This month, Equinox Advisory has featured on the finance Monthly magazine. The Magazine has invited Equinox Advisory CEO to reply to a number of questions allowing cross-comparability of the jurisdictions surveyed this month.

Over the past months and years, Malta has managed to consistently outperform its international competitors in business-friendliness and in terms of the cost of doing business. Despite having the lowest corporate tax rate in the whole of the EU, Malta’s benefits as a business jurisdiction are not only limited to taxation. As a matter of fact, as Equinox Advisory CEO himself put it in the interview, “tax should not be the only consideration that an investor is taking into account when pondering whether to establish a business in a particular jurisdiction. Public utility infrastructure (especially telecoms, when operating in the area of intangible service provision), the quality and productivity (this being a composite measure of skills available, leave of absence entitlements and work ethic) of the available HR base, the sophistication of the finance market and institutions, language impediments or facilitators, jurisdiction reputation and the cost of doing business in that jurisdiction are all important elements to bear in mind, whether you are investing in Malta or anywhere else”.

Nevertheless, tax is undoubtedly a crucial element in any investment decision and one that can make a huge difference to profitability.

Several of Equinox Advisory’s clients cite Malta’s advantageous tax regime as one of the top 5 reasons for wanting to set up an operation in Malta. Malta is on the OECD ‘White List’ for global standards in tax co-operation and information exchange.

According to Bernard Mallia, in addition to all this, Malta offers additional benefits. Its macroeconomic policy framework is business-friendly, as are the regulatory policies in place to make it easier to get things going when starting up a business.

A limited liability company can be formed in a few days if all documentation is in order. In other competing jurisdictions, it is not uncommon to hear of waiting times of months. This is complemented by easy access to regulators and Government officials and full compliance with the EU’s Service Directive, which facilitates life for businesses and increases transparency for firms when they want to provide or use services in the single market. Maltese regulators act as facilitators while retaining rigorous regulatory standards, especially the case in those areas of business that require particular attention to customer care (such as financial services or gaming).

Payroll costs (including both salaries and taxes) are very competitive relative to the rest of the EU and other competing destinations. However, unlike in other relatively low-cost jurisdictions, this does not come at the cost of HR quality. Macroeconomic policies to keep inflation in check are in place and the Government invests heavily in achieving and maintaining a highly-educated workforce.

Malta’s stable Government reduces the instances of stop-go policies. These are ultimately conducive to stability and resilience in the macroeconomic environment, and Malta is well connected by sea and air to all business destinations that matter.

All these elements have earned Malta a 2008 ranking by Forbes Magazine as the fifth most tax-friendly country in the world, and the single most attractive country in the European Union.

The full Finance Monthly article is available here.

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