Estonia is a member state of the European Union. The country is located in the north of Europe on the shores of the Baltic Sea. Estonia’s economy is growing rapidly. Starting a business in Estonia has unique advantages: for example, there is no tax on retained earnings and no capital gains tax. Financial reporting is required for all businesses, but small businesses are allowed to file abbreviated accounts and not be audited.
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Accounting in Estonia is regulated by the Accounting Act. Accounting rules and forms of financial statements must comply with the Estonian generally accepted accounting principles or international financial reporting standards approved by the European Commission.
Financial statements must include the main reports:
Annual reports shall be in Estonian and in euros (EUR).
In accordance with the Accounting Act, companies are classified into different categories depending on reporting figures on the reporting date.
Annual reports must be filed with the Commercial Register even if the company did not make transactions in the financial year.
According to the Accounting Act, micro and small enterprises can, based on the Estonian financial reporting standard, make a condensed annual report instead of a full annual report, including at least two main reports (balance sheet and profit and loss statement) and notes to accounts.
Medium-sized and large enterprises must make their annual report in full. A full annual report is also compulsory for non-profit associations and foundations.
Annual reports must be presented in electronic form via the e-business register.
Books of accounts, ledgers, contracts, financial statements, reports and other business documents necessary to reconstruct business transactions during inspections must be kept by the accounting entity during 7 years as of the end of the relevant financial year.
Audit of financial statements is regulated by the Auditors Activities Act. The International Standards on Auditing (standards of the IAASB) are the basis for auditing in accordance with the Act.
Audit or inspection of an annual report is compulsory for companies that meet two conditions on the reporting date:
Audit is also compulsory for entities that are subject to accounting requirements and meet at least one of the following three conditions on the reporting date:
Audit is also obligatory for all joint-stock companies, entities that are subject to requirements of state accounting, local governments, public institutions, foundations and state-financed political parties.
A company’s financial year lasts 12 months. Financial year normally coincides with calendar year (from 1 January to 31 December), but a different financial year can be stated in the company’s articles of association. When selecting the most suitable financial year it should be taken into account that the selected 12 consecutive months should correspond with the operating cycle of the accounting entity. Financial year must always start on the first day of a month and end on the last day of a month (for example, it starts on 1 January and ends on 31 December).
The deadline for filing an annual report in Estonia is 6 months after the end of the financial year.
In case a company fails to present an annual report, the Registrar issues a notice of removal from the register of companies and obliges the company to present the annual report within the prescribed period. If the company fails to present the annual report, the Registrar can remove the company from the Commercial Register in accordance with the Commercial Code.
According to the Accounting Act, an enterprise that has at least one subsidiary must prepare a consolidated annual report of the group of companies.
A group of companies consists of a consolidating enterprise (parent enterprise) and consolidated enterprises (subsidiaries).
Small consolidated groups are not required to present a consolidated report.
Small consolidated group is a consolidated group where at most one of its consolidated figures exceeds conditions set for small enterprises on the date of the balance sheet of the reporting year:
Furthermore, the following companies are exempt from the obligation to prepare a consolidated annual report of the group of companies:
Medium-sized and large consolidated groups of companies must prepare full consolidated financial statements.