Colombia company registration

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DOING BUSINESS IN COLOMBIA

Since 2003, Healy Consultants has assisted our Clients with business registration in Colombia. Our services include i) Colombia business registration ii) government license registration iii) Colombia corporate bank account opening services iv) employee recruitment v) visa strategies for foreign employees and vi) Colombia office rental solutions.

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  • Advantages and disadvantages

    Advantages of Colombia company registration

      Business registration services in Colombia

    1. It is possible to register a Colombia simplified limited company (SAS) with only one shareholder and one director. Both can be of any nationality and do not need to be resident of Colombia. The minimum paid-up capital required is only US$1 and our Clients do not need to travel to complete the engagement;
    2. Entrepreneurs starting a company in Colombia will benefit from a large domestic markets and opportunities to sell their products abroad because:
      • With approximately 47 million inhabitants, the republic of Colombia has the 3rd largest population and the 4th largest economy in Latin America after Brazil, Mexico and Argentina. Colombia also offers entrepreneurs access to 5 major commercial hubs: Bogota, Cali, Barranquilla, Cartagena and Medellin;
      • Entrepreneurs starting a new business in Colombia will find an increased amount of opportunities, as the country experienced strong and encouraging economic growth in recent years. For instance, the annual GDP growth rate in 2014 was 4.6%. Learn more about the growth opportunity in Colombia on Healy Consultants’ blog;
      • The republic of Colombia has signed several Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with different countries including Canada, USA, Mexico and the EU;
      • Colombia has the advantage of having two coastlines, in Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. This is greatly beneficial to the shipping industry and businesses engaged in import/export activities;

    3. Due to improvements in trade, tax and investment freedom, Colombia now ranks as the 3rd freest economy out of 29 South and Central American economies;
    4. Colombia currently boasts over 100 Free Trade Zones (FTZs), the most competitive FTZs in Latin America with a reduced corporate tax rate of 15%;

    Disadvantages of Colombia company registration

    1. Our Clients forming a company in Colombia will face the following difficulties during start-up phase:
      • In order to incorporate a Colombia business entity, foreigners are required to appoint at least one Colombia permanent resident as the legal representative of the company in the country. If required, Healy Consultants will provide nominee services for this position;
      • Incorporating a company in Colombia is complex and time consuming, marred with government corruption and bureaucracy and can take up to four months to successfully complete;
      • Getting electricity for a new establishment in Colombia is quite expensive and time consuming. Entrepreneurs should expect to pay at least US$35,000 and wait for up to 4 months for a new electric connection;

    2. Our Clients running a Colombian business will pay a high level of tax because:
      • Colombia companies are subject to i) a corporate tax at the rate of up to 25% ii) a 33% withholding tax on dividends distributed abroad (branch office only) and iii) VAT of 16% on sales in the country;
      • Even companies established in the Colombia Free Trade Zones are subject to a 15% corporate tax;

    3. Trading across borders in Colombia can be very costly to entrepreneurs. Exporting a single container can cost an average of US$2,355 while importing costs US$2,470. Additionally it takes an average 14 days to successfully import or export a container;
    4. The legal system in Colombia is quite inefficient and weak. Enforcing a legal contract may take more than 3 years in the courts;
    5. Colombia has a very low proficiency in English, placed at position 42 out of 63 jurisdictions according to the English proficiency index 2015. This means that entrepreneurs will find it difficult interacting with potential Clients or business partners.

Company registration

  • Time to incorporate: Six weeks
  • Cost to set up: US$13,390
  • Minimum capital: US$1
  • Physical office required: Yes

Required appointments

  • Shareholders: 2
  • Directors: 2
  • Company secretary: No
  • Resident director: No

Key facts

  • Corporate tax rate: 25%
  • Corporate tax base: Worldwide
  • Shelf companies: Unavailable
  • Main company type: S.R.L.

Contact us

For additional information on our company registration services in Colombia, please email us at email@healyconsultants.com. Alternatively please contact our in-house country expert, Ms. Chrissi Zamora, directly:
client relationship officer - Chrissi
Guide to invest in Colombia free trade zone banco central de colombia Colombia's Minister of Trade, Industry and Tourism Colombia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs - visa application