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Executive Summary
Guatemala became an independent country in 1821, but even during the 20th century the country has experienced diverse internal and external conflicts and wars. Now Guatemala is a presidential representative democracy, and Guatemala City is the capital of the country. Since 1996 the state has been stable, which has a significant impact on the economic growth and overall development of the country. Spanish and Mayan dialects are recognized as official languages.

Guatemala covers a total area of approximately 108,000 sq km. The distribution of income is highly unequal causing the problem of the big part of the population living below the poverty line. Export of fruits, vegetables and diverse types of handicrafts constitute the main dynamically growing economic sector.  Coffee, sugar, bananas and textiles are the main export categories. Tourism is also increasing bringing significant capitals to the country. Banking sector is well developed. Quetzal (GTQ) is the national currency of Guatemala.

Geography
Guatemala is a country of Central America, neighbor of Mexico, Belize, Honduras and El Salvador. Mountains cover almost the whole territory of Guatemala except the South cost and Northern lowlands. This landscape diversity causes dramatic differences in climate, which is humid and tropical in lowlands, and significantly drier and colder in highlands. Main cities are situated in the highlands and on the Pacific coast. Short rivers and five lakes, as well as more than 60 lagoons are located in the country.

Being located between Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean, Guatemala is in a dangerous hurricanes zone, which cause big winds, flooding and mudslides. The country is rich in biodiversity, having 5 different ecosystems. The country has a rich fauna with a big number of diverse species.

Map, Flag and Coat of Arm


Types of Company

Local Company

Different forms of a local company including limited liability company, partnerships and stock companies follow the same scheme of the registration procedure. At least two persons (corporate or private) should establish a company, and there are no restrictions for the most part of activities in terms of their nationality and residence.

Branch of a Foreign Company
A foreign company can establish a branch in Guatemala, which follows local rules, regulations and taxation regime, but the parent company must be responsible for any debts of its subsidiary.

Branch of a Foreign Bank
A foreign bank that has been operative for at least 10 years can establish its branch and obtain a banking license in Guatemala. A minimums initial capital of US$ 2 million should be invested and should remain within the local branch at all times. At least one officer domiciled in Guatemala must be appointed.

Individual Merchant
In case an entrepreneur does not wish to create a corporate entity for managing a business activity, he/she may register as an individual and get authorized to conduct a business.

Temporary Operations
For activities on the territory of Guatemala that last less than for two years, a foreign company may obtain a permit from Mercantile Registry for temporary operations in the country. A legal representative in Guatemala must be appointed. For certain activities such a permit is not required.

Taxation

Personal
Income tax is calculated at a raising scale, starting from 15% and ending with 31% depending on the amount of income in a year’s time.

Corporate
Corporation tax is set to a rate of 31% after allowable deductions, which include other taxes and operational expenses. VAT is 12% on goods and services imported or provided within the jurisdiction. Legal documentation transactions do not require VAT to be charged, but a stamp tax of 3% is applied.

 
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