Business entities in Guatemala

Business entities in Guatemala

Healy Consultants will assist our Clients to incorporate the optimal corporate structure in Guatemala. There are several ways of doing business in Guatemala, the most common being the setting up of a limited liability company. Foreign entrepreneurs may also opt to set up a corporation, a branch office or a representative office.

The Guatemala limited liability company (Sociedad de responsabilidad limitada)

    Guatemala company setup procedures for foreigners
  • The Guatemala LLC requires only i) two shareholders, who must invest at least US$260 (GTQ2,000) in the company’s paid up capital and ii) one director. While shareholders and directors can be foreigners, the company will also have to appoint a resident legal representative if no director is ordinarily resident in Guatemala. If required, our Firm can assist our Clients to appoint a professional, passive legal representative: kindly refer to the legal representative for South American companies page for further details;
  • All LLCs submit annual audited financial statements to the Register of Commercial Entities. They are subject to corporate tax at a standard rate of 25%. All companies are also subject to registration with the local tax administration and the Social Security Authority, following commencement of operations.

The Guatemala public limited company (Sociedad Anonima)

Our Clients willing to raise funds in Guatemala through the issuance of shares usually setup a Guatemala PLC. The minimum paid-up capital required to form such entity is set at US$650 (GTQ5,000). The company is also required to appoint an independent auditor and to submit annual financial statements to the Register of Commercial Entities.

The Guatemala branch (Sucursal)

In order to register a branch in Guatemala, foreign corporations are required to guarantee the operations of the future branch by issuing a bond of US$50,000 as guarantee. The branch must also i) have a registered office in Guatemala and ii) appoint an agent who should be an attorney and must have power of attorney of the branch on behalf of the company.

The Guatemala representative office (Oficina de representacion)

While the Guatemala representative office can be 100% foreign owned, it is not allowed to carry out any income generating activities in Guatemala. Consequently, this entity can only engage in i) market research and ii) promoting the business of the parent company.

Table of comparison between Guatemala entities

 LLCPublic CorporationBranchRepresentative office
Also known asSRLSASucursalOficina de representacion
How long to set the company up?4 weeks5 weeks6 weeks6 weeks
How long to open company bank account?4 weeks5 weeks6 weeks6 weeks
Legal liability?LimitedLimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
Wholly foreign owned?YesYesYesYes
Minimum paid - up share capital?US$260US$650N/AN/A
Minimum deposit by the parent company?N/AN/AUS$50,000US$50,000
File annual tax return?YesYesYesNo
Tax registration certificate required?YesYesYesNo
Recommended corporate bank account?Banco Citibank de GuatemalaBanco IndustrialBanco AztecaBanco Internacional
Does our Client need to travel?NoNoNoNo
Resident director required?NoNoNoNo
Resident shareholder required?NoNoNoNo
Minimum directors allowed?1111
Minimum shareholders?2211
Tax identification code needed?YesYesYesNo
Guatemala resident representative required?YesYesYesNo
Corporate shareholders allowed?YesYesYesYes
Corporate director(s) allowed?YesYesYesYes
Statutory audit required?YesYesYesYes
Guatemala corporate tax rate?25%25%25%N/A
Annual financial statements required?YesYesYesYes
Regulated by?Register of Commercial EntitiesRegister of Commercial EntitiesRegister of Commercial EntitiesRegister of Commercial Entities
Allowed to issue sales invoices?YesYesYesNo
Allowed to sign contracts?YesYesYesNo
Allowed to import and export goods?YesYesYesNo
Can rent an office space in Guatemala?YesYesYesYes
Can buy Guatemala property?YesYesYesNo
Total Guatemala business setup costs in yr. 1?US$8,640US$9,640US$10,640Contact us
Subsequent annual costs (incl. accounting and tax fee)?US$4,390US$5,390US$6,390Contact us
Sample engagement invoice?Guatemala LLC setup costGuatemala PLC setup costGuatemala Branch office setup costContact us

External readings

Contact us

For additional information on our business setup services in Guatemala, please email us at email@healyconsultants.com. Alternatively please contact our in-house country expert, Mr. Seth Ochieng, directly:
client relationship officer - Seth
guatemala-government guatemala-coc guatemala-bank guatemala-mof guatemala-moe guatemala Mercantile Register guatemala Ministry of foreign affairs