How to Register as a Self-Employed Person (SZČO) in Slovakia
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Like many other European Union countries, Slovakia is an excellent choice to start your own business. Located in the heart of Europe, it gives access to a huge consumer base. The most common business form in Slovakia is a SŽČO. It is easy to establish, and almost a full registration process can be done in one place.
Disclaimer: Be aware that this article is not a substitute for legal advice. Please always check official websites or seek legal advice before you take action.
Who is a self-employed person in Slovakia?
A self-employed person (Samostatne zárobkovo činná osoba - SZČO) is a natural person who carries out a sole activity. For example, it is a person who:
- operates as a trader or a craftsman, conducts business on the basis of a trade license (fast-food operator, photographer, hairdresser, shoemaker);
- performs a non-trade profession (tax advisor, notary, lawyer);
- performs agricultural production (the so-called self-employed farmer).
Obtaining a trade license in Slovakia
A self-employed person is conducting business on the basis of a trade license or of a non-trade license under special regulations and a person carrying out agricultural production. Thus, to operate as a self-employed person, first, you need to apply for a trade license.
Each district trade licensing office has established a so-called Point of single contact (Jednotné kontaktné miesta - JKM). Their task is not only to issue trade licenses but also to advise and provide information on the conditions of operation of the trade. Their services are free.
The same conditions apply to Slovak citizens as to foreigners. The whole process of acquiring a trade license has been greatly simplified, and the entire procedure takes place at the trade licensing office only. The trade licensing office itself will provide you with an extract from the criminal record. They will also arrange for registration with the tax office and the health insurance for you.
To obtain a trade license, you will need:
JKMs register self-employed persons only for payers of income tax.
You will be assigned a tax identification number (TIN). Applications for other types of taxes, such as employment tax, value added tax, excise duties, and others, must be submitted directly to the local tax office.
Health and Social Insurance in Slovakia
As a self-employed person in Slovakia, you are obliged to pay contributions to health and social insurance. The registration for both will also be done at JKM.
The non-residents of the EU or Switzerland need to register in the Commercial Register. They need to have at least a temporary residence permit to be able to register in the Commercial Register. You can apply for your trade license immediately after the entry into the Commercial Register. Registration in the Commercial Register is not required if the resident has permanent residence in an EU country or Switzerland.
The bank will naturally try to persuade you to open a business account, the maintenance of which is slightly more expensive than a current account of a private person. However, as a self-employed person, you can also use a current personal account for business.