Starting a business is an exciting endeavor, but it’s important to be aware that in Estonia, there are areas of activity subject to special requirements that require careful consideration.
We will give an overview on the process of commencing a business in these specific areas and how to operate within the regulatory framework. We’ll cover everything from understanding activity licences to managing changes in your business operations.
Commencement of business in special requirement areas
Understanding special requirement areas
When you’re in the initial stages of establishing a company in Estonia, it’s vital to recognize that certain areas of activity are subject to special requirements. This means you must apply for an activity licence or submit a notice of economic activity before starting your business in such areas.
Identifying your area of activity
To determine if your chosen area of activity falls under the special requirements category, you can use the Estonian Classification of Economic Activities (EMTAK) search system. This system provides detailed information on the specific requirements for each area of activity.
Applying for an activity licence
If your business falls within one of these special requirement areas, you’ll need to apply for an activity licence. The state fee for such licences may vary, and these rates are determined by the State Fees Act.
Submitting an application
To apply for an activity licence or submit a notice for operating in a special requirement area, you’ll need to fill out the relevant application forms.
These forms differ based on the specific area of activity. Submissions are made to the appropriate registrar, government authority, or local government, depending on the field.
The time it takes for your registration to be processed varies depending on how you submit it. If you submit a notice of economic activity via the State Portal or directly to another register, your data will be entered immediately. However, if you use an alternative method, your data will be entered the following working day.
For applications for an activity licence, they are typically processed within 30 days by the relevant authority and then entered into the respective register.
Companies already operating in special requirement areas
If your business is already operating in an area subject to special requirements, it’s crucial to ensure that your activities continually comply with the conditions outlined in your activity licence or notice of economic activity. Failure to meet these conditions can result in your licence being denied, discontinued, or declared invalid.
Updating economic activity data
If any information regarding your economic activities changes, you are required to notify the authority responsible for managing the related register of notices of economic activities within 5 days.
To change data related to an activity licence, you must inform the relevant authority at least 30 days before making the changes.
Confirmation of activity licences and notices of economic activity
As an entrepreneur, you are obligated to confirm the correctness of your data in a register that manages activity licences or notices of economic activities once a year. This can be done by submitting your annual report or filing your company taxes.
Prior to confirming the correctness of your data, it’s essential to review it for accuracy, including your address, business name, and activities. If any changes are necessary, they should be made before confirmation.
Entrepreneurs who are not required to confirm data include branches of foreign companies, who should confirm the correctness of their data at the Register of Economic Activities (MTR).
Revoking an activity licence and deleting a notice of economic activity
Your activity licence for operating in a special requirement area may be revoked in several circumstances, including:
- Deliberate misinformation provided during the licence application process.
- Abandonment of economic activity by your company.
- Judicial winding up of your company or imposition of a prohibition on activity.
- Failure to commence business operations within the specified timeframe.
- Severe violations of the licence conditions.
- Activity causing significant damage or posing a hazard to public order.
- Change in the precondition for receiving the activity licence.
If you encounter deficiencies in complying with special requirements, you will typically be given an opportunity to rectify them. However, if you cannot meet these requirements, your activity licence may be revoked.
Changing and deleting data
If you need to make changes, suspend, or delete data related to your activity licence or notice of economic activity, you should submit an application to the relevant authority. This can usually be done electronically directly to the register, but if that’s not an option, you are free to submit your application on paper or via email, as long as you clearly indicate what should be changed or deleted.
Searching for economic operators, licences, and notices
You have the ability to search for registered economic operators and their valid activity licences or notices of economic activities in the register of economic activities. This can be a valuable tool for research or verification purposes.
Starting and operating a business in Estonia can be a rewarding experience, but it’s essential to be aware of the special requirements that apply to certain areas of activity.
By understanding the registration process, keeping your data accurate, and complying with licensing conditions, you can ensure that your business thrives within the Estonian regulatory framework.
How can I check if my business falls under special requirement areas in Estonia?
To determine if your business operates in an area subject to special requirements, you can use the Estonian Classification of Economic Activities (EMTAK) search system. It provides detailed information on specific requirements for each area of activity.
What happens if my company fails to meet the conditions of its activity licence?
If your company does not meet the conditions outlined in its activity licence, the licensing authority may deny issuing or renewing the licence, discontinue it, or declare it invalid.
How often do I need to confirm the correctness of my data in the register of economic activities in Estonia?
As an entrepreneur, you must confirm the correctness of your data once a year by submitting your annual report or filing your company taxes. Make sure to review your data for accuracy before confirming it and make any necessary changes.