Commercial Register of Estonia
Centre of Registers and Information Systems (RIK)
RIK is a state agency operating under the authority of the Ministry of Justice.
The main purpose of RIK is to ensure an innovative and integrated environment of e-services for more efficient implementation of public administration and application of laws and jurisdiction. RIK is one of the largest IT organisations in Estonia.
It develops and manages different registers and information systems. Among these are the Commercial Register, e-Notary, Land Register and information systems of other areas (the court information system, e-Files etc.). There are around 50 registers under the RIK's supervision.
The Commercial Register of Estonia(a place for company registration in Estonia) operates since 1 September 1995.
The portal of the Commercial Register of Estonia is considered unique in Europe because of the fast and convenient establishment of companies that it ensures. For example, it is possible to register a limited liability company in just a few hours by using an ID-card without even leaving one's house. In addition, apart from searching for companies, the portal of companies can be also used to modify the registration details of a company and to submit annual reports electronically.
The Commercial Register of Estonia provides the following services.
Company Registration Portal (CReP - online site for company formation in Estonia)
It is a portal for entrepreneurs by the help of which it is possible to contact registration departments of courts, as well as for the Central Commercial Register so it can perform different duties in this portal.
In this portal, entrepreneurs may submit an entry application, a list of members of a supervisory board with their personal details and relevant modifications, contact details, information on relevant modifications and annual reports.
Residents of Estonia may access the portal by using an ID-card, Mobile-ID or by authenticating through an internet bank.
Residents of Portugal, Finland and Belgium may access the portal by using an ID-card, but citizens of Lithuania - by using a Mobile-ID.
Information system - the Central Commercial Register
It is an online service provided by the Centre of Registers and Information Systems, and this register is based on the database of the registration departments of courts.
This central database comprises digital data from the Commercial Register, Register of Non-profit Associations and Foundations and the Commercial Pledge Register. It is a paid service with a monthly subscription fee of EUR 10 plus the inquiry fee.
By paying the subscription fee, a person can access the information included in the Land Register, Trade Register, Register of Non-profit Associations and Foundations and Commercial Pledge Register.
A Value Added Tax (VAT) payment is added to the service fee. In their turn, users of the Commercial Register can search for information on their related companies, non-governmental organisations and foundations for free.
In order to access this information, a user has to get authorised with an ID-card.
European Business Register (EBR)
It is an online service joining together 24 national business registers in Europe.
This information system is available in English, and thus ensures easy access for most of interested persons.
The service offers searching for companies, information on companies and their profiles. Furthermore, some of the countries provide extensive information on companies, such as annual reports, articles of association, balance sheets, profit and loss statements, extracts from the Trade Register and information on annual profit.
In order to become a user of this service, a contract has to be signed with a service provider from the respective country. The fee for viewing a profile of an Estonian company is EUR 2.75, for viewing its annual report - EUR 6.50, but for viewing its financial data - EUR 12.50.
The most popular forms of enterprise in Estonia are the following:
- joint stock company;
- limited liability company.
It is also possible to register the following forms of enterprise:
- general partnership;
- non-governmental organisation;
- trade association;
- limited partnership;
- branch of a foreign company.
As of July 2011, amongst the companies that were registered the most were also limited liability companies - 954 and limited partnerships - 150. However, there was low level of activity in establishment of foundations, joint stock companies and European companies.
The number of bankrupt enterprises is relatively low. For example, as of July 2011 nine limited liability companies had gone bankrupt, but the number of enterprises in process of liquidation was higher. Nevertheless, the overall statistical data shows ongoing development of entrepreneurship.
The Company Registration Portal of Estonia is the fastest in the world.
The official name of the new world record achieved in Estonia is 'Fastest Time To Register A Private Limited Company Via The Internet'. The Director of the centre Ando Rehemaa explained that the purpose of achieving this record was to show how easy the process of enterprise registration had become in Estonia. An enterprise was established in 18 minutes and 3.05 seconds during the conference 'InnoEstonia 2009'.