Business registration in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan is undeniably open for business – and the procedure is straightforward and cost-effective
The forthcoming second TEAS France–Azerbaijan Business Forum, subtitled Towards a Diversified and Decentralised Economic Partnership, will take place at L’Hôtel de l’Industrie in Paris on 13 May.
In anticipation of this event, TEAS has partnered with the Bakou Francophones association (https://bakoufr.wordpress.com) to write a series of articles and interviews outlining the opportunities and realities of operating in the country.
The first of these explains how to create a limited company in Azerbaijan:
The process of creating a limited company, known as Məhdud Məsuliyyətli Cəmiyyət (MMC) in Azerbaijani, is very simple. Other than linguistic barriers, the main challenge for foreigners is gaining understanding of how to initiate the process, who to speak with, and some aspects of Azerbaijani administration.
Some companies specialise in registering businesses in Azerbaijan, and these services typically cost around €800 (£577.7). However, self-registration of a business costs between €50–100 (£36.1–£72.2), excluding translation costs.
There are five steps for business registration:
- Obtaining the necessary business registration forms
- Completing the forms (in Azerbaijani language)
- Legalising and translating foreign documents
- Submitting the registration documents and company certificates
- Opening an Azerbaijani bank account and depositing the capital.
Step 1: Obtaining the necessary business registration forms
The complete submission for registering a business, in person, comprises the following:
- A formal letter of intent to create a business
- A form to register the MMC (Azerbaijani: Kommersiya hüquqi şəxsinin dövlət qeydiyyatı haqqında ərizə)
- A form confirming the identity of the founder/founders (Azerbaijani: Kommersiya hüquqi şəxsinin dövlət qeydiyyatı haqqında ərizə)
- The statutes of the company (Azerbaijani: Nizamnaməsi)
- Authorisation and proof of company domiciliation (Azerbaijani: Raziliq ərizəsi)
- Confirmation of professional activity
- Confirmation of registration fee payment.
Documents 1–5 can be obtained in person from the Azerbaijani Centre for Company Registration (division of the Taxation Ministry) at 105, G. Aliyev Prospekt from Monday–Friday, opening times: 10–18hrs (closed 13–14hrs). The forms can also be downloaded at http://bit.ly/azdocumentsrequired.
All office personnel speak fluent English and Russian. The documents are in Azerbaijani, and are supplied with instructions.
It is worth saving electronic versions of the documents on a USB key so they can be easily modified, if necessary.
Document 6 (Confirmation of professional activity) can be sourced from a local employer or, preferably, a previous employer. This attests to current and past professional activity, and must be translated into Azerbaijani. The Centre can assist with translation.
Document 7 (Confirmation of registration fee payment) can be obtained from a branch of Kapital Bank, the headquarters of which is near the 28 May Commercial Centre in Central Baku. The Centre will explain how to easily pay the registration costs.
Step 2: Completing the forms (in Azerbaijani language)
All MMC registration documents are in Azerbaijani, and it is suggested that the assistance of an Azerbaijani or Turkish speaker should be sought. However, if this proves impossible, the translation centre is located below Notary Office No.1, 43 Uzeyir Hajibeyov Street. It is possible to supply the information in English to complete the registration forms for a total cost of €40 (£28.9).
Please note that the forms specify the declaration of the company capital. This should be deposited in an Azerbaijani bank account within three months, following company registration.
When completing Document 5 (Authorisation of company domiciliation), it is necessary to have a letter of authorisation completed and signed by the company owner, giving the legal address of the company, together with a copy of the premises leasehold contract (in Azerbaijani) or a copy of the purchase agreement, if the company owns the premises. Some letting agents are reluctant to sign domiciliation authorisation documents. If they fail to do so, the Fiscal Administration authorities will be informed of the location and will generally levy a habitation tax on the letting agent.
Step 3: Legalising and translating foreign documents
Documents 1, 3 and 5 need to be legalised by a notary. It is possible to seek advice from Notarial Office No. 46, located in Zarifa Alieyeva Road. Legal costs should total around €36 (£26).
Step 4: Submitting the registration documents and company certificates
The registration dossier should be submitted to the Azerbaijani Centre for Company Registration. It is necessary to verify the completeness of the submission at the Centre. One week later, the Centre should be contacted, and the submitter should receive a plastic card containing a unique registration number that acts as the registration certificate.
Step 5: Opening an Azerbaijani bank account and depositing the capital
Following the company registration, it is necessary to open a bank account within three months and to deposit 100 per cent of the company capital.
The International Bank of Azerbaijan offers the ideal service, as it provides a receipt for receiving the company capital, and the Azerbaijani Centre for Company Registration is automatically notified.
Several months after company registration, it is necessary to contact the Fiscal Administration authorities to declare the company profits.
To see the programme for the TEAS France–Azerbaijan Business Forum, go to http://teas.eu/bfp2015.