Opening a Business
1. To enter Monaco, all foreigners must have proof of identity (national identity card or passport).
2. Anyone planning to stay in Monaco for more than three months or establish residency must obtain a long-term visa (French consulates handle visa arrangements for the Principality), as well as a residence permit (carte de séjour) which is available from Monégasque police headquarters (Direction de la Sûreté Publique) upon arrival.
3. Anyone wishing to work in Monaco must also obtain a work permit (permis de travail).
4. To establish a company in Monaco you must present to the Economic Expansion Department (Direction de l’Expansion Economique) the following documents:
– Notarized statutes or private deeds which have been registered with the Tax Department (Direction des Services Fiscaux);
– Registration forms detailing partners’ civil status and a description of the company’s registered office on Monégasque territory
5. To establish an agency or administrative office of a foreign company on Monégasque territory, you must send to the Minister of State (Ministre d’Etat) an application which includes:
– Two certified copies of the company’s articles of association;
– A certificate proving the company’s registration in the country of origin;
– A Board of Directors’ directive to open an office in Monaco;
– A copy of annual accounts for three preceding years;
– A description of the premises where the office will be located;
– Details of the appointment of a responsible representative in Monaco;
– A report on the structure of the company: date of creation, main activities, countries of operation, personnel, etc.
Information forms are obtainable from the Economic Expansion Department. Documents in a language other than French must be accompanied by a French translation.
All applications for an administrative office in Monaco are subject to approval by the sovereign government of the Principality.
6. To create a commercial company in Monaco, you must obtain preliminary approval from the sovereign government to operate commercial, craft, industrial or service activities. Authorization from the Minister of State is obtained by submitting:
– A formal request on stamped paper addressed to the Minister of State;
– A certificate proving a clean police record issued within the last three months;
– A description of the office premises;
– Information about the applicants’ civil status (birth, marriage, divorce, etc.);
– Diplomas and references;
– Completed information forms from the Economic Expansion Department.
Such a business may be operated either by the proprietor or by a manager (for whom authorization must be obtained).
Entry and Residence in Monaco
To enter Monaco, or reside there either temporarily or for a considerable length of time, all non-French citizens must follow certain simple procedures:
1. All non-French citizens wishing to visit Monaco for less than three months must possess the same documents that are required to visit France. For U.S. citizens that means a valid passport.
2. Any non-French citizen wishing to stay in Monaco for more than three months must obtain the following documents:
– A long-term visa, which is available from French consular offices in the United States.
– A “carte de séjour” or residence permit, which is obtained from the Monégasque police headquarters upon arrival. Applicants will be asked to provide detailed information about themselves, and their immediate family’s civil status. They will also be asked to show documents concerning their accommodations in the Principality, such as lease agreements or ownership deeds for property.
– Applicants also must show proof of employment or professional activity if they intend to work while in Monaco. If they do not intend to work, they must show sufficient financial means of existence without working.
3. Foreigners may apply for temporary residence (a one-year resident permit which can be renewed twice, each time for one year); as an ordinary resident (a three-year resident permit which can be renewed twice, each time for three years); or as a privileged resident (valid for ten years, and renewable after administrative inquiry has determined that residence is actual).
4. All non-French citizens wishing to work in Monaco must obtain a “permis de travail” or work permit from the Department of Employment by first showing a residence permit or work contract. The work permit allows an individual to perform only the work for which it was issued.
Buying Real Estate in Monaco
Real estate transactions take place in great freedom. The only formality is the deed executed and authenticated by a notary which guarantees the validity of the transaction both for the purchaser and the vendor. Any individual and legal entity, whatever his nationality, may become the purchaser of a piece of real estate in the Principality.
The cost per square meter (approximately 10.7 square feet) for an apartment located in a new building varies between 45,000 francs and 80,000 francs ($ 8,036 and $ 14,286 / 1USD = 5,6 FF).
An individual must produce documents providing proof of his identity and civil status:
– Monégasque residence permit or national identity card or passport;
– Family record book if married under the joint estate system;
– Marriage contract, if one was drawn up.
A legal entity must produce the following documents in French:
– The articles and memorandum of association of the company;
– A copy of the relevant entry from the Register of Companies less than three months old;
– The minutes of the general meeting approving the purchase of the property;
– Notarized power of attorney authorizing a person to represent the company and to conclude the transaction.
If there is a translation inta French, it must be supplied by a sworn or authorized translator. When these documents come from abroad, they must be certified as being a true copy of the original by the nearest Monégasque consulate. Please contact the New York consulate to receive a listing of your nearest consulate.
The purchase and sale of an item of real estate must of necessity be carried out using the services of a notary.
The notary is a legal official who works within the framework of a learned profession; he is authorized to deal with all deeds and contracts to which the parties concerned must or wish to give the legal status which is associated with documents of the public authorities. For this reason, he certifies their date, keeps them in safe custody and delivers engrossed and authentic copies of them.
He is required to prepare legal instruments and deeds which, in the context of the transfer of a piece of real estate, provides the necessary guarantees for the purchaser. In fact, in addition to his professional liability being involved, he ensures the performance or supervises the formalities essential to the execution of the documents he prepares. In particular, he is required to register the legal instrument or deed at the Mortgage Registry in Monaco, which enables him to check that there is “…No mention of a mortgage taken out on the property sold whether this was done by the vendor or previous owners.”
The following types of tax, applicable in other countries, are not applicable in the Principality of Monaco:
– Income tax
– Wealth tax
– Land tax
– Housing tax
– Television tax
Companies of any type which carry on a commercial or industrial activity on the territory of the Principality are subject to tax at the rate of 33.33% when at least 25% of their turnover is generated by operations outside Monaco
In 1991, fiscal arrangements were instituted relating to the formation of companies which allow for the exemption of profits made during the first two years and partial taxation only of the profits of the next three years.
In addition, an extra and specific reduction is provided for in the case of scientific and technical research activities.
Administrative offices, which are not basically commercial, are not subject to a tax on profits, but to a levy of 2.66% of the total of the expenses incurred in running the office.
Dividends paid by Monégasque companies to their shareholders are not taxed.
Income tax in the Principality of Monaco was abolished in 1869, under the Sovereign Order signed by H.S.H. Prince Charles III.
The general rule is still applicable for Monégasque citizens and all other foreigners, except French citizens who have become residents since January 1957 who continue to be liable for French income Tax.
Monégasque law makes no provision for inheritance tax and claims no tax on direct donations or on donations between husband and wife. The tax due in other cases of donations is attractively low:
– Brothers and sister 8%
– Uncles, aunts, nieces and nephews 10%
– Collateral other than sisters, brothers, uncles, aunts, nieces and nephews 13%
– Non-related persons 16%
Transfer dues, according to internal Monégasques law, only apply to real estate located in the Principality of Monaco or with situs in Monaco at the date of Death or donation, whatever the place of residence and nationality of the deceased or donator.
VALUE ADDED TAX:
The existence of the French-Monégasque Customs Union means that V.A.T. is applicable at the same rate as in France. European community tax is applicable since
January 1, 1993.
The following are subject to V.A.T.:
• On the one hand, the operations due to economic activity carried out for a fee by a tax payer, i.e. by a person acting on an independent basis as of custom or occasionally, whatever his legal status;
• On the other hand, the operations expressly named by law as being subject to V.A.T. (delivery of goods to oneself, certain purchases, imports…)
• And lastly, operations which would normally be exempt, but which become eligible for the application of V.A.T. according to a choice made by the person carrying them out (operation carried out by persons performing exempted commercial activities, banking and financial establishment operations, empty property rentals for industrial, commercial or professional use).
The most frequently applicable rates are as follows:
Normal rate 20.6%
Reduced rate 5.5%
The normal rate, 20.6% is used when there is no reason to apply the reduced rate.
The reduced rate, 5.5% is applicable as follows:
– On various services: transports of travelers, hotel or furnished accommodation, certain shows (cinema, theater,concert…), entrance fees for certain attractions (museums, monuments, cultural exhibition), private television subscription, provision of meals in works cafeterias, services related to the supply and evacuation of water;
– On certain products: water, food products (except alcoholic beverages and certain solid food product), medicines (except medicines which are reimbursed to social security contributors belonging to the 2.10% category), products with agricultural origins, books, special apparatus and equipment for the handicapped, certain products for animal feed.
PROPERTY ADDED VALUE TAX:
V.A.T. is applicable on operations contributing to the production and commissioning of real estate.
It is based on:
– The sales price, the amount of compensation or the value of the social rights corresponding to the gain, plus the additional charges;
– The real, venal value of the property, if this real market value is higher than the price, the amount of the expenses or the value of the social dues, increased by the charges.
V.A.T. is generated by the act which defines the transaction, or if no such act exists, the transfer of ownership.
However, V.A.T. is not applicable to operations involving buildings or parts of buildings of over five years of age or, which, during the five years following completion, have already been sold to a person other than an estate or property agent. Such operations are normally subject to transfer dues.
The V.A.T. rate applicable on property transactions, whatever their nature, is 20.6%.
REGISTRATION DUTY, FISCAL STAMPS AND VARIOUS TAXES AND LEVIES:
Registration duty is levied on formalities to register transfers or civil or legal acts. It is either proportionate or a fixed amount.
Some of the most frequently used rates of taxation are as follow:
* 1% on leases,
* 2% on judgments with conviction,
* 3% on acts containing mortgage commitments for the engrossed documents,
* 5% on movable property sales, duty is reduced to 2% in the case of certain public sales and auctions,
* 6.5% on the sale of real estate,
* 7.5% on property transfers entailing the sale of commercial establishments,
* 1% transaction fees on real estate transfers,
* 0.65% mortgage subscription fee.
Fixed duties; a general fee of 5 Francs.
Fiscal stamps are placed on all documents for civil or legal acts and inscriptions which can be produced as evidence before a court of justice
The cost is either fixed or depends on the format of the document established. Fiscal stamps are also a form of duty for this accomplishments of administrative formalities (certificate of residence, work permit, Livret de Famille, passport).
Registration of the following documents is compulsory and must be accomplished within the appropriate time limits:
– public acts drawn up by notaries or bailiffs ,
– legal acts,
– private acts for leases, sales commercial establishments, wills,
– real estate transfers concerning living persons when the real estate is located in the Principality of Monaco,
– certain company acts.
Other acts may also be subject to registration, but it is not compulsory unless the said document is to be produced before justice or the authorities.
Other taxes and duties are also levied:
– corporation dues on the manufacture, circulation and consumption of alcohol,
– warranty tax on manufactured metal goods,
– duties on alcoholic beverages,
– warranty tax on precious metal goods.
In the Principality of Monaco, these taxes and duties are subject to the same regulations as in France. They are established on the same basis and applied at the same rate. Since January 1, 1993, the general conditions for the exchange of products subject to excise within the European Community are also applicable in Monaco.
It is not compulsory to register the following types of documents:
– public administration and general interest documents,
– civil status documents and the issues of certified copies of the same,
– mortgage registration statements, mortgage transcripts, certificate of non-registration as a mortgage delivered by the Registrar.