta needs to be drawn up in English. However, should the client request that he documents are also provided in his native language which is other than English, we are able to obtain translations accordingly.
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
As a consequence of our focus on internationally operating businesses, especially to those businesses based abroad and doing business in Malta, and as a result of our close involvement with their incoming employees – with regard to tax matters, visas, registrations with the authorities and the like, it was not a difficult decision to take to formally offer relocation services.
Many of our staff, including our senior staff are either expats themselves or have been living outside of Malta for many years.
So since early 2016 we have been offering expat relocation services in Malta.
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 driver’s licence
Preparing a move-in report
Removals – transport
Subscriptions for telephone, internet, TV, etc.
Tax advice – employer
Tax advice – expat
In addition to the above, we also provide a variety of other services such as:
Application for residency in Malta
Redomiciliation into Malta
Domain name registration & advice
Premises – finding offices, warehouses, etc.
International tax services
To learn about our International Tax Services please click here