Located at the crossroads between northern and eastern Europe, the Baltic state of Latvia is making the most of its recent membership of the EU. Foreign investments are booming and the Latvian authorities have taken initiatives to simplify regulations governing the establishment of companies in Latvia. The range of business entities has been reduced from 13 to 5, bringing the commercial landscape more in line with EU standards.

There are four main types of company in Latvia for foreign investors:

Limited liability company (SIA)

  • This is the most common type of company in Latvia
  • The minimum capital is € 3,090, and at the time of establishment it is necessary to pay at least 50% of the amount
  • The minimum number of directors is one (no nationality constraint)
  • No restriction for foreign shareholders
  • Accounts must be kept in line with legal requirements
  • Incoming and outgoing dividends and royalties have no longer been taxed since January 1, 2013
  • Shareholders' and directors' meetings can be held by acting in person or by proxy
  • Latvia has entered into double tax agreements with the major states of the world, including Italy and all European countries
  • Fiduciary management of shares and the company itself is possible
  • Latvian companies normally have a VAT number, with full visibility on the European VIES website

Joint-stock company (A/S)

  • Preferred by big companies wishing to raise public capital
  • The minimum share capital is € 35,572 and must be fully paid before registration
  • It has a two-tier control system, comprising a BoD and a supervisory board
  • Accounts must be audited and submitted to the competent authorities

Branch

  • A foreign-owned branch is taxed in the same way as a Latvian company
  • Communication and control requests are the same as for Latvian companies
  • Profits can be repatriated without charge at source
  • Dividends transferred abroad are subject to a withholding tax of 10% at source
  • It has a representative office

Representative Office

  • The representative office is not authorised to start a business or conclude a deal
  • It is envisaged only for advertising and promoting the foreign company
  • It is considered an effective and low-cost means that guarantees the presence of the company in loco

LATVIA

Latvia Flag
Average start-up times 3 days
Availability of pre-established (ready-made) companies No
Accounting Yes
Secretary No
Nominee Shareholder No
Nominee Director No
Average taxation There are no taxes on dividends for European Union residents; for non-residents, tax on dividends is only 15%.
Published information about the company's directors The names of company executives appear in public registers. Executives can be appointed to prevent the customer's name from appearing.
Accounting obligations Annual
Legislation and controls

The governing authority is the Business Register and companies are regulated by the Commercial Law, Commercial Law of Latvia.

Confidentiality Bearer shares are not permitted
Documents required
  • certified copy of passport in original
  • proof of domicile dating back no more than three months previously in original
  • original copy of bank reference letter in original
  • signed curriculum vitae/li>
Time Zone UTC+2
Currency Euro
Risk indicators Average political risk: 22%
  • Expropriation and breaches of contract: 37%
  • Risk of war and civil unrest: 28%
  • Transfer of capital and convertibility: 1%
Average credit risk: 43%
  • Failure to pay by sovereign counterpart: 28%
  • Failure to pay by bank counterpart: 51%
  • Failure to pay by corporate counterpart: 51%
GDP growth 2%