Running a Estonian Company as remote (Taxes)

What are the corporate taxes I need to pay in Estonia?

Estonian company formation : If you have an Estonian company, then accountant will assume that the company is an Estonian tax resident. If you don’t take any money out from your company, you don’t need to pay any taxes from your income. You can keep the earned money on your company’s account indefinitely and you won’t be taxed on it. You only need to start paying taxes when you start taking money out from the company, meaning paying yourself a salary or take out dividends.

If you (as an individual) are a tax resident outside Estonia and you own and run a company which is a tax resident in Estonia, there are 3 options for receiving funds from your company:

  • receive dividends (the corporate income tax rate is 20%, calculated as 20/80 from your taxable net payment, if you keep this money in your company e.g. reinvest, then no taxes apply)

  • receive management board member salary (you would need to pay 20% personal income tax + 33% Estonian social tax)

  • receive employee salary (not taxed in Estonia, you would need to pay social taxes in your country of residence)

According to the existing law in Estonia, there’s no obligation to pay any management board member salary, employee salary or take dividends. It’s up to you how you combine them, taking into account your actual contribution to the business activities:

  • keep all the money in the company and reinvest to boost your business or

  • receive dividends + board member salary or

  • receive dividends + board member salary + employee salary

Regarding the salary and taxes, to clarify, you cannot just pay an employee salary without paying a board member salary as well. As indicated in the guidelines, there’s no need to pay a board member salary as long as you don’t pay an employee salary either. But if you need to start paying out any salary, you’re required to pay a board member salary first, and an employee salary alongside this if you wish.

Usually, people split the board member and employee salary with a 30/70 ratio. Our recommendation for the board member salary is minimum €250 net per month. You could keep the 30/70 ratio, but if the total sums paid as a salary exceed €2 000 per month, a lower proportion as the board member salary could be justified.

Regarding the nature of the latter functions, the board member salary can be stable
(€400-500 per month for instance), while the employee part can fluctuate, depending on the actual workload and revenues. Please also note that LeapIN unfortunately cannot help you with your personal taxes in your country of residence, and you’ll need to take care of that on your own.

What about the company’s tax-residency and double taxation?

Your accountant currently assumes that your Estonian company will be an Estonian tax resident and will provide you with the necessary tax compliance and reporting in Estonia.

Typically the tax residency of a legal entity is determined by taking into account the incorporation address, the location of actual business processes, customers, and value creation, and the location of its management. The final decision then depends on the local tax rules in all the locations mentioned.

The motivation to change the tax residency of the company can only come from external parties (your country of residence in your case). In case this issue arises, the external party has to prove their point during negotiations with Estonian authorities, taking into account the double taxation avoidance agreements in place. As a result, the company could also become a tax resident in both locations.

To facilitate the process, in many cases countries have agreed on double taxation avoidance agreements, which specify mutually respected rules on how to classify a legal entity from a tax perspective. The countries that Estonia has contracts with for avoiding double taxation are listed on the Tax and Customs Board website.

If during the lifetime of the company, it turns out that your company will be a tax resident in your home country (e.g. Germany), then the tax reporting and compliance in your home country will be your responsibility. Unfortunately, at this time, your accountant is not able to support you with tax compliance and reporting in your home country. You need to consult a tax expert in your country for that.

What is the tax rate on salaries?

Board member salary

If you pay yourself a board member salary from your Estonian company, there are 2 types of taxes involved – personal income tax and social tax. However, the relevant tax rates and the destination for payments depend on where you operate:

  1. If you operate in Estonia, the relevant personal income tax (20%), local pension insurance (2%), and social tax (33%) are declared and paid in Estonia, according to the Estonian rules and regulations. For example, if you receive €100 net, almost €69 on top of it are paid in taxes in Estonia.

  2. If you operate as a so-called digital nomad without a permanent location, both the relevant personal income tax (20%) and social tax (33%) are declared and paid in Estonia, according to the Estonian rules and regulations. So, if you receive €100 net, almost €66 on top of it are paid in taxes in Estonia.

  3. If you operate outside the European Economic Area, excluding Australia, Canada, Switzerland and Ukraine, both the relevant personal income tax (20%) and social tax (33%) are declared and paid in Estonia, according to the Estonian rules and regulations.

  4. And if you operate in 1 country within the European Economic Area (outside Estonia), or in Australia, Canada, Switzerland or Ukraine, the relevant personal income tax (20%) is paid in Estonia, according to the Estonian rules and regulations. In contrast, the relevant social tax is declared and paid in the country where you operate, following the local rules and regulations, and granting the social benefits there as well. So, if you receive €100 net, €25 on top of it are paid in taxes in Estonia, but the sum of the applicable social tax depends on where exactly you operate.

The personal income tax on a board member salary is declared and paid in Estonia, independent of whether the actual duties were performed in Estonia or abroad. Double taxation can be avoided by the relevant agreements between Estonia and your country of residence (see the list of countries here). Yet, your actual location of operations does matter for the social tax.

Regarding Cases 1, 2, and 3 – LeapIN handles all the tax reporting, and assists with the actual tax payments in Estonia.

Regarding Case 4 – while LeapIN handles the tax reporting for the personal income tax in Estonia, we can’t currently assist you with the social tax declarations or payments in the mentioned countries. Please contact the local authorities in the country to learn about the social tax rules and the procedures for declaring and making the payments properly. In parallel, we’re in the process of collecting the relevant knowledge ourselves, but it takes time, and due to the complex nature of the task we can’t promise a specific deadline yet.

Employee salary

By default, all salary payments you receive from your own company are considered as a board member salary. If you have sufficient grounds and decide to register some of the salary as an employee salary, you can. But please keep in mind that if you decide to pay yourself an employee salary, you must also pay a board member salary. This can’t be €0 or even a very small figure compared to the sums paid as an employee salary.

If you perform all your work outside Estonia (and are treated as a non-resident in Estonia), no personal income tax nor social tax are paid on employee salary in Estonia. In that case, you’re responsible for paying taxes in the country where you are a tax resident as an individual person. In case of interest, you need to be able to prove to Estonian authorities that the real work was performed outside of Estonia.

What is the tax rate on dividends?

Estonian policies on company income tax are quite unique. Company income tax (CIT) is charged on distributed profits (dividends) only and not on the company’s income.

Distributed profits are generally subject to a flat 20% CIT at 20/80 of the net amount of profit distribution. For example, a company that has profits of €100 available for distribution must pay CIT of €20. Therefore, the owner receives €80.

Am I eligible for retirement fund (state pension) if I pay my social tax in Estonia?

No. The state pension in Estonia is regulated by the State Pension Insurance Act. By law, state pension payments are received by:

  • permanent residents of Estonia;

  • aliens residing in Estonia on the basis of temporary residence permits or temporary right of residence.

In Estonia, old-age pensions are paid to people aged 65 and over. However, if you don’t actually live in Estonia on a permanent basis, nor make social contributions for more than 15 years, you won’t receive the state pension regardless of age.

Essentially, while your Estonian company has to pay social tax on your board member salary there are no tangible benefits to gain (no state pension or health insurance in Estonia). This does make the social tax payments seem useless, but unfortunately they are part of the package which comes with the Estonian legal environment.

How can I collect tax from my customers?

If your business provides digital services (such as subscriptions, games, e-books, software, website hosting etc.), you need to charge your customers a certain amount of sales tax. The amount of tax varies from country to country and it can be hard to keep up with all the different tax laws globally. To help you avoid the hassle, LeapIN has partnered up with tax-collecting solution Quaderno, which provides correct tax rates and updates them automatically.

European Union

If you’re going to provide digital services to customers from the EU, you need to apply the correct VAT (Value Added Tax) depending on the nature (B2B vs B2C) and actual location of your customer. The latter can often be a hassle once the volume of transactions grows. Quaderno immediately calculate the correct tax rate based on your customer’s location (and billing information). The solution can be easily integrated to your website/shop and your customers can pay you directly from your website, with the correct VAT rate provided to them.

Through Quaderno, we also receive sufficient data to compile and submit EU VAT tax reports (MOSS) for you.

Outside the European Union

Besides the EU, Quaderno can calculate taxes for any country in the world, and whenever a tax law changes, Quaderno will update it for you. If you have customers from the following countries, they need to pay sales tax on digital services:

  • Japan

  • South Africa

  • Swiss territory

  • Norway

  • Iceland

  • New Zealand

  • South Korea

  • India

  • Russia

  • Serbia

  • Morocco

  • Albania

  • Taiwan

  • Australia

Quaderno can be seamlessly connected to your PayPal or Braintree account (your choice) and payments will be processed with the correct tax rate if you make a sale. Every transaction will also have an invoice generated, and thanks to our link with Quaderno we’ll automatically receive your latest transaction data, without you having to manually upload anything.

We can handle and declare the taxes from sales within the EU. We cannot however declare taxes collected from countries outside the EU. If you plan to tax your non-EU customers, you’ll receive the tax on your company’s bank account through Quaderno, and it’s up to you whether you declare it or not.

Signing up

To sign up and use Quaderno, simply head to their website and follow the sign up process. During this, you can use the discount code ‘20off_forever’ to get your 20% discount as a LeapIN customer. This means the price will be €23.20 per month, instead of €29 per month.

Once you’ve signed up, to link your Quaderno and LeapIN accounts, just let us know the email address you used to sign up, and we’ll take care of the rest.

If you have any questions about Quaderno, please contact them here.

What is my company’s tax ID?

In contrast to many other countries, a company registered in Estonia has one unique identifier for all official purposes, including tax reporting. It’s your company’s registry code, and you can always find it from your LeapIN dashboard.

Your company’s registry code is also the “foreign TIN number” when applicable.

In the context of EU value added tax (VAT), your company has a separate VAT number as well (starting with EE), but to clarify, it’s applicable only within the EU and for VAT purposes i.e. it’s not the same as your “foreign TIN number”.

Do I have health insurance when I pay social tax in Estonia?

No. You will only get health insurance in Estonia if you’re an Estonian resident, and paying a salary from your company. If you’re only an e-resident, you do not receive health insurance.

Public health insurance in Estonia is regulated by Health Insurance Act, which can be read here.

REF :If you wanna be e-residence and opening a company contact to https://www.xolo.io/

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