Tax incentives and grants for family businesses

  • Publication
  • August 20, 2023

Family businesses are the backbone of the Maltese economy, with about 75% of all businesses in Malta being family-run.  Due to their inherent importance in contributing to growth and employment in the local economy, there are various incentive schemes aimed at supporting the generational transitioning of family-owned businesses. 


Malta Enterprise Corporation (MEC) administers several incentive schemes that are specifically targeted towards businesses registered with the Family Business Office as a ‘family business’ in terms of the Family Business Act.


1. Family Business Grant Scheme

The Family Business Grant Scheme aims to support family businesses registered as such to address transitionary issues by facilitating access to advisory and mediation services provided by external parties during succession planning and for the continuation of their business activity. 

The Family Business Grant Scheme provides a maximum grant of €15,000 per family business over a three-year period covering advisory services and/or mediation services.

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Advisory Services

Family businesses may require assistance from external consultants to establish a succession plan for their business. Under this Scheme, a cash grant of 50% of the relative advisory costs may be provided, up to a maximum amount of €2,000 per assignment. 

The supported assignment should be completed within 12 months from the approval date and should result in a detailed report on the action the business should take to plan for the succession process and mitigate any problems that might be encountered. Continuous or periodic activity (such as tax consultancy services or regular legal services), as well as the fees for the preparation of documents, forms and other related costs, are not considered eligible.

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Mediation Services

During the process of business succession, certain family businesses may encounter challenges that need to be resolved to ensure continuity and possible succession. To address these challenges, this scheme may also provide support for costs incurred for mediation services at an hourly rate of up to €100 per hour up to a maximum of 25 hours per approval.

Interested applicants should first contact the Family Business Office to request authorisation for the advisory and/or mediation services to be acquired. Upon authorisation, an application form should be submitted to MEC by 30 November 2023. Any costs incurred before the submission of the application are considered ineligible.

This scheme is a De Minimis scheme and accordingly, the aid awarded is capped at €200,000 over a rolling three-year period (on a group level).

2. Family Business: Transfer of Ownership Scheme

This scheme aims to assist family businesses, registered as such, when transferring their business to the next generation, by providing a reduction in the stamp duty payable for the transfer of immovable property and company shares or similar interests in the business.

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Stamp duty on the transfer of immovable property

The stamp duty on the transfer of immovable property is charged at the rate of €3.50 per €100 (rather than the statutory rate of 5%) on the first €500,000 of the value of the property transferred, subject to the condition that such property should have been in use for at least 3 years. 

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Transfer of company shares or similar interests in the business

Concerning the transfer to family members of company shares or interests in a partnership, trust or foundation held in a family business, no duty is charged on the first €150,000 (or such other greater amount as may be prescribed) of the value of the shares, or interests in the partnership, trust or foundation, subject to a maximum capping in the reduced stamp duty payable of €7,500.

Application forms should reach MEC by 16 December 2023.  

The Family Business: Transfer of Ownership Scheme is also regulated under the De Minimis Regulation and therefore consideration should be made to the total aid awarded under such Regulation.

3. Micro Invest

The MicroInvest Scheme applies to undertakings which, on a stand-alone basis, do not employ more than 50 full-time persons and have an annual turnover that does not exceed €10 million. This Scheme encourages undertakings to innovate, expand and develop their business operations.

The aid awarded is a tax credit calculated at the rate of 45% of eligible costs, subject to a capping which for registered family businesses is increased to €70,000. Such tax credits awarded must be utilised within 3 years from the year stipulated in the Incentive Entitlement Certificate. 

This Scheme is currently open for undertakings incurring eligible costs during the calendar year 2022.  Application forms may be submitted to MEC by 13 December 2023 and any tax credits awarded may then be utilised against the undertaking's tax charge starting from the year of assessment 2024.  

This Scheme is also regulated under the De Minimis Aid Regulations.

4. Invest Scheme

There are various other incentive schemes that, though not specifically targeted towards family businesses, are applicable on a wider level and may therefore be very relevant for family businesses.

Of particular importance is the Invest Scheme, which provides aid in various forms, including cash grants and tax credits, to certain undertakings in respect of qualifying expenditure incurred on an initial investment project (as defined) having a start of works date commencing after 1 May 2022.

Although this Scheme is applicable until 31 December 2023, initial investment projects commencing up to 31 December 2026 may still qualify for aid under this scheme, provided that the relevant application form is submitted to Malta Enterprise by no later than 30 September 2023

Family businesses which are companies engaged in qualifying activities and are / shall be undertaking an initial investment project during the eligible period may consider applying for aid under this Scheme. Further information may be found here.

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