Our website uses  cookies for statistical purposes.

Our Articles

Open a Foundation in Serbia

Open a Foundation in Serbia

Charities or non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Serbia are non-profit entities meant to collect funds for particular projects. The foundations, the associations, and the endowments are three common legal structures or NGOs that can be established in Serbia and that cannot develop partnerships with private institutions or political parties.

Foreign investors looking to open a foundation in Serbia can talk to our team of company formation specialists in Serbia and find out information about the requirements in this sense.

Endowments vs. foundations under the legal framework in Serbia

The Endowments and Foundations Act delineates an endowment as a legal entity, lacking members, to which its founder assigns certain property (assets, rights, and funds) for the realization of either a general public interest or a permissible private interest as per the law. 

Conversely, a foundation is described as a legal entity devoid of members and property, established to pursue a general public interest that complies with legal regulations. In essence, endowments and foundations operate as non-profit, non-governmental organizations dedicated to serving society.

How can I open a charity in Serbia?

Individuals from abroad, whether entrepreneurs or not, can easily establish a foundation in Serbia without having to worry about a minimum share capital. On the other hand, businessmen interested in establishing an endowment should prepare a minimum share capital of EUR 30,000. We invite you to take a look at a few of the general requirements for opening a foundation in Serbia, with the mention that our Serbian team of company formation agents can help you with the registration formalities:

  • foundation can own a property to commence and pursue its activities;
  • it is strictly forbidden to own property as a member or a manager of a charity in Serbia;
  • at least three natural or legal persons can establish a foundation in Serbia;
  • the wages of the management board must not surpass double the average salary in Serbia.

Knowing the general rules for opening an NGO in Serbia will help foreigners decide on the type of foundation they are interested in. We are here to help you register a company in Serbia and also a charity.

The difference between a public charity and a private foundation

There is a clear difference between public charities and private foundations. While the former cannot make grants and rather deal with charities and provide various services, private foundations not only deal with the specific activities of this structure but may be the subject of grants. Here are other interesting details about the two entities:

  • Most of the funds of a public charity come, as the name implies, from the public. This is where either individuals or government corporations come into play.
  • Regarding private foundations, the money comes from the people who take care of the respective foundation, and here can be included all the family members or the corporations they manage.
  • Normally, private foundations do not get involved in fundraising, while public charities do.
  • If private foundations do not need a board of directors, public foundations must be controlled by such a board, but without family degrees.

The activities of a foundation in Serbia

The non-profit organizations in Serbia are usually seen in sectors like science, medicine, environmental protection, social child care, education, culture, or sustainable development, but not limited to these. Foundations can establish a series of humanitarian programs and collect funds as the main activities. It is good to know that a charity in Serbia must register an economic activity as the main purpose of such an entity. Here’s what other things you can do with a foundation in Serbia:

  • You can turn your attention to disadvantaged areas and help modernize them.
  • Education is very important anywhere in the world. If you want to open a foundation in Serbia and get involved in this field, then you can think about implementing technology in institutions that need it.

Documents required for a foundation in Serbia

Documents required for the registration of a foundation in Serbia include those of the founders, the certificate of registration of the respective entity, legalized copies of passports, and a document attesting to the objectives of the respective foundation. The authorities will also request the notarized version of the Memorandum or Resolution of the foundation and resolution on the establishment in Serbia attesting to the founding documents of the foundation.

Therefore, there are a number of documents that can be used to set up a foundation in Serbia. Therefore, you can get in touch with us and discover our services in terms of the registration of a public or private entity.

Major conditions for foundations in Serbia

Opening a foundation in Serbia is a relatively simple process, but it is preferable to consider the support of specialists in the field. We recommend that you familiarize yourself with the following aspects related to opening a charity in Serbia, in order to better understand the structure and find out what the most important conditions are:

  • Foundations in Serbia can be registered by one person or a group of persons. Also, a legal entity in Serbia can be a charity founder.
  • The Deed of the Foundation is a document that must include information about the purpose and goals of the charity in Serbia.
  • A foundation can have a board of directors, where the founder of the charity, chairperson, and managing director also have their place.
  • The director of the foundation in Serbia can be a family member if the founder so wishes. Foreigners with residency in Serbia are also accepted.
  • There are no restrictions regarding the founders of a charity. They can be from Serbia or other countries.

If you want support in opening a charity in Serbia, all you have to do is consult us by phone or online. 

Is capital needed to open a foundation in Serbia?

No, capital is not required to establish a foundation in Serbia. This represents an advantage for those interested in such an entity and who want to work in various fields.

In which sectors of interest can a charity be opened in Serbia?

Foundations in Serbia can be opened in areas such as:

  • Social,
  • Education,
  • Culture,
  • humanitarian protection,
  • Health.

The founders together with the managing directors have a series of responsibilities in the sector of interest in which they operate. Activities include gathering funds to be directed to the centers, agencies, and projects that need money to develop. A fundraiser through charity can go towards the opening of new health centers for the population. Many local and foreign entrepreneurs activate with the help of foundations and turn their attention to the social environment in Serbia, where financial aid is needed for various impactful projects. Whatever your choice, we advise you to consult us to be able to register your charity in Serbia.

VAT imposition on a foundation in Serbia

Because the charities in Serbia have no financial activities and make no profits, these are exempt from any taxation. This means that there is no VAT imposed and no other taxes for humanitarian products that enter from abroad. 

Services and tax considerations for charity establishment in Serbia

The cost of the charity establishment service covers several aspects, including the setup of the Serbian foundation, the appointment of the managing director and members of the board of directors, and the payment of state duties. 

Additionally, it is required to provide core assets to the foundation, which must be valued at a minimum of 30,000 euros and can be in the form of money, securities, or property. Any subsequent transfer of additional funds to the Serbian foundation or withdrawal of funds from it is subject to a 2.5% tax.

If you have additional questions about the establishment of a charitable foundation in Serbia, please get in touch with our specialists. Our company incorporation consultants in Serbia can answer your concerns in detail. With their expert guidance and practical assistance, you can also set up a company in Serbia without unnecessary delays. 

Volunteering with the help of foundations in Serbia

Foundations in Serbia can benefit from help from volunteers for various projects established or ongoing in this country. Volunteering is very important for society, and charity owners can receive such help for projects involving youth, environmental causes, seniors, local communities, and groups. In the last decade, most foundations have directed their attention to projects involving children and young people for which they have raised funds and continue to do so. We remind you that it is very important to have specialized support for company formation in Serbia.

In the present case, if the foundation is the structure you have planned, our local agents can prepare the necessary documents and offer the support you need in collaboration with the local authorities for registration.

Key features and legal framework of Serbian foundations

The unique aspect of Serbian foundations lies in their establishment, which allows individuals to create the foundation without being designated as beneficiaries, thus exempting them from financial control and information exchange regulations. Governed by the 2010 Law on Endowments and Foundations, a foundation, devoid of members, receives initial funds or assets from the founder, deemed as core assets, to fulfill objectives outlined in its by-laws. 

These objectives can serve charitable or private purposes. Non-profit entities, whether residents or non-residents, can serve as founders, leveraging favorable treatment from banks, which open accounts and recognize the managing director as the beneficiary. By transferring funds, the founder effectively separates his/her property, limiting commercial risks to the actions of the foundation director. 

Moreover, the foundation, akin to a Serbian association, holds the legal capacity to engage in commercial activities, ensuring compliance with the law. Notably, a Serbian charity foundation may own other companies, providing an alternative to a holding structure while maintaining founders’ financial information confidentiality. 

Founders can also serve as supervisory board members or legal representatives, indirectly managing the foundation, with assets legally distinct but practically safeguarded under the foundation’s governance. Furthermore, legal entities, including associations, can act as founders, broadening the scope of potential stakeholders.

If you require further insight into the legal structure governing charitable organizations in Serbia, our incorporation specialists are here to provide guidance and assistance.

Additionally, if you are considering opening a company in Serbia, such as a branch office, please don’t hesitate to consult us for expert support and consultation.

Serbia’s FDI landscape: trends and insights

Serbia is a country valued in terms of investment and business climate. The state offers many advantages to those who want to develop their activities and enjoy generous profits. Although not yet part of the European Union, Serbia has developed excellent economic relations with EU member states, as well as with Turkey and Russia.

Here are interesting statistics about Serbia’s economy:

  • In 2023, Serbia attracted USD 4.5 billion in foreign direct investment, approximately 6.1% of its GDP, according to the National Bank of Serbia;
  • The World Investment Report 2023 by UNCTAD noted that FDI inflows in 2022 were USD 4.6 billion, consistent with the previous year. By the end of 2022, the total FDI stock reached USD 53.5 billion;
  • According to the national investment agency’s latest data, leading countries with FDI in Serbia include Germany (13.5%), the U.S. (10.9%), Russia (10.9%), China (10.5%), and Austria (7.3%); 
  • The main sectors by the number of projects include automotive (17%), agriculture, food, and beverage (15%), textile (7.5%), electrical and electronics (6.2%), and construction (5%).

Besides these figures, we also invite you to get in touch with our Serbian company formation agents and ask about how you can open a foundation in Serbia.

Additionally, we provide various services in Serbia. For instance, if your company requires accounting services, you can confidently depend on our company formation agents in Serbia.

Our Serbian accountants are well-equipped to assist with all your accounting needs, ensuring compliance and efficiency in your financial operations. Whether it’s managing taxes, financial reporting, or any other accounting-related tasks, our team is dedicated to providing reliable and professional services tailored to meet your specific requirements. Contact us for our services.