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Guide to Starting a Business in Guatemala

Formal registration of companies has many immediate benefits for the companies and for business owners and employees. Legal entities can outlive their founders. Resources are pooled as several shareholders join forces to start a company. Formally registered companies have access to services and institutions from courts to banks as well as to new markets. And their employees can benefit from protections provided by the law. An additional benefit comes with limited liability companies. These limit the financial liability of company owners to their investments, so personal assets of the owners are not put at risk. Where governments make registration easy, more entrepreneurs start businesses in the formal sector, creating more good jobs and generating more revenue for the government.

Below is a detailed summary of the bureaucratic and legal hurdles faced by entrepreneurs wishing to incorporate and register a new firm in Guatemala. It examines the procedures, time and cost involved in launching a commercial or industrial firm with up to 50 employees and start-up capital of 10 times the economy's per-capita gross national income.

This information was collected from World Bank: Doing Business 
No.ProcedureTime to CompleteAssociated Costs
1Check the proposed company name at the Mercantile Registry of Guatemala4 daysno charge
2Obtain letter from a Guatemalan notary public to open bank account1 dayno charge
3Deposit the subscribed capital in a bank and obtain a receipt1 dayno charge
4A notary public draws the deed of constitution3 daysGTQ 8,400 average notarial fees + tax
5The notary buys the fiscal stamps and issues a certified copy of the deed of incorporation for filing with the commercial register1 dayQ250 stamp tax (company deed), Q300 (corporation license), 1 stamp at Q100 (Appointment of legal representative, Certified notarial copy of the deed of incorporation)
6File notarized unique registration form and documents with the Commercial Register (Registro Mercantil)4 daysGTQ 275 flat fee + Q6 per every Q1000 of startup capital + Q15 edict
7Publication of notice in Diario de Centro América8 daysGTQ 525.62
8Registration of the appointment of legal representative of the company1 dayincluded in previous procedure
9Obtain the definitive registration, tax and social security numbers, and authorization to print invoices14 daysincluded in previous procedure
10Application for trading license1 dayGTQ 100
* 11Submit company accounting books and books of minutes of shareholder and board of directors meetings to the Commercial Registry for their authorisation1 dayGTQ 0.15/page, assuming 100 pages
* 12Application for book of salaries authorisation from the Inspection of the Department of Labour1 dayno charge
* Takes place simultaneously with another procedure.
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