The online toolbox for business entrepreneurs

Checklist

Important procedures to follow, as soon as you have decided to open a business.

When opening a new business, you need to be in full conformity with local business laws and regulations. It helps prepare a check list which you can follow, cross check and apply step by step.

1Decide what kind of business structure you will be adopting.
(Self-employed / sole trader, company, partnership,) Professional guidance by an accountant or a business mentor is recommended.
2Visit the Business First webportal for guidance and advice, or refer directly to the Business start-up. webpage
3

Register for a VAT number, with the VAT Department

  • Sole Proprietors in possession of a valid Maltese Identity Card please click here.
4Register with Jobsplus (former ETC), your direct involvement, and employement status, as a self-employed. Futher more if you intend to employ people you also need to file their registration : Maltese Nationals, EU Nationals, TCNsPersons with disability or persons in a disadvantage situations. Jobsplus offer also the possibility of online job matching or you can request Jobsplus to match jobs seekers with your requirements by filling the vacancy profile form. Jobsplus also offers training opportunities, including courses, sheltered employement trianing , and trade testing system
5Make sure you touch base with the Office of the Commissioner for Revenue ( Registration of an Employer)  (in terms of the Final Settlement System Rules LN88/98)
6If it is going to be the first time in employment, make sure you apply and get your Social Security number, from the Department of Social Security. You can also refer the Social Security Department official website.
7

If needed, prepare a memorandum of articles (M&A), and register the legal format of your business activity with MFSA. refer to the guide of registrations of companies. 

The basic requirements that you need to prepare for are: 

  • Reserve a unique company name;
  • Draft the M&A;
  • Deposit the paid-in minimum capital with a bank;
  • Opening a bank account;
  • Send the M&A and other prescribed documentation to the registry of
  • Companies.(Advice from an accountant is recommended)
8Check whether you need any PA (former MEPA) commercial permits for your business premises, according to current local plan, policies, and commercial legislation. (Advice from an architect is recommended)
9If you are going to make any structural alterations to your business premises, besides the need to apply with PA, make sure you conform with CRPD (former KNPD) regulations.
10When buying or renting / if you intend to make any structural alterations, make sure you also carry out the “energy performance certificate of buildings” application and follow procedures. Refer to Building Regulation Office – (BRO).
11If you’re renting a business premises from third parties, check and make sure there are no pending water/ electricity bills and make sure you apply to have a water metre,( if there i not one already) a three phase electrical supply, if needed ( refer to respective entities accordingly)
12If you intend to operate from an established Government owned industrial zone, be aware that an application together with a business plan is needed to be filed according to Malta Enterprise rules and regulations, and there is no automatic eligibility.
13Be aware of health and safety regulations on the place of work, and make sure you are fully compliant. It is highly recommended to consult competent persons on health and safety issues to carry out, the necessary risk assessment reports.
(For details would be best to establish contact with OHSA)
14As from January 2017, hundreds of trade licenses which used to be issued by the Trade Licensing Unit (TLU) within the Commerce Department, are no longer needed. Having said that be aware that there are more than 23 other Licensing Authorities responsible to issue other particular licenses. ( refer to the drop-down menu within this section : Licencing Authorities, to comply accordingly)
15Make sure that you ask specifically, whether you would need any other extra special permits/licences to operate, according to your business activity.( such as an import/export licence)
16Applicants who intend to open a business under specific NACE Codes must obtain a ‘No Objection Declaration’ issued by the Environmental Health Directorate. The Business Certification and Consultation Unit (Health) within the Environmental Health Directorate certifies business operations and provides consultation services with respect to food safety and public health related issues. All the relevant information for the acquisition of this certification and provision of consultation services can be found at Starting up a food business in Malta.
An email is to be forwarded to applicants once they select the NACE code or business activity linked with the Environmental Health Directorate.
17Make sure you, and your employees, are in possession of a food handling certification, to be able to operate and work in compliance with existing health and sanitary regulations, where applicable.
18

If during your business operation you are going to make direct contact with consumers, it's recommended to consult with the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority ( MCCAA ) and follow their guidance accordingly. It's imperative to touch base with: the Office of Competition mainly for legislation references related to competition; the Office of Consumer Affairs under the section Information, Education and Research Directorate where one can access a list of other important legislations related to consumer affairs, together with other information. Under the section Enforcement Directorate one can also find information about price indication, adverts, and public statements. It's also advisable to get tp know  about Servizz bi Tbissima competition, the Trust You Scheme, and the KONSUMATUR mobile app. Through MCCAA one can also get technical information by the Technical Regulations Division, information and guidelines about standards through the Standards and Metrology Institute, and access to the MCCAA - SME Portal. 

19Always check for any policies and standard regulations which might affect your commercial activity, such as waste-management regulations, environment and pollution policies, discrimination and equality policies, etc.. (refer to IMPORTANT REFERENCES section within this toolbox)
20If your business involves facing customers directly, be aware of the Performing Rights Society - PRS rules and regulations for music. ( https://www.prsformusic.com/; ) or refer directly to: https://www.prsformusic.com/our-global-network/prs-managed-territories/malta;
21Think of a name for your business, create a logo and a brand, and a business premises sign, apply accordingly with PA if needed, and check whether there are any initial and annual fees which need to be paid to Transport Malta, for putting up your business outlet sign (depending on the size of signage proposed)
22Apply for a commercial telephone line, install adequate internet service and go for a proper IT system for smooth running of your business.
23Prior to opening your doors for business, make sure, you have everything in order. Prepare all set-ups and logistics related to the business administration, fiscal and accountancy systems, and bank structures. (It is advisable that one should commission a company accountant
24Re-evaluate and ensure that you have formulated a tangible business plan, which is compliant with work practices, existing policies, and local legislation. (Business consultants may help you to establish your business goals, and to avoid failure, even prior commencing your business venture)
25Liaise with the Office of the Information and Data Protection Commissioner, ( IDPC) , to make sure you will be operating in full compliance with the data protection Act requirements, and the latest changes in GDPR.
26Always consult a business mentor regarding commercial insurance.Implimenting proper security systems is advisable.
27Design an administrative strategy regarding employment. Their needs, office-equipment and IT Systems required, machinery, their safety, purchasing of any company vehicles, parking facilities according to PA regulations, and other logistics involved. It is recommended to think ahead, and be very well structured, to be prepared for possible eventualities.
28If you intend to employ people, you must be aware that you need to be fully compliant with employment laws and regulations. First and foremost, it’s a must to endorse a contract of employment for each and every employee, even if you intend to employ family members. It is also ideal to make sure that a set of company policies and procedures will be in place.
29It would be good practice, as a new employer to join the Malta Employers’ Association. The MEA offers employers advice on employment law and labour rules and is the lobby group in Malta making representations to Governments on matters that are of relevance and importance to employers.
30If you intend to employ any foreign workers, (both Europeans, and Third Country Nationals) make sure you consult Identity Malta, prior you start working on it.
31It is also ideal to make contact with Malta Enterprise  which offers assistance, support and advice to businesses established in Malta and those seeking to start a business in Malta. Malta Enterprise also offers a number of incentives for start-ups and for foreign enterprises bringing Foreign Direct Investment to Malta.
32For opportunities offered through EU Funded assistance, it's recommended to subscribe with MEUSAC for continious updates and guidance.
33Prior to launching, it is important to establish your business corporate identity, prepare visiting cards, stationery, and work on a marketing strategy.
34Be aware that certain permits, related to alterations to your business premises, especially while carrying out construction and infrastructural works, deposits of mechanical/ industrial/equipment on the road, and waste management falls under the responsability of the respective Local Council. Fees may vary from Local Council to another due to different by-laws.
35Finally, as already clearly stated in the previous chapter of this document, once you open your doors for business, you must always keep an eye on what’s happening around you:
  • As a priority you must always aim for the highest quality assurance,
  • Use your entrepreneurship skills,
  • Keep your staff up-to-date with training,
  • Keep on the look-out for all current assistance schemes, possible benefits, incentives, tenders, and other opportunities.
  • Always be prepared to face local competition and never fear internationalisation,

Good luck!

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