State Enterprise Centre of Registers
Registration of Lithuanian companies is performed by the state enterprise Centre of Registers. The Centre of Registers was established by the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Lithuania on 8 July 1997 by using State resources.
The most significant function of the Centre of Registers is management of the following three principal registers of the state:
- Real Property Cadastre and Register
- Register of Legal Entities
- Register of Addresses
The Centre of Registers took over the responsibility to register legal entities from local governments in 2004; however, the company data have been collected by the register since 1990.
In fact, the Centre of Registers is considered an excellent example in the public sector of Lithuania of how to create and develop a system of register databases.
The Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Latvia believes that the most appropriate form of enterprise for management, maintenance and development of registers is exactly a state enterprise, which can gain profit, because it ensures more possibilities to improve efficiency of the registration process. Unlike the institutions financed from the State budget, a state enterprise also has the possibilities to attract appropriate information technology (IT) specialists and to ensure development of IT.
Register of Legal Entities
The Register contains complete information and historical data on the form and status of legal entities, their fields of activity, their size and information on representatives, members, management bodies and obtained licences, etc. of legal entities. Since 2004, most of the companies have to comply with a mandatory requirement to submit annual finance reports to the Register. Likewise, since 2010 private limited liability companies have a duty to declare a list of shareholders by submitting this information to the Centre of Registers.
The Register of Legal Entities applies in practice the principles of transparency and publicity, because the information on legal entities: enterprises, institutions and non-governmental organisations is public.
Statements from the Register of Legal Entities, annual reports, lists of shareholders or any other documents, such as minutes of Board meetings, are kept in the archives of the Centre of Registers, and they are available to all interested persons. This is a paid service.
In 2010, the Centre or Registers launched the electronic registration of legal entities online. Taking into account that no documents are submitted in written form when using this service, a safe electronic signature is necessary. So far, online registration of legal entities has been available only to the citizens of Lithuania, but the Centre of Registers is actively working on ensuring equal possibilities for foreign investors to use this service. Therefore, the e-Guide for establishment of enterprises is introduced in Lithuania to provide foreign customers with the required assistance by offering the information on how to carry out procedures of establishment and registration.
Types of entities
The Centre of Registers offers to register various forms of legal entities. For example:
- a public limited liability company
- a private limited liability company;
- a cooperative enterprise
- an individual enterprise
- a state enterprise
- a budget institution
- an association
- a traditional religious association
- a trade union
- an agricultural company
- a co-operative society
- a credit union
- a municipal enterprise
- a public institution
- a charity and benefits foundation
- a political party
- other religious associations and societies
- a branch or representative office of a foreign company
The Centre of Registers is one of the three providers of certification services in Lithuania. The information trader of the Register of Enterprises of the Republic of Latvia, Lursoft, in cooperation with the Centre of Registers of Lithuania ensures the access to the Lithuania's business database. The business database of Lithuania is integrated with the system of Lursoft, and the inquiries are processed online, thus ensuring that the database is updated at the moment of checking.
Registration of Lithuanian enterprises is governed mainly by the Civil Code of Lithuania, as well as by various specific laws. In the Republic of Lithuania, the Law on State Registers is considered an 'umbrella' law that governs the principles of operation and cooperation of national registers (irrespective of their managers). The laws and regulations of Lithuania make the start of business easier. For example, Lithuania has eliminated the need to submit a sample of a signature as a separate document and to issue a registration certificate as a separate document, as well as the number of days necessary for registration of an enterprise has been reduced from 5 to 3 business days.
Recently the registration of enterprises has been more intensive than previously. For example, 183,382 legal entities have been registered within the fourth quarter of 2010, 184,714 legal entities - within the first quarter of 2011, 186,365 legal entities - within the second quarter of 2011 and 188,329 legal entities - within the third quarter of 2011.
European Business Register
As Lithuania is a part of The European Union, the State Enterprise Centre of Registers is integrated in the European Business Register, which allows them interchangeably.
The European Business Register is a network of national commercial registers providing information from 24 European countries. The European Business Centre ensures an easy access to the necessary information on any of the European enterprises directly from the official register of each country.
It allows everyone to obtain comparable official information on any foreign company for a reasonable fee. It improves the situation of small and medium enterprises, because so far they have had difficulties to obtain information on enterprises within the territory of Europe. Users can search for information on more than 20 million companies throughout Europe.