With the latest amendments to the Law on Registration Procedure in the Business Registers Agency, another step has been taken on the digitization of public administration.
Although these amendments were made at the end of 2021, the electronic incorporation of companies has been postponed by 18 months, to prepare all technical measures in the Business Registers Agency (“BRA”).
In this regard, from 17 May 2023, the registration of the incorporation of companies will be carried out only in electronic form through the BRA online application, i.e. e-register. Namely, it will no longer be possible to submit registration applications for incorporation of companies in Serbia at the counters of the BRA in paper form. The online application itself provides several steps through which it is necessary to enter all the necessary data and attach the necessary documentation. To access the application, a qualified electronic signature of the applicant, either a lawyer or a member of the company filing a registration application is required. Nevertheless, although the entire procedure is planned in a manner that all documents that need to be signed, will be signed with a qualified electronic signature, the possibility was left for the lawyer, in accordance with previously acquired legal powers, to digitize certain documents that were signed in paper form (e.g. incorporation act certified by a notary public, power of attorney authorizing a lawyer to submit a registration application, etc.).
The primary objective behind the introduction of electronic incorporation is to enhance efficiency and reduce costs and time associated with company formation. Instead of the Business Registers Agency (BRA) handling the data entry for incorporation based on printed registration applications, it is now the responsibility of clients and their lawyers to input the incorporation data in electronic format.
We view this as a positive step since the electronic registration application itself is designed to minimize errors during data entry, thereby reducing the likelihood of registration application rejections and delays in the overall process. While incorporations will now be conducted electronically, it’s important to note that changes to companies (such as addresses, members, share capital, names, etc.) will still be registered in paper form at the BRA counters. We assume that this gradual transition is part of a larger plan to eventually shift all business activities towards electronic means.
Over the next few months, we will closely observe the readiness and effectiveness of the BRA’s electronic system, and whether it results in a faster and more streamlined process for incorporating companies in Serbia.
By Zivko Simijonovic, Senior Associate, JPM Jankovic Popovic Mitic