Malta is an independent republic, having gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1964, situated in the centre of the Mediterranean Sea about 60 miles south of Italy and 180 miles north of North Africa. Map Government is exercised by a democratically elected parliament with elections being held every five years. Population is approximately 365,000. English and Maltese are the official languages but Italian is also widely spoken. English is the business language. Malta is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations and is an associate member of the European Union. Malta has also applied for full membership of the European Union and this application is currently under consideration.
The legal system is based on the Napoleonic code but British Law has had a strong influence particularly in fiscal and commercial law. The official currency is the Maltese Lira (Lm) and Lm1 equals approximately US$2.80.
Malta has signed tax treaties with Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Cyprus, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, Libya, The Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Sweden Switzerland, United Kingdom, and United States of America. At the beginning of 1996 Malta substantially revised its corporate law so as to remove the distinction between offshore and onshore companies and thereby hopes to guarantee that all Maltese companies will obtain favourable treatment under these tax treaties.