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So the other post suggested that paying yourself was problematic. Can the money be used for living expenses (essentially the largest expense for any software-related business)?

Yes. The rules are very clear about that. You get 800 USD as single team member and USD 1200 if you are two or more. Also for upto three team members, you can take USD 700/month per member salary. The office space (with snacks, coffee etc) is free for upto three team members. Your tickets, Visa fees, Medical insurance etc is all reimbursed.

You have to register at SII, get a taxpayer code and file taxes before the 10th day of every month. So it is straightforward indeed

This is quite clear now - in our round, it was an "open issue" for 3 months, over which only a select few were able to get a salary (due again to personal relations - I was one of the benefitted ones in that case). So that's "excusable" - they were "figuring it out"

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