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Denmark

Start-ups

Updated 07/2012

Legal requirements

The following laws apply to setting up a company in Denmark:

Most legislation is governed by EU directives. Regulations on establishing economic interest groups, European limited liability co-operatives and European companies are covered by the following laws:

If you move to Denmark, you have the right to make use of the services provided by the Danish health care system. This includes free medical assistance. This includes free medical assistance.

Legal forms of business organisation

A wide variety of businesses can be set up in Denmark. The first thing to do is decide which legal form to adopt:

Companies with limited liability:

Business activities and related rules

There are special rules and training or registration requirements that apply to certain business activities. They apply to:

Business plans and evaluation

A business plan can be a useful tool when setting up a business. It is a systematic review of the business idea, and contains a description of the basic business idea, financing and market. A business plan is required if you want to apply for financial support from banks, etc.

To succeed, a new business needs a sound commercial strategy and secure financing.

Some standard requirements to be completed when setting up a business are the same as when opening a branch.

Administrative procedures

One-stop shops

The Services Directive is a European act that will make life easier for companies which offer services within the EU - in their home country or abroad. The directive established the rules that apply for entrepreneurs who want to found a company or who want to provide a temporary service within the EU/EEA (the 27 Member States plus Iceland, Lichtenstein, and Norway). It requires the Member States to remove all unnecessary bureaucracy, simplify formalities for companies and make public administration more effective.

So as to implement the directive, each Member State must establish “One-stop Shops”, which are e-government portals that can assist companies to complete their administrative procedures online. The one-stop shops provide comprehensive information on all administrative requirements in relation to founding or expanding a service business in a specific country. For example, this includes:

  • Which licences, certificates or other permits necessary should I obtain so as to start a new business (at home or abroad)?
  • What should I do when I want to offer my services abroad temporarily?
  • What should I do to apply for a licence? Which is the responsible authority?
  • Do I need to pay fees for the licences? What deadlines are in effect?
  • Which laws and regulations exist for my sector?
  • For example, what must I do to establish a restaurant or a shop? Or to work as a travel agent in another country without starting a company?
  • Where can I go for personal advice and further information?

With the one-stop shops, you no longer need to go to different authorities one by one!! The one-stop shop provides you with the opportunity to find all relevant information and to send your online application to the responsible authority through a single contact point, the one-stop shop. You can carry out your administrative formalities electronically through the one-stop shop in the country that you want to do business in.

All one-stop shops are a part of the European EUGO-network. You can easily access all one-stop shops in Europe through a centralised website.  The one-stop shop service is of course just one option. You can always approach the relevant authorities directly.

At Virk.dk you can set up a business and find all the forms you will need to make the necessary declarations on behalf of the company. For example, you can submit VAT and other tax declarations here, as well as changing your company information.

Registering a company

Business registration

To start a business, you need to register directly via Virk.dk, or contact the Danish Business Authority, which will send you a registration form.

All commercial funds must be registered with the Danish Business Authority. The initial capital must be at least DKK 300 000.

Companies must be registered with the Danish Business Authority in Danish. If the company is registered in another language, you must attach an authorised translation. Exceptions may be allowed in special cases for the registration of subsidiaries of foreign companies. A full list of the registration requirements can be found in the Executive Order on Notification, Registration, Fees and Publication, etc. at the Danish Business Authority.

Social security registration

If you want to live and run a business in Denmark, you must have a personal identification number (CPR number). You can apply for this number from the local council where you have your place of residence. The local council will then report the information to the Central Civil Registration System.

Tax registration

Your business will basically have to pay 25 per cent of its revenue as VAT. When you start your business, it will be registered for VAT. VAT can be calculated once a month, every quarter or every six months, depending on the type of business.  You will receive a written reminder when it is time to pay VAT. VAT declarations are made to the Danish Tax and Customs Administration (SKAT) or on Virk.dk.

How much tax you have to pay depends on both your own personal tax status and the type of business. See Tax for Businesses:

Special procedures

Some business activities require special permits. Some types of business require authorisation, others require a licence and others require special approval. This may be either to regulate the number of players in the sector or to ensure that the work is carried out according to good professional practice.

You must therefore investigate whether the business sector in which you are setting up a business requires special authorisation.
 You can usually obtain more information about the authorisations required for your business from your trade association.

You must have a licence to sell alcohol, drive a taxi, run a pharmacy or be a medical practitioner. Licences are usually issued by the local authorities.

Resources

The portal Virk.dk is the business community's digital access point to the public sector. It provides access to 1300 reports and searches on business-related information from public bodies.

Startvækstt is a portal for entrepreneurs and companies. It contains comprehensive information about starting up, operation and growth.

On borger.dk you can find a lot of the information and forms you will need as a citizen in Denmark.

Help & advice

Help & advice

E-mail a business organisation near you

The EU runs a network (Enterprise Europe Network) of local business organisations in most European countries that may be able to help you.

Choose your country and town and enter your enquiry below.

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