We get this question a lot from our customers, and there’s a lot of misinformation floating around on the internet (that shouldn’t surprise you), so we wanted to share some answers.
The first thing to know is that we work very closely with the Estonian tax office — literally, we’re based in the same building as them. That’s how close we are. 2 floors away.
There are two main avenues to get paid by the company that you own as an Estonian e-resident: either salary or dividends. In short, Estonia usually doesn’t tax the salary paid to people living outside the country. There is also no corporate income tax until you pay out the profits as dividends. If your company has retained €100 profit, dividend payment triggers €20 corporate income tax.
However, this article is only discussing Estonian taxes. Your personal income or dividends can be taxed in your country of residence, and you need to consult your local authorities or advisors about taxes that apply to you. You can also read more extensively into taxes in our dedicated FAQs.
You can pay yourself a salary at any time from the available funds of your company (of course, you can’t do this at the expense of your creditors).
If you are a non-resident who performs the duties abroad, no taxes are due in Estonia.
However, if you spend significant time on administration of your Estonian company as a board member (for example, restructuring it, or in some disputes, etc.) you may be required to declare part of your salary as a board member fee. These payments are subject to Estonian withholding income tax at a rate of 20%.
With Xolo Leap, Xolo usually takes care of all business administration and the owner is required to spend minimal time on approving their annual report and other similar tasks to manage their Estonian-registered company. In this case, your role as a board member reduces significantly.
Please note that your salary may have to be declared in your country of tax residency, and for example, counted as part of your personal taxable income.
And that’s pretty much it. You just need to pay directly from your business account to your personal account with the description ‘Salary payment’. No payslips necessary.
You can also declare and pay dividends from the retained profits of your company. You can pay dividends only if your company’s net assets in your last annual report were higher than the share capital limits. In other words, your company must remain solvent and sufficiently financed.
Dividends are typically paid once a year. The payments may also be periodical (e.g. twice a year).
Your company will pay 20% corporate income tax at the moment of paying the dividends (this is calculated as 20/80 on the net amount of dividends paid). Please note this is not a personal income tax but a deferred corporate income tax! If you choose to pay regular dividends, you may be eligible to apply for a reduced corporate income tax rate (14%). However, withholding income tax will be due at the rate of 7%.
You may still need to declare your received dividends in the country of your residence and pay income tax from it. However, in many countries, the tax on dividends is lower than on salary payments.