How to Register as an Independent Entrepreneur in Belarus
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Belarus is a country in Eastern Europe with a well-developed industrial sector, which accounts for around 26% of its GDP (2018). Market analysts predict robust growth for the economy of Belarus due to its direct efforts at improving administrative procedures, taxation, pricing, licensing preferential regimes for investors, and protection of their rights.
Belarus' geographical location, favorable investment climate, highly skilled workforce, and industrially-developed economy make Belarus attractive for international trade. If you plan to start your business journey, this article will guide you through the registration process.
Disclaimer: Be aware that this article is not a substitute for legal advice. Please always check official websites or seek legal advice before you take action.
Independent entrepreneurs in Belarus
Starting a business as an independent entrepreneur is the most simple business form in Belarus, often used by freelancers and people who are just beginning their professional journey. The process is quite straightforward and has a few steps to it.
How to establish an independent business in Belarus
An individual entrepreneur does not have to assume a legal entity status, being involved in business activities. A sole proprietorship implies having a maximum of three employees and full liability for the owner. There is no distinction made between the owner and the company itself.
Before submitting a company registration application with all the required documents to the State Registry, entrepreneurs must make a registration payment equal to one base unit. Payment can be done electronically using the online payment system ERIP either through a mobile app or online Once the payment is made, the registrar can see the payment information through their system using a confirmation number.
You can register as an independent entrepreneur by filing an electronic request.
For registration, the following documents are required:
- Social security card (if you have one)
The minimum amount of the authorized capital is not determined by the law.
Business name registration in Belarus
Once you register your IE (independent entrepreneurship), it is time to choose your business name which must be unique and contain at least three symbols.
This procedure does not require additional costs and takes place before the state registration of the company.
This can be done online or in-person at the Registry Administration ("Gorispolkom").
To have the company’s name approved, the applicant needs to approach any registration authority listed on the website of the Unified State Register of Legal Entities and Individual Entrepreneurs. Here you can check the availability of company names.
Based on the results of the review of the electronically submitted documents, the applicant will receive to their email address either a certificate of business name approval or a document rejecting it, bearing an electronic digital signature of the authorized employee of the registration authority, no later than one working day from the date of applying.
When the name is verified in person, the officer at the Registry Administration notifies the entrepreneur about the decision immediately. Entrepreneurs prefer to verify the name in person to avoid potential delays in case of rejection of the suggested names.
The next step would be state registration. To register a new business entity it is necessary to apply to the State Registration Authority with an application form and Articles of Association. The registration may be submitted either in person or electronically. The list of documents you have to send electronically is the same as the list of documents you need for registration in person.
Documents for state registration can be submitted to a notary who will send them to the registering authority. While submitting documents for state registration, applicants are required to present identity documents and documents that prove their authority (a letter of attorney).
A notarized letter of attorney is required if a person acts on behalf of a foreign legal entity.
Registration documents are to be submitted to the local registration body (main directorates of justice of regional executive committees and the Minsk City Executive Committee. The registration takes about one and a half weeks.
Registering with the Belarus authorities: Tax office
An individual entrepreneur is applying the general taxation procedure, if the amount of revenue from the sale of goods, property rights, and income in the form of lease (financial leasing) of property on an accrual basis from the beginning of the year exceed 420,000 Belarusian rubles, excluding taxes and fees calculated from the revenue.
Belarus elaborated on the 'business purpose' in taxation. This means that each transaction should have a clear business purpose and economic content. Otherwise, the tax consequences of such transactions may be revised by the Belarusian tax authorities.
All taxpayers shall recognize revenue for Value Added Tax (VAT) purposes on an accrual basis. Individual entrepreneurs applying the general taxation regime are taxed at a rate of 16%. Belarus does not have a sales registration threshold, therefore if you make just one sale in the country, you must register your business for Belarusian VAT.
You will need a VAT registration number, which establishes you in the Belarus tax system as a legal business. This number tracks your business through the system: the taxes you pay, the tax credits you receive, plus the tax you charge from customers. Keep in mind the tax representative is not required.
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