Registering social.coop as a legal entity under Maltese law. Pros and cons.
in the light of the planned expansion of offered services, I took the liberty to reach out to the Malta Cooperative Federation ( http://maltacooperativefederation.coop/ ) to inquire about the pros and cons of registering a cooperative on the island. Below are the most relavant information I gathered during the meeting I attended with the president and the chief accountant of the federation earlier today.
- According to Maltese law, cooperatives need to have a stated "business model" (ie. a demonstrable income stream).
This can be solved by presenting our membership fee as a subscription.
- Cooperatives registered in Malta are expected to contribute to the Cooperative Solidarity Fund with a mandatory donation worth 5% of the surplus monetary reserves left at the end of each year
- Each cooperative is expected to inform the Government yearly concerning the number and the identity of the new memebers acquired during the previous 12 months
- Cooperatives registered in Malta are granted the exempt tax status if they do not pay any dividend (ie. if the surplus monetary reserves are not paid out to the members a the end of each year)
- Payments made among the cooperative's own members are never taxable (ie. paying members for their efforts doesn't count as "paying dividends")
- The Cooperative Solidarity Fund helps emerging cooperatives with loans, investments etc..
- Non-EU citizens will need to be scrutinized by the government (ie. will need to provide actual documents or whatever the government sees fit), but the procedure technically does not exist since none of the cooperatives registered so far has non-EU members.
- EU citizens will need to provide just an ID card number
- ICA principles are protected by law in Malta, as stated in the latest legislation on cooperatives approved in 2000
- The legislation does not differentiate cooperatives by type which makes it easier for social.coop to be registered
Feel free to ask questions and comment on the above, as the information I asked for is very high level and I might have missed something relevant. I'd love to see the largest number of members possible taking part in this discussion, as this is a potentially very important step forward for us all.
Looking forward to your comments!
Poll Created Fri 9 Feb 2018 1:40PM
Social.coop structure Closed Sat 24 Feb 2018 1:01PM
I want to run a little advisory poll to see where people at more generally on the question of the groups structure. I'm hoping this will help crystalize the conversation.
There are three different strands of thought I've identified;
- (1) The current model gives us certainty + a model for compensation. We haven't maxed out the current model.
- (2) We should move to more formalisation - but through another organisation (IOO or Freedom Co-op)
- (3) To scale up, accelerate funding and give co-ordinators/members more certainty, we should incorporate.
Feel free to edit the above. You can see the thread for my own views.
What are you thinking at the moment? Don't forget to share on Mastodon!
|Results||Option||% of points||Voters|
||The current model is good, but it needs more work||40.0%||10|
||The current model is working||24.0%||6|
||Would be good to consider using FairCoin||16.0%||4|
||It is time to start exploring a relationship with another organisation||12.0%||3|
||It's time to consider incorporating||8.0%||2|
16 of 54 people have voted (29%)
Michele Kipiel Sat 10 Feb 2018 5:53PM
I'd say "the current model is working but it could make sense for us to explore what benefits (if any) would incorporation bring.
Darren Sat 10 Feb 2018 8:06PM
I don't see anything wrong with the current model. We can work within this. In previous co-ops I've made a stand against unnecessary incorporation. Think there needs to be clear benefits to balance the extra work and expense involved.
Nathan Schneider Sat 10 Feb 2018 10:09PM
Our scale seems to be working for the most part, but we need to professionalize some aspects of the process and pay people appropriately to do so.
Nick S Fri 16 Feb 2018 10:03AM
Essentially I voted "working for me" because the issues, if any, are opaque to me. What might be constructive would be to compile a list of perceived issues the proposed change aims to resolve, labelled "essential", "nice to have", "optional"?