When you want to start a business in Sweden there are several issues you must take in consideration, for example which type of legal entity to open, which are the rules applied for each type of company, how can you register your business, which is the initial financial effort you have to take in account and other stuff regarding your business plan for a competitive position in the Swedish market.
Below, our lawyers in Sweden explain the main steps when starting a company in this country in 2024.
Available legal entities
|Sole trader, general partnership, limited partnership, private limited liability company, public company, economic association
Minimum share capital
|EUR 5,620 for private companies, EUR 56,200 for public companies
|Minimum number of directors
|2 for private companies, 3 for public companies
|Resident director required (YES/NO)
|Local bank account required (YES/NO)
|Local legal address required (YES/NO)
|Special requirements for foreign investors (YES/NO)
|Residence permits are required for those moving here
|Possibility to hire local staff (YES/NO)
|Incorporation timeframe (approx.)
|Approx. 8 weeks
|Corporate tax rate
|Access to double tax treaties for foreign investors
|YES, approx. 90 double tax treaties
|Business incorporation services (YES/NO)
Table of Contents
What to consider when opening a company in Sweden in 2024
Opening a company, no matter the country an investor decides on, first implies a market analysis based on the industry the business will operate in. Sweden offers numerous business opportunities and setting up an enterprise implies an easy procedure.
There are a few steps to consider before to start the process to open a company in Sweden, and among these we present a few of them:
- study the Company Law in order to choose the right legal structure;
- carefully consider the amount of money to start and run the company;
- obtain information on the licenses to apply for in the industry the company will operate;
- prepare the documents necessary to register the selected business form;
- incorporate the company with the Companies Register.
These steps are meant to ease the registration procedure and can be explained in detail by our Swedish lawyers. We are at your service with advice on how to choose the best legal form in accordance with the activities you want to undertake in this country. Also, all particularities of the selected business entity you have chosen can be provided by our specialists. If you decide to start a business in Sweden, we can help you register it.
The company incorporation process lasts nearly one week, the same as in other developed countries, such as New Zealand where the time frame for opening a company is also one week. Also there are developed countries, such as Finland, where it can last 6 weeks to open a company.
We can also help with accounting services. Our accountants in Sweden offer a wide range of services, including accounting, tax consulting, payroll and employee administration, and management accounting consulting. By choosing to work with us, you will benefit from all the services you would need several specialists if choosing to create an entire department within your company.
The main types of legal forms a Swedish company can take
There are several legal entities the Company Law provides for and that can be used for small, medium, and large-sized operations in Sweden.
Here are the main types of business forms one can use to open a company in Sweden:
- the sole proprietorship which is designed for those interested in operating as single entrepreneurs;
- the partnership which can be general or limited and which is suitable for at least two persons or companies interested in working together;
- the limited liability company which can be private or public and can be employed for most of the activities in this country;
- the branch office and the subsidiary can usually be used by foreign companies seeking to expand their operations in Sweden.
The most employed type of company in Sweden is the private limited liability company as it has several advantages over other forms. Among these, the limited responsibility of the shareholders in respect to the obligations of the business (in case it can no longer pay its debts and it must undergo bankruptcy followed by liquidation and dissolution). In this case, the personal assets of the participants will be protected from repayment of the debts on behalf of the company.
Our law firm in Sweden can help you choose an appropriate business form in accordance with your objectives and register it.
Together with your team of lawyers, our accountants in Sweden make sure that all legal and accounting data complies with national and international standards. We keep track of the most important aspects related to running a company, so that you can focus on expanding your company and making profit.
Our accountants can manage all of your financial department’s duties following Swedish law and regulations, allowing you to concentrate on your main business. To improve the efficiency and control of your financial operations in Sweden, you may automate, standardize, and simplify accounting and reporting procedures with the support of our expert services. Get in touch with our CPA in Sweden for their services.
Short description of the main Swedish legal entities
A sole trader (enskild näringsidkare) is the type of business where you are the only shareholder and all the administrative tasks come in your responsibility. This is the simplest type of legal person to open, especially if you have a personal identity number or co-ordination number in this country. As a sole proprietor, your business will be identified by a personal identity number you will get by the Swedish Tax Agency. If you want to start a business in Sweden as a sole proprietorship, you will also need a residence permit.
When you want to protect the name of your business or you want to make public procurements or when you need to develop certain activities, you must register your company with the Swedish competent authority (Bolagsverket). In any way, you must also register with the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket).
For this type of business there are several taxes which must be paid: social security tax, municipal tax, national income tax and taxes on profits. In Sweden you are entitled to deduct a standard allowance up to 25% for social security contributions.
By choosing to open a Limited Company in Sweden, you will limit your responsibilities in regarding to the company’s debts, as this type of business has its own rights and responsibilities. For this type of business form, we can provide virtual office services in Sweden.
The procedure of opening this legal entity is not complicated, but you must be aware that you must posses a minimum share capital of 50,000 Swedish kronor. You may be the single owner of the business, but at least two persons must register on the company.
You may open a branch in Sweden when you are interested in engaging a business activity in this country. A branch implies a foreign-based company that wants to open an office in this country, with the main characteristic of separate management from the source company. By opening a branch in Sweden you will get a registration number from the Bolagsverket and this legal form must comply with the Swedish laws and regulations.
You may also open a trading partnership by associating with at least one other partner. In this type of business the partners are responsible for the company’s activity, including debts made by the business and it is mandatory to conclude a contract with your partner(s). You will not need a minimum capital for opening a trading partnership in Sweden.
The limited liability partnership is a type of legal entity that is run very much alike to the trading partnership, with the main difference of two different partnerships: general partner and limited partner.
The general partner is responsible for the company’s activity, including the debts made by the business and the limited partner has limited responsibility on his investments.
We are at your disposal with complete services if you want to open a company in Sweden. Sweden has various rules and regulations regarding residence requirements for those migrating to Sweden to set up a business. If you are non-EU/EEA and want to establish a company in Sweden, you must first apply for a residence permit. Our lawyers can also help you in applying for a residency permit.
The legal requirements to open a company in Sweden
When deciding to open a business in Sweden, there are several requirements to comply with which will also help with the quicker registration procedure. Among these, obtaining a legal address for the company (all domestic legal entities must have registered addresses in the city they operate in), opening a corporate bank account, and have the incorporation papers drafted before submission with the Trade Register.
The main steps for incorporating a company in Sweden are:
- deposit the capital shares (if needed) in a bank account and obtain a written statement from that bank institution;
- obtain the registration certificate by applying online to the Swedish Companies Registration Office (Bolagsverket);
- via online you can also apply for tax registration, for example VAT and income;
- register your employers;
- file for preliminary tax return;
- register with the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket).
You can rely on our lawyers in Sweden for guidance in opening a company.
Trading name reservation
After completing the first steps to start a business in Sweden that imply choosing a legal form and drafting a business plan, the first stage in the actual company registration procedure is to choose and reserve the enterprise’s name.
The chosen name must be unique, and it can be reserved online with the Companies House. It is recommended to make sure you verify it before submitting it for approval. Once obtained, the trading name certificate will be used to complete the remaining steps in the incorporation procedure.
Our lawyers in Sweden are at the service of foreign investors who come here for the first time and don’t know what to expect when dealing with the local authorities.
Those who want to ensure enhanced protection of their business names can also register them as trademarks in Sweden. This has become a common practice in many European countries.
The legal address – a mandatory requirement to start a business in Sweden
One of the most important aspects to handle when opening a company in Sweden is having a legal address in the city in which the business is registered. This can be a temporary one until a permanent location is found and for this purpose, the virtual office can be a good option at the beginning of the procedure.
The legal address must be proven through a rental or lease agreement, however, if the company’s shareholder owns real estate or buys a property in Sweden, the property title can be used. In the case of the virtual office, the service contract will suffice.
If you decide on the virtual office, our local law firm can advise on how to choose a suitable option. This is a viable choice as it can be contracted immediately compared to finding a suitable location to use as a registered address.
Our lawyers can offer more information on your legal address options if you want to start a business in Sweden.
Registering for taxation and VAT in Sweden
One of the final steps related to opening a company in Sweden is tax and VAT registration with the Tax Administration. The procedure is different for non-corporate entities, such as sole traders who will use their personal identity number to obtain the tax registration certificate.
In the case of companies, the tax identification number is issued based on the Certificate of Incorporation. When discussing VAT registration, this step can be completed voluntarily alongside tax registration or when the mandatory threshold is reached or if the enterprises engage in activities that require VAT numbers, such as import and export operations. In this case, company representatives may also consider applying for EORI registration for cross-border operations within the European Union.
If you want to start a business in Sweden, we recommend applying for the VAT number when you register the company if you predict you will reach the mandatory turnover in a short time after commencing the activities.
What are the steps to complete after registering a Swedish company?
After the company is registered, the necessary business licenses must be obtained. From this point of view, not all activities require specific permits, only some of them do. Among these are:
- environmental operations;
You can rely on our Swedish law firm for guidance in applying for special licenses when you open a company in Sweden.
Hiring employees in Sweden
No business can run without employees, which is why when opening a business in Sweden, this is one of the most important steps after registration.
The Swedish workforce is a specialized one, so business owners will find no issues when seeking to hire skilled personnel. It is also possible to hire foreign workers, however, in this case an additional step must be completed: applying for work permits in order to bring the foreign employees.
One of the mandatory steps to carry out when hiring employees is for the company to register as an employer, followed by the registration of the employees. In this sense, the workers must also be enrolled for social security and pension contribution.
Employment contracts are usually signed on an indefinite term, however, there are also 4 types of agreements for determined periods, including for persons over the age of 67.
If you want to start a business in Sweden and need advice on the Employment Law, our lawyers can guide you.
What to consider as a foreign investor in Sweden
If you decide to start a business in Sweden as a foreign investor the only additional legal step you need to consider is obtaining a residence permit. However, Sweden also has the investor visa through which you can relocate here by opening a company, which can have several advantages.
Our law firm in Sweden is at the disposal of foreign investors who come here and who need guidance in setting up various types of businesses. We can help them by starting the registration procedure before they arrive, so that the final steps are completed once they enter the country. For this purpose, a power of attorney will be requested by one of our specialists.
Why open a company in Sweden
Sweden is one of the most appealing economies in Northern Europe and many foreign investors decide to open companies here thanks to the well-regulated business environment. Sweden offers plenty of opportunities in many sectors, among which the manufacturing and services industries are quite prolific.
Foreign investors who want to come to Sweden can immigrate here by starting a business which will enable them to obtain residence permits and settle here for running their operations. The good quality of life is another aspect that attracts foreigners interested to move and open a company in Sweden. We invite you to find out more on this topic from our video below:
Swedish companies and their operations
At the level of 2020, most businesses operating in Sweden were small and medium-sized companies, according to Statista.com, as it follows:
- a little over 181,000 were operating in the professional, technical and services sectors;
- 112,798 were operating in the logistics and distribution industry;
- 98,801 were construction companies;
- 64,170 were IT and communication businesses;
- the manufacturing and real estate sectors accounted for more than 44,000 companies each.
If you are planning to open a company in Sweden in 2024, you are recommended to get in touch with our lawyers. They can guide you about the updated incorporation procedures.
Foreign direct investments in Sweden
According to the most recent data from Statistics Sweden (SCB), foreign direct investment (FDI) in the Swedish market hit a record-breaking USD 49.256 billion in 2022. This is over a 3-times rise from the previous year and an all-time high.
The overall value of Sweden’s FDI stock is USD 358 million. 66% percent of foreign-owned assets are in the services sector, while 34% are in manufacturing. According to a recent survey on the investment climate in Sweden, 82% of responding foreign-owned businesses intend to increase their local presence.
FDI inflows to Sweden hit USD 22.6 billion in the first semester of 2022, up more than 40% from the same time the previous year, according to the most recent OECD estimates.
Do not hesitate to contact us for more information on how to start a business in Sweden.