Buildings in Bolivia

Legal Entities in Bolivia: Which is best for you?

The image is a market snapshot for Bolivia, displaying its flag and key economic statistics. Population: 12.3 million. GDP: USD $44 billion. GDP per capita (PPP): USD $10,340. Capital city: Sucre. Major exports: petroleum gas, gold, zinc ore, and soybean oil. Legal entities in Bolivia are crucial to this economic profile, based on 202
The legal entities in Bolivia all benefit from an improving economy

Discover the array of legal entities in Bolivia available seeking to conduct commercial operations. With several corporate structures to consider, it’s prudent to seek expert guidance and advice to determine the optimal choice for your venture. The right choice will make doing business in Bolivia much easier from the start.

Understanding and adhering to all legal and accounting requirements specific to the legal entities in Bolivia is paramount for smooth operations and compliance. Whether you’re navigating the intricacies of company formation or seeking clarity on regulatory obligations, thorough understanding and meticulous adherence to legal protocols ensure a solid foundation for your business endeavors in Bolivia.

That’s why it makes sense to team up with a company such as Biz Latin Hub. As experts in Latin America and the Caribbean, we know all about doing business in the region. We can guide you through the process of establishing and managing any of the legal entities in Bolivia.

The three most common legal entities in Bolivia are:

  • LLC in Bolivia
  • Joint Stock Company
  • Unipersonal.

1. Limited liability company (LLC) in Bolivia

Infographic titled "Legal Entities Bolivia" with the Bolivian flag and a BizLatinHub logo. Sections detail four types of legal entities in Bolivia: Joint stock company, limited liability company (LLC), collective name company, and unipersonal company, outlining their characteristics.
An overview of the common legal entities in Bolivia.

In Bolivia, the limited liability company (LLC) is known as a Sociedad de Responsabilidad Limitada (S.R.L.). This structure provides limited liability protection to the shareholders, meaning their assets are generally protected from business debts and liabilities.

LLCs are closed partnerships in which the identity of the quota holders is key. Capital is divided into installments of equal value, which will be one hundred or multiples of one hundred Bolivianos. This must be paid in full, in the act of social constitution, whether the contribution is in money or kind. In the case of the latter, it must be officially valued.

The company name must be chosen according to the type of business activities or can be formed with the shareholder’s name adding S.R.L. or Ltda.

  • Shareholders- The shareholders  of an S.R.L. can be individuals or legal entities (foreign or national) The minimum shareholders required by law is two (Maximum 25)
  • Management: The management structure is typically outlined in the company’s articles of incorporation. Shareholders must appoint a legal representative who must be Bolivian or a foreign person with legal residency in Bolivia. 
  • Capital Contributions: Members contribute capital to the company, and their ownership stake is generally proportionate to their contributions. The S.R.L. structure allows for flexibility in terms of capital contributions.
  • Transfer of shares: A shareholder’s meeting must be held to approve the admission of new shareholders. The approval must garner a 2/3 majority of the social capital to be considered valid. Subsequently, this document must undergo notarization and be registered with the Registry of Commerce office.
  • Fiscal Address: The company must register a Fiscal Address before the Tax Authority 

2. Joint Stock Company – S.A. in Bolivia

A joint stock company in Bolivia is known as Sociedad Anónima, or S.A. This type of company is popular for large companies. The main characteristics of an S.A. legal entity in Bolivia include:

  • The share capital is divided into shares.
  • The shareholders have limited liability up to the amount of their contributions, i.e. their assets are protected from company liability.
  • An S.A. can be constituted by the sole act of the founders or by public subscription of shares.
  • Shares can be freely transferred, subject to any restrictions in the company’s bylaws.
  • Minimum Capital Requirements: There may be minimum capital requirements for the establishment of a Sociedad Anónima, and this capital is divided into shares.
  • Board of Directors: The company is typically managed by a board of directors, elected by the shareholders. The board makes major decisions on behalf of the company.
  • Sociedades Anónimas are usually required to file annual reports with the commercial registry, the Tax Authority and other relevant authorities.
  • Bylaws: The company operates according to a set of bylaws that outline its internal rules, including procedures for shareholder meetings, distribution of profits, and other important matters.
  • Audit Requirements: Depending on the size and nature of the business, there may be requirements for regular audits of the company’s financial statements.

Main differences between an S.A. and an S.R.L. in Bolivia

ShareholdersMinimum (2) maximum (25)Minimum (3)  unlimited
Shareholders MeetingNamed as Asamblea de Socios, is the highest authority and makes decisionsNamed the Junta de Accionistas, is the highest authority and makes decisions
CapitalSubscribedDivided into shares
Legal Representation(1)   Legal representative is mandatory (adding more is optional)Board of Directors (minimum 3 maximum 12)
DurationUp to 99 years (renewable)Up to 99 years (renewable)
Transfer of sharesA shareholders meeting is requiredFree transfer of shares

Our recommendation: The SRL, as it offers limited liability protection to shareholders, flexibility in shareholding structure, management and capital contributions. In addition, it offers relatively simpler procedures for the transfer of shares compared to an SA, which makes it a suitable option for foreign companies in Bolivia.

What is a Unipersonal Company?

A map of Bolivia and its main cities
Certain legal entities in Bolivia are more commonly found in specific areas of the country

A Unipersonal Company is a company made up of a natural person who carries out trade as a regular economic activity. This person may be a citizen or foreign national. To form this entity, they must present their Identity Card or the original documentation that proves their legal residence in Bolivia. Depending on the intended capital amount for the entity, owners may need to present an opening balance signed by the Owner or the Legal Manager and a Registered Accountant or Auditor.

If a Legal Representative is appointed, an original Power of Attorney or a certified copy must be attached to the registration documents. The Bolivian Commercial Registry will then register the entity, and owners can begin operations as a legally constituted company.

Note: The unipersonal Company does not have its own legal personality, unlike commercial companies. The owner of one of these companies is liable for company obligations with their personal assets.

Another option: Establishing a branch in Bolivia

Foreign companies have the option to establish a branch as a representative office in Bolivia. The primary advantage of a branch lies in its ability to uphold the brand and reputation of the parent company. This allows the branch to leverage the existing resources and expertise of the parent company, particularly in the context of public auctions and engagement in governmental projects.

The establishment procedures for a branch in Bolivia may extend in duration, primarily due to the requirement for document apostillation at the company’s headquarters. The parent company is obligated to furnish authenticated and apostilled hard copies of the articles of incorporation, bylaws, and amendments if any, and the good standing certificate.

The main characteristics of a foreign branch in Bolivia are:

  • The branch will adopt the identical name as the parent company, with the addition of ‘Sucursal Bolivia.’
  • Is a separate legal entity from the parent company through financial dependence and is required to deposit a minimum authorized capital into a Bolivian bank account
  • The branch will operate following Bolivian laws and regulations; while management decisions typically align with guidelines from the parent company, they can be adapted to suit the Bolivian context. 
  • A legal representative, who legally resides in Bolivia, must be appointed, acting through a power of attorney on behalf of the branch before local authorities. 
  • Formal registration with the Bolivian National Registry of Commerce (SEPREC) is a mandatory step.
  • Has its own financial records and tax obligations in Bolivia.
  • Subject to Bolivian taxes, including income tax, value-added tax (VAT), and social security contributions.

Note: The liabilities assumed by a branch extend to its parent company without restriction.

The Investment Law in force in Bolivia grants foreign business owners the same duties, rights, and guarantees as for national investors. Consequently, to establish a foreign capital company in Bolivia, prior authorization is not required; and once the company is established, it becomes a separate legal entity.

Every company must register with the Commercial Registry to obtain the Administrative Resolution to start operations and the Commercial Registration that grants a registration number and accredits the legal personality of the company.

Likewise, every company must also have a TIN (Tax Identification Number) for tax purposes, which is obtained from the National Tax Service.

1. Can a foreigner register a company in Bolivia?

Yes, foreigners can register a company in Bolivia. The Bolivian government encourages foreign investment and provides avenues for foreigners to establish businesses within the country.

2. What is an LLC in Bolivia?

An LLC, or Limited Liability Company, is a type of legal entity in Bolivia that combines the limited liability protection of a corporation with the flexible management structure of a partnership. It offers protection to its members’ personal assets while allowing for pass-through taxation.

3. How to Incorporate a Legal Entity in Bolivia?

  1. Choose a Legal Structure
  2. Reserve a Company Name
  3. Draft Articles of Incorporation
  4. Notarized Documents
  5. Register with the Trade Registry
  6. Tax Registration

4. How do I create an LLC in Bolivia?

To create an LLC (Limited Liability Company) in Bolivia, you must follow the registration process outlined by the Bolivian government.

There are different and varied types of legal entities in Bolivia, each with distinctive characteristics. Business owners should think carefully about which entity is best suited for their business needs before incorporating in the country. To understand which legal entity in Bolivia is the best fit for your company, seek advice from trusted local experts.

Biz Latin Hub is here to advise you in this process. Our specialists provide trusted, comprehensive accountancy, professional employment, legal services, and specialized company incorporation. We have a team with the necessary knowledge and experience to help you in this process. Contact us now to learn more.

Learn more about our team and expert authors.

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We can help you understand the legal entities in Bolivia.

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 Bolivia
Legal Team Bolivia

Legal Team Bolivia is the Biz Latin Hub leading experts on doing business in Bolivia 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 Bolivia via our "contact us page".

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