Benefits and problems of registering a company in Iran
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Benefits and problems
Benefits of Iran company registration
- Business set up in Iran is easy because:
- It is possible to incorporate a private limited company in Iran within 4 weeks. At least 2 shareholders and 1 director will be appointed, who can be of any nationality. Consequently, these companies can be 100% foreign owned;
- The minimum paid up share capital required to register an LLC in Iran is only €40 and our Clients will not be required to travel to complete the engagement;
- After the company has been setup, Healy Consultants Group PLC can assist foreign investors and directors to apply and secure for a residence license for working and living in Iran;
- Majority of the business activities allow foreign shareholders to fully own a limited liability company in Iran.
- Within two years, Healy Consultants expects trade sanctions to be lifted. Consequently, foreign entrepreneurs from all countries will be able to freely trade with Iran. This presents the following opportunities to our Clients:
- After the US sanctions were lifted on Iran in 2016, an increasing number of investors are considering to set up a business in the newly opened Iranian market and to market their services and products to its huge population;
- Iran has a huge domestic market of 65 million people and also offers access to 300 million potential customers in its neighboring countries. Thus, our Clients will be able to market their goods/services to a huge consumer base. That said the average annual income per capita is only US$4,800;
- Iran has a vast network of roadways and railways, the most extensive in Central Asia. Furthermore, the sea ports and air ports connect with all countries across the region. This will help our Clients optimize distribution costs;
- Due to its oil and gas reserves, Iran’s electricity costs are amongst the lowest in the world at 0.027 cents per kilowatt hour;
- Monthly wages in Iran vary between US$240 and US$320;
- The Economist Intelligence Unit named Tehran amongst the 10 least expensive cities in the world. Hence, our Clients will find it cheap to setup and run their business in Iran, including office and warehouse rental.
- Iranian companies will enjoy substantial business incentives in the country including:
- Investment in the Iranian free zones will offer our Clients i) 100% corporate tax exemption for 20 years ii) exemption from custom duties on exported raw materials, semi-finished goods and machinery iii) exemption from applying for visa for entry into the zones and iv) possibility of land purchase for foreigners inside the zones;
- All companies registering in Iran will receive up to 50% exemption on their corporate taxes if they export up to 30% of their annual produce;
- There are no withholding taxes levied on dividends in Iran. Also, capital gains arising from the i) sale of shares of listed companies and ii) real estate transactions are exempt from tax;
- Companies investing in manufacturing/industrial activities and mining activities in Iran will receive 80% corporate tax exemption on their annual profits for 4 years. If the investment is made in less developed parts of the country, the tax exemption received will be 100% for a period of 10 years;
- Iran registered companies which re-invest a portion of their annual profits in existing or new industrial/mining projects will receive 50% corporate tax exemption applicable to the amount re-invested;
- Companies engaging primarily in agriculture based business will receive 100% exemption on their income tax liabilities. Also, income from export of agricultural and industrial produce will be exempt of all Iranian taxes;
- Income derived from investment in education & training activities and sports related activities will be legally corporate tax exempt;
- Companies investing in the tourism industry and carrying necessary permits from the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance will receive 50% corporate tax exemption annually;
- Iran has signed DTAs with 42 countries including China, France, Germany, South Africa and Spain to reduce withholding tax on payments abroad.
Problems with Iran company registration
- While setting up an Iranian company is time-consuming but straight forward, doing business in the country will be cumbersome for foreign entrepreneurs because:
- Due to an increased number of investors interested to set up their business in Iran, the company registration can take up to 2 months to secure company registration numbers;
- Corruption and inefficient bureaucracy plagues the Iranian Government. As a result, working with the authorities can cost a lot of money (bribes) and time;
- The judicial system in Iran is highly inefficient, with the World Bank negatively ranking the country as 62nd best in the world for enforcing contracts. Consequently, our Clients will not be able to depend on the law for resolving business disputes;
- The corporate banking system is under-developed. Basic corporate services including credit cards are not available in Iran;
- The Iranian system favours men over women. Hence, female entrepreneurs are discouraged from working in Iran;
- While Iran has the highest number of internet users in the Middle East, it also has the most restrictive internet censorship setup in the region. Basic sites like Google Plus, Facebook and Twitter have been blocked by the Iranian Government;
- For all the reasons listed above, the World Bank negatively ranked Iran as the 118th best country in the world in their annual Doing Business survey.
- Foreign entrepreneurs will find it harder to find qualified labor because:
- Iran has the highest rate of brain drain in the world with 1/4th of all college educated individuals leaving the country. This makes it harder to find qualified labor in the country;
- Iranian companies are mandated to hire at least 3 local employees, before they can hire 1 non-Iranian national;
- Less than 5% of Iranian citizens speak fluent English;
- Human rights abuse is a common problem in Iran. The country religiously follows the Sharia law which favours Muslim men over all other individuals. Consequently, foreign workers are reluctant to work in Iran.
- Iran faces several political issues including:
- Iran currently faces sanctions from the United States and the European Union which has adversely affected its oil revenue. Furthermore, this also discourages foreign companies from entering Iran for the fear of US reprisals;
- Because of trade sanctions, Iran’s currency Rial is amongst the most volatile currencies in the world. Furthermore, the use of foreign currency including the US dollar and the Euro is heavily regulated by the country’s Central Bank;
- Iran also faces recurrent political violence. Therefore, our Clients must stay cautious of the problems of repeated strikes, demonstrations and in some cases, bomb blasts in the country;
- The USA Administration is not positively inclined towards Iran and is looking at imposing additional sanctions in the future.
- Business set up in Iran is easy because:
Best uses for a Iran company
Growth in an increasingly open economy
- Sanctions have forced Iranians to innovate in order to supplant systems and services that have been denied to them by sanctions. Now that sanctions are being relaxed and removed, this ingenuity will be combined with increased FDIs and better capital flows.