A building that could possibly be a limited liability company

Steps to Forming an LLC in Ecuador

Discover the step-by-step process for forming a Limited Liability Company (LLC) in Ecuador, where this legal structure is known as a Limited Liability Company. As Ecuador becomes an increasingly attractive destination for foreign executives seeking expansion opportunities in the region, it is essential to understand the processes of company incorporation. For foreign companies targeting the burgeoning Ecuadorian market, forming a Limited Liability Company is a strategic step. In particular, the formation of an LLC in Ecuador offers a simplified process compared to other legal entities, providing greater flexibility and greater protection against potential vulnerabilities.

The country’s stable economy, marked by a decline in corruption and a stronger government framework, coupled with its abundant natural resources and use of the U.S. dollar, position it as a prime hub for business growth. In this context, choosing the right business structure is essential.

5 key benefits of a Limited Liability Company in Ecuador
5 key benefits of a Limited Liability Company in Ecuador.

What is an LLC in Ecuador: Compañía de responsabilidad limitada (Cía. Ltda)

A Limited Liability Company is a business structure whereby the owners of the business are not personally accountable for the company’s liabilities or debts.

The LLC in Ecuador is similar to the characteristics of a regular corporation, but the way of taxation is very different. LLCs do not pay taxes, instead of paying taxes their profits and losses are listed on a personal tax list returns of owners. If fraud is recognized or the company is not fully compliant with the legal reporting requirements, the creditors could potentially go after its members. In Ecuador, an LLC could be set up with 1 director and a minimum of 3 shareholders, of any nationality and not more than 15 members.

5 Key benefits of an LLC in Ecuador:

  1. Pass-through taxation.
  2. No restrictions on the number of members allowed.
  3. Members have flexibility in structuring the company management.
  4. It does not require as much annual paperwork or have as many formalities as corporations.
  5. Owners are not personally responsible for business debts and liabilities.

5 Steps to forming an LLC in Ecuador

Forming an LLC in Ecuador consist in 5 steps:

  • Step 1 – Appoint a legal representative.
  • Step 2 – Register the company.
  • Step 3 – Obtain a tax identification number.
  • Step 4 – Municipal License.
  • Step 5 – Opening a corporate bank account and depositing minimum share capital to activate.
5 Steps to forming an LLC in Ecuador
5 Steps to forming an LLC in Ecuador

Choose a reliable expert to be your legal representative in Ecuador. Your legal representative will act on behalf of the LLC in all legal aspects, creating and signing your company’s bylaws. This gives your legal representative the power to make legal decisions for your company, and support the company formation process.

If the document is in a language other than Spanish, the legal representative should provide a correct official translation before submitting it. The person appointed as a legal representative must act in the best interests of the company and is mandated by Ecuadorian law to do so. Furthermore, you should define your business’ purpose and economic activities. Before you register your company, make sure to reserve your name as this will ease the process of registration to ensure there is no copyright or trademark. Moreover, the shareholders must deposit a minimum of US$400 before the company’s registration

2. Register the company

It is important to know to register your company with the appropriate authorities. You have to reserve the company name in Ecuador at the Superintendent of Companies. In order to obtain the company’s unique identification number, you will need to go to the Superintendent of Companies to pay the annual registration fee. For this registration you will need the following documents:

  • Address of the company.
  • The name of the legal representative.
  • A certified copy of the public deed of the constitution of the company.

If you want to register these matters could be of importance:

  • A public notary is necessary for notarising the documents.
  • Make sure you find a lawyer that is able to constitute and sign the documents.
  • Prepare the minutes of incorporation, which include the contract, articles of incorporations, company’s bylaws, and the formation of capital.

3. Obtain a tax identification number

Once you have registered your LLC in Ecuador, you’ll need to obtain a tax identification number. Business owners must apply for the Fiscal Code (Registro Único de Contribuyentes – RUC) at the Servicio de Rentas Internas (SRI). This will take approximately 24 hours.

After this, you have to sign up online for Social Security at the Ecuadorian Institute of Social Security, and obtain a passbook to use the online platform for more information.

4. Municipal License

Businesses in Ecuador need a “tasa de habilitacion,” also known as an enabling fee. To obtain this, you must pay the commercial patent at the Municipio de Quito.

This patent is a tax for companies that conduct in a commercial or industrial activity. Companies must pay this tax every year. The amount will depend on the size of the company and in which sector it operates.

5. Opening a corporate bank account and depositing minimum share capital to activate

In order to correctly form an LLC in Ecuador, the shareholders must deposit a minimum of US$400 before the company’s registration. All the assets of the LLC that are worth US$1000 must be appointed to an auditor and submit annual audited financial statements to the authorities.

Frequently asked question on Forming an LLC in Ecuador

1. Can a foreigner own an LLC in Ecuador?

Yes, a business can be 100% foreign-owned by either legal persons (“legal entities”) or natural persons (“individuals”).

2. How long does it take to register an LLC in Ecuador?

Registering a company in Ecuador takes 6 weeks.

3. What is an LLC in Ecuador?

An LLC in Ecuador is a Limited Liability Company, a type of business entity that combines the limited liability protection of a corporation with the flexible management and pass-through taxation of a partnership or sole proprietorship. This means that the owners of an LLC are not personally liable for the debts and obligations of the company beyond their investment in the business.

4. Can an LLC in Ecuador operate internationally?

Yes, an LLC registered in Ecuador can operate in international markets, subject to applicable regulations and restrictions governing cross-border trade.

Contact Biz Latin Hub for forming your LLC in Ecuador

When forming your LLC in Ecuador, you’ll want to partner with local legal experts who can assist you in this process. It is crucial to find a trusted provider who can act as your legal representation in Ecuador as needed.

At Biz Latin Hub, we have vast experience with helping foreign companies to enter the Ecuadorian market. Our team of experienced corporate lawyers and accountants offer a full suite of bilingual market entry and back-office services for businesses entering Ecuador. This includes commercial and legal representation, company formation, accounting, and employment support. Contact us today for personalized advice on how to get started. 

Learn more about our team and expert authors.

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The information provided here within should not be construed as formal guidance or advice. Please consult a professional for your specific situation. Information provided is for informative purposes only and may not capture all pertinent laws, standards, and best practices. The regulatory landscape is continually evolving; information mentioned may be outdated and/or could undergo changes. The interpretations presented are not official. Some sections are based on the interpretations or views of relevant authorities, but we cannot ensure that these perspectives will be supported in all professional settings.
Legal Team Ecuador

Legal Team Ecuador

Legal Team Ecuador is the Biz Latin Hub leading experts on doing business in Ecuador The Team writes on the news, doing business, law, and changing regulations. The team are experts in corporate law, Administrative law, Employment law, Immigration law and legal advisory services. Read more about them here. You can contact Legal Team Ecuador via our "contact us page".

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