Representation of foreign companies in Ukraine

Ukraine has a favorable geographical location, which makes exports and imports from Europe, America, and Asia quite convenient for entrepreneurs from all over the world. Tax rates in Ukraine are low compared to other countries.

Also, after the victory in the war with russia, Ukraine will be a great area for foreign investment and international business expansion.

So, what does a foreign company need to do to successfully enter the Ukrainian market?

To begin with, you need to decide what form of incorporation your company will take.

Usually, international companies register a new subsidiary with a foreign founder in the form of a Limited Liability Company (LLC).

In fact, registering an LLC has a number of advantages:

- LLC is an independent legal entity acting in all relations on its own behalf;

- the liability of LLC shareholders is limited by their contributions to the authorized capital, which may be even in the amount of one UAH;

- acts on the basis of the Articles of Association;

- may be a founder of other LLCs, establish its own branches and representative offices;

- the LLC signs Agreements on its own behalf, not on behalf of the parent company;

- the parent company may sell its share in the LLC at any time;

- fast registration. An LLC can be registered in just 24 hours.

From a legal point of view, registration of a subsidiary in the form of an LLC is simpler as well as cheaper, and the regulation of its activities is more structured than in the case of foreign representative offices.

So, what are the features of registering a representative office of a foreign company in Ukraine?

It should be noted that a Representative Office carries out its activities to serve the interests of a foreign company and acts only on its behalf. For example, if the Representative Office of Apple enters into a Supply Agreement with MOBILOCHKA LLC, then, from a legal point of view, it will be considered as if Apple itself entered into the Agreement with MOBILOCHKA LLC, and if the Representative Office violates the terms of the Agreement, the foreign company will be liable for the obligations. A foreign representative office cannot be sold to anyone, and its activities can be terminated only through its liquidation.

Representative office registration is a lengthy procedure that may take more than 60 business days. In addition, to register a representative office, you need to pay one subsistence minimum income, as opposed to registering an LLC, which takes 24 hours and does not require payment of an administrative fee.

In addition, if the translator made a mistake during the name translation of the representative office, then you can only hope for the "pretty eyes" and communication skills of your lawyer, since there is no regulatory act that would provide a procedure for amending the name of the representative office. In order to change the name of an LLC, you just need to adopt a Resolution or Minutes of the Shareholders meeting regarding the name change and submit Form 2 to the Register.

To begin with, there are two types of representative offices:

- Permanent representative offices: Permanent representative offices can receive funds both from the parent company and from the sale of goods or services. In any case, the funds received are subject to taxation.

- Non-permanent representative offices: These representative offices perform a representative function and receive funds from the parent company that are intended to cover their expenses and support their activities. Non-permanent representative offices do not pay income tax, as their income is used only to support their activities and representative functions.

It is important to note that such names of representative offices are conventional and do not limit the period of their activity in Ukraine.

One more advantage of registering a representative office is that its employees do not need to obtain a work permit. The exact number of foreign employees is specified in the representative office registration certificate (as a rule, it is 3 persons, but the maximum number may be increased).

Therefore, if the benefits of registering a representative office seem to be the key for you, you will need the following documents to submit it to the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine:

1. Application for registration of a foreign representative office signed by the head of the representative office;

2. Extract from the trade register of the country where the foreign company is registered;

3. Original bank statement where the foreign company's account is opened;

4. A power of attorney addressed to a person who will perform representative functions in Ukraine;

5. Documents must be notarized at the place of their issuance, apostilled (legalized) properly and translated by a Ukrainian translator with the appropriate certification;

6. Receipt of state fee payment in the amount of one subsistence minimum.

After reviewing your application, the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine makes a decision to register or refuse registration of a foreign company's representative office.

After successful registration and obtaining special service cards for the employees of the representative office, you must register with the tax authorities, the State Pension Fund and the State Statistics Service of Ukraine.

Summarizing the above, the choice between registering an LLC and a Representative Office of a foreign company in Ukraine depends on the specific circumstances and goals of your business, as each option has its advantages and disadvantages.

If your goal is to conduct active business in Ukraine, then registering an LLC may be a better option. But if the main focus is on the representative function and receiving funds from the parent company without further taxation, then a representative office of a foreign company will be the most profitable option.

However, if the activity is future-oriented, the best option may be to open both a representative office and a subsidiary, as this allows you to clearly distinguish between commercial and non-commercial activities of the company, reduce taxation risks and minimize the negative impact of potential currency restrictions.

Nevertheless, we strongly recommend you to consult with experienced legal advisors before making a decision about registration in order to properly analyze all aspects and possible consequences of the chosen option.

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