North Macedonia

Ease of Doing Business Rank: 10 

Overview 

 

Geographic location 

The Republic of North Macedonia is a successor state of the former Yugoslavia. It is a landlocked Balkan nation in Southeastern Europe. Albania lies to the west, Kosovo and Serbia to the north, Bulgaria to the east, and Greece to the south. 

Spoken language 

The official and national language of North Macedonia is Macedonian. Albanian is also an official language in some parts of the country. In some areas, Turkish, Romani, Aromanian, Bosnian, and Serbian are considered co-official languages at the local and state level.  

English is also extremely common, as well as Serbo-Croatian, and German. 

Population 

The 2019 population estimate for North Macedonia is 2.09 millionApproximately one quarter of the population lives in the capital city of Skopje. All remaining cities have a population of less than 75,000. 

Popular industries 

According to fourth-quarter data for 2018, the top industries in North Macedonia are construction, arts, entertainment and recreation, energy, telecommunication, other services, wholesale and retail trade, transportation and storage, and accommodation and food service activities. 

Education 

The Legatum Prosperity Index ranks Macedonia 49th for global education. However, it is important to the note the country rose 17 places in the rankings over the past year. 

UniRank lists the Ss. Cyril and Methodius University of Skopje as the number one university in the country. 

Popular entity types 

The most common business entities in North Macedonia are Limited Liability Company, Joint Stock Company, Limited Partnership, General Partnership, and Limited Partnership with Shares. 

According to The State Statistical Office, the majority (70.1%) of enterprises are limited liability companies or joint stock companies. 

North Macedonia incentives for business 

The Macedonian government actively supports foreign and domestic investment to increase domestic consumption and industrial output. Government reforms include the introduction of private sector investment in public services and infrastructure. The country continues to liberalize their trade policies and has loosened the reins on financing as well 

The creation of tax free zones throughout the country can greatly reduce the tax burden for investors. Technological industrial development zones (TIDZ) support technological development paired with high-level environmental standards.  

Tax incentives may include tax holidays of up to 10 years on corporate income tax and employee personal income tax. Investors may also enjoy VAT and customs duties exemptions and other incentives.  

History & Features 

 

Main cities for business 

Skopje is the capital city and the largest economic center in the country. 

Popular historical & tourist attractions 

Macedonia is a small nation, but it’s a melting pot of culture and historical interest. The country’s capital of Skopje blends old and new with the most striking landmark in the city, the Millennium Cross looming over the city.  

From narrow cobblestone streets of the 12th century to Skopje’s modern downtown square, visitors can discover a variety of architectural styles which demonstrate how the country’s evolved through the centuries. 

Ohrid is a UNESCO World Heritage Site filled with historic churches and St. Panteleimon, the world’s oldest Slav monastery complete with intricate rockworkThe city once had a church for each day of the year and it is often called the “Jerusalem of the Balkans”. 

Tetovo is home to one of the grandest buildings in Macedonia – the Painted Mosque. It dates to the 15th-century and features swirling geometric artwork on every inch of its walls and balconies. 

Macedonia is also brimming with natural wonders. Its limestone landscape includes over 300 caves, including the huge Gorna Slatinska underground labyrinth.  

Conversely, the Shar Mountains reach upwards of 8,000 feet and offer countless hiking trails, fantastic views, and wildflower-dotted meadows. Matka Canyon is an ideal attraction for rock climbers and Macedonia’s largest park, Mavrovo, is a haven for wildlife. 

History 

Macedonia’s geographic location at the crossroads of various empires created a tumultuous history. Throughout the centuries, many rulers claimed the area including Alexander the Great and the Roman Empire. Later Byzantine and Bulgarian Empires overtook the region until it fell under Ottoman rule through to the early 20th century. 

When the Ottoman Empire fell and the Balkan Wars ensued, the political geography of the Balkans changed radically with the 1913 Treaty of Bucharest. The agreement divided Macedonia between Greece, Bulgaria and Serbia.  

At the end of World War I Macedonia became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Sloveneswhich later became the state of Yugoslavia. However, in WWII, the country was divided again by the Axis powers of Germany, Italy, and Japan. Bulgarian and Italian forces occupied the area. 

Macedonian partisans fought back and in 1944 under the leadership of Tito and the Anti-Fascist Assembly of the National Liberation of Macedonia the region created the foundation for an independent Macedonian state.  

When WWII ended, Macedonia became a republic within the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Yugoslavia had a high standard of living and more political and cultural freedom than most Eastern European countries of the era. Consequently, Macedonia underwent large-scale economic development. 

During the 80’s and early 90’s, tensions grew between Yugoslav and Macedonian ethnicities and each republic wanted to form its own state. Macedonia gained independence and became a sovereign nation with its own constitution in 1991.  

However, turbulent economic and social times laid ahead as the two nations went their own way. The most significant was a huge influx of ethnic Albanian refugees after the 1999 conflict in Kosovo which led to further unrest. 

In 2001, Macedonia and Albania signed a peace agreement and the Macedonian Parliament approved amendments to their constitution to strengthen minority rights.  

In 2018, a 27-year old feud with Greece ended when the two nations agreed on the country’s official name. Greece had previously objected to the Republic of Macedonia’s admittance into the European Union and NATO, because Greece also used the name in some regions.  

The alternative name of Republic of North Macedonia clarified any legal confusion. This could lead to the nation’s entrance into the EU and NATO. 

Other relevant facts 

Residents of the Republic of Northern Macedonia are primarily Macedonian Orthodox (67%), followed by Muslim (30%), and a small number of other religious affiliations. 

Macedonians make up 64% of the population, followed by Albanians (25%), Turkish (4%), Romas (3%), and others (4%). 

Additional Information for Business 

According to Forbes’ 2019 Best Countries for Businessthe Republic of North Macedonia ranks 68th overall globally for conducting business and states, “Its low tax rates and free economic zones have helped to attract foreign investment.  

The 2019 Index of Economic Freedom rates North Macedonia 33rd globally. 

North Macedonia Entity Support Services by Blueback Global

Blueback Global provides a one-stop integrated solution to managing all aspects of your global operations. We can take the burden off you or your company’s internal resources by managing Entity Setup, Local Payroll, Accounting, Tax Reporting, HR Admin and Regulatory Compliance matters associated with operating in a foreign country. Our services are designed to be flexible and customized, so whether you are starting from entity registration, or have already registered but need support in setting payroll or hire employees, we can help at every point of the process.

The common scenarios that may give rise to the need for Blueback Global’s services include the following:

With our integrated approach, you can expect the following experience:

We have an initial complimentary meeting to discuss the scope, objectives and plans for your expansion plan into North Macedonia. After this meeting, you can expect a follow-up proposal from Blueback Global within 1 to 3 business days, that outlines that the approach, scope of work and expected deliverables and outcome. Thereafter, our implementation team will then work closely with your team to register the local entity, set up payroll, accounting process, employee social security and benefits. We will then develop a mutually agreed timeline and approach for ongoing payroll, accounting, tax reporting and HR support. Blueback Global will set up a compliance calendar so that you know exactly what and when compliance items such as tax reporting and payroll returns are due. We will of course facilitate all of these, so you do not have to keep track of the compliance dates.

Our goal is to make the process as smooth, simple and successful as possible, and remove the anxiety of operating in a foreign location, to deliver a great customer experience.

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