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Accounting for an Estonian Company

Accounting requirements for Estonian companies

Using accounting services in Estonia helps your business run smoothly and keeps it within the legal framework. Not only are there certain accounting policies and different requirements, but there are also several tax laws that you should be familiar with. No matter the size of your business, is it a small or medium-sized business, it is always important that there are no extra problems that you have to solve. This enables you to focus on earning money and growing your company with no setbacks or fines. In case you need any assistance, we can help you out with our accounting and tax compliance services that we tailor to your specific needs.

Accounting Requirements

After your Estonian company formation and the registration into the commercial register are complete, starts the management of your business. Every country is different, and the rules may vary based on the type of business that you have. Therefore, you must familiarize yourself with the bookkeeping requirements and their standards according to the Estonian law.

Accounting standards

The Estonian financial year is 12 months, however there are certain cases when  a company may have a shorter or a longer financial year than 12 months. The maximum duration cannot be over 18. By standard, the financial year is like the calendar year if the articles of association of the company or another document regarding the activities of the accounting do not state otherwise. That being said, for you to be up to date with everything, we recommend that you work together with a business that offers accounting services and discuss all the requirements ‌relevant to your case.

Accounting Act, IFRS, Estonian GAAP

The current Estonian Accounting Act that is in place was put into force in 2019. This Act is what establishes the legal basis and general requirements for accounting and financial reporting in Estonia. The general requirements for the organisation of accounting ‌are:

  • Organize its accounts in a way that ensures provision of the information concerning the financial position, performance and cash flows
  • Document all of its business transactions
  • On the basis of source documents or summary documents prepared on the basis to post and record all business transactions in accounting ledgers and journals
  • Prepare and submit annual reports and other financial statements
  • Preserve accounting documents for at least 7 years

If you already are familiar with some of the International Financial Accounting Standards (IFRS), then you might find many similarities in some aspects of the financial reporting, as the GAAP standards are very similar. 

In Estonia, all domestic public companies, whose securities are traded in a regulated market, are required to use these standards in their financial reporting. They also permit the use of these standards for listings by foreign companies.
 
The differences in accounting policies are mainly because in some areas, the Estonian GAAP allows a choice of accounting policy, either the only policy accepted under IFRS for SMEs or the once specified in Estonian GAAP. In areas that are not covered by Estonian GAAP, IFRS for SME is recommended, but not mandatory. Estonian GAAP standard always has a comparison with the respective area of IFRS for SMEs.

As these accounting rules can change quickly, it is a smart move to work with or to be in constant contact with some accounting or legal firm, who provides a similar service and is always up to date with this information.

Annual Report

Every Estonian company has the obligation to report their annual financial activities according to the Estonian financial reporting standards, and to submit an annual report based on the financial year that had ended. The annual report usually comprises the company’s annual accounts and management report. 

However, in case you have a SME, as an annual report, the authorities only require you to present a balance sheet (assets, liabilities and owners’ equity), and annual accounts income statement (income, expenses and profit or loss on goods and services), management report is unnecessary.

For bigger companies, they also require a management report. The management report should summarize the activities of the accounting body, circumstances which are material to the assessment of the financial position and must include‌:

  • The main areas of activity, product and service groups
  • Most significant investments made during the year and the ones ‌you plan to make in the near future
  • Any significant events that have occurred while preparing the annual accounts, which have not been stated in the annual accounts report, but may influence the economic performance of the company in the future

Share capital

The minimum share capital of a private limited company in Estonia is 2,500 EUR, for which there is no need to contribute this amount to a bank account during the establishment process with our help. The contribution of the share capital is due when you‌ distribute dividends or change the share capital amount. Until there has been a full payment of the share capital by all the shareholders, a private limited company shall not increase, decrease the share capital amount, nor pay out dividends. Any share capital value that is above 25,000 EUR has to be verified by an auditor.

Payment of the share capital can be monetary and made at a bank or a financial institution that is and offers services in a member state of the European Economic Area, or it can be non-monetarily (e.g. cryptocurrency or material assets).

Salaries

Taxes that are paid out of salaries and based on employees in Estonia are generally social tax (33%) and unemployment insurance (currently 0,8%). Both are covered by the employer. The employee pays the income tax (20%) and unemployment tax (1,6%), which is withheld by the employer and forwarded to authorities in the name of the employee. If the case is that an Estonian company is paying salary to an employee for work that is performed outside of Estonia, the payroll taxes are not due in Estonia. Also, if a non-resident performs job duties outside of Estonia, there is no basis for income tax to be withheld in Estonia. This is the general area where small businesses need the most help when they have several employees. Using third-party accounting services can make salary and tax payments be more streamlined and help to save time and money. 

The Estonian personal income tax is paid out of any taxable income like salaries, wages, bonuses, business income, pensions, interest, royalties, capital gains and any other type of remuneration. The current income tax rate in Estonia is 20%. Dividends received by an Estonian company from a daughter company are not considered taxable income if the daughter company (Estonian or a foreign) has already paid taxes on the underlying profits.

One note to make here is that a sole-proprietor cannot assume the position of an employee in their own company nor pay themselves salary. A sole-proprietor must pay income tax and social tax on their annually earned profits on goods and services and state them in their tax declaration.

Dividends

Currently, there is no corporate income tax (CIT) on profits that are retained and reinvested in the company. Only when a business is paying out dividends to its shareholders, the CIT is due. The percentage of the CIT can vary from 14% to 20%, which depends on whether they pay it out to a legal person or not.

Distributed profits are: 

  • Corporate profits distributed in the tax period
  • Donations, gifts and representation expenses
  • Payments and expenses not related to business
  • Transfer of assets to the head office or to other companies

Audit

In Estonia, an auditor must go over your company’s accounting and financial documents in case your business operates with high amounts of income, assets or human resources (incl. private limited companies). Audits are done to eliminate any ‌irregularities within the company's finances, and it provokes transparency. An internal auditor or an audit firm with a registered, sworn auditor is the one who carries them out.
According to the current audit law, an auditor report or a review of your annual accounts is required for entities who whose accounts at least two of the indicators of the financial year exceed the following conditions:

Condition Audit  Review
Sales revenue or income 4,000,000 EUR 1,600,000 EUR
Total assets as of the balance sheet date 2,000,000 EUR 800,000 EUR
Average number of employees 50 people 24 people



An audit or a review is required if at least one of the following indicators of the financial year exceeds the following conditions:

Condition Audit  Review
Sales revenue or income 12,000,000 EUR 4,800,000 EUR
Total assets as of the balance sheet date 6,000,000 EUR 2,400,000 EUR
Average number of employees 180 people 72 people


All public limited companies have to audit their annual accounts if it has more than two shareholders.

VAT ID

By standard, no Estonian company gets a VAT registration id at the time of its formation. This is done afterwards. The law says that a company must register itself for VAT if the annual taxable turnover exceeds 40,000 EUR. Before the threshold of 40,000 EUR is met, it is voluntary to register for VAT. Note that the Estonian tax authorities will inspect a company if there are no transactions related to your VAT ID during a 2 to 3-month period.  VAT ID is given only if the company is doing business in Estonia (i.e. has office, employees, servers or other activity).  If the place of activity is elsewhere, they do not give the Estonian VAT ID.

Non VAT obliged companies

If you do not have a VAT ID for your business, you cannot include any value added tax in your invoices or in your accounting documents. Also, if you are running a sole proprietorship or a small private limited company, you may not even need a VAT for your day-to- day business. On the other hand, if you are aiming to grow and to partner with bigger companies, we suggest you apply for one. 

In case you wish to apply for VAT, you must justify and show to the tax and customs board that your company is already or will contribute to the Estonian economy. We also provide VAT registration services if you need help with applying.

VAT obliged companies

Once your business has a VAT number, you can start including it in your prices when you are selling goods or services. The general VAT rate in Estonia is 20%, while they can reduce it to 9% and 0% for certain services. The taxable period is generally one calendar month and as a VAT payer, you must calculate and pay the VAT amount to the tax authority by the 20th of the month following the taxable period. Keep in mind that it is important to keep and store VAT related accounting documents and present them when it is needed.

Financial Statements

Financial statements are important to be presented to prove activities of a business and to ensure that everything is within the legal framework. There are several types of financial statements that you have to present at different times. As mentioned before, the standard financial year is the same as the calendar year, which you should always keep in mind.

On a monthly basis

On a monthly basis, companies are required to do accounting that is later used to make annual reports to the corresponding Estonian authorities. These documents are the physical basis for recording your daily transactions with goods and services. Your business should keep the following documents:

  • Purchase receipts and invoices (purchase of materials, rent,  electricity and water, phone and internet)
  • Receipts from the use of your company debit/credit card
  • Sales receipts and invoices handed out which must contain the following:
    • Company name, registry no., VAT no.(if applicable), address, contact info (phone no. or email), and your company’s bank account IBAN no.
    • No. of the invoice
    • Date
    • Payment deadline
    • Information of the company or the person, who will pay
    • Description of your product or service
    • Price with and without VAT

On a yearly basis

Annual reports and audits, that are attached to it, are one of the documents that you have to deliver on a yearly basis to the Estonian Commercial Register. This must be done within six months after the end of every financial year. One can send these documents to the e-Commercial Register by using its portal and an e-Residency card.

There also may be due some statistical reports, either monthly or yearly, but this depends whether the company is selected into the statistical pool or not.  Also these reports can be filled in and filed electronically.

Accounting software

There are a lot of cloud based accounting services available on the market that help to make any business owner’s life easier. These software accounting services enable you to manage your business’ finances better and smoother. Here are some of the benefits of using an accounting software:

  • Create and send custom invoices online
  • Monitor your finances remotely and in real-time 
  • Take snapshots of your receipts and invoices
  • Insert and extract data directly from the software
  • Improved accounting and reporting accuracy
  • Increased productivity

We offer all-in-one accounting services for your Estonian business so you can work from anywhere, regardless of your location. You will be given access to a web-based accounting software, which you can access from any device. Furthermore, we ensure that all of your finances and tax matters are according to the Estonian law, and that everything is done at the right time.

Disclaimer: This article provides general information, which may or may not be correct, complete or current at the time of reading. No recipients of content from this site should act on the basis of content of the article without seeking appropriate legal advice or other professional counseling.