Puerto Rico (U.S.)

Starting a Business in

Puerto Rico (U.S.)

Below is a detailed summary of the bureaucratic and legal hurdles faced by entrepreneurs wishing to incorporate and register a new firm in Puerto Rico (U.S.). 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 as part of the Doing Business project, which measures and compares regulations relevant to the life cycle of a small- to medium-sized domestic business in 189 economies. The most recent round of data collection was completed in June 2014.

Compare Puerto Rico (U.S.) to 188 other economies.

  • Standardized Company

  • Legal form: Limited Liability Company
  • Paid in minimum capital requirement: USD 0
  • City: San Juan
No. Procedure Time to Complete Associated Costs
1 Check online the uniqueness of the company name and Register online at the PR Department of State to obtain a business certificate
Agency: Puerto Rico Department of State

With the Trademarks Act (Act No. 169 of 2009) an entrepreneur can check the uniqueness of the company’s name online at www.estado.gobierno.pr. The General Corporations Act (Act No. 164 of 2009) provides online application for company’s Certificate of Incorporation. Each company must be registered at Puerto Rico Department of State or by the Corporations Division. The certificate of incorporation generally sets forth the company’s business purposes, the address of registered office, the number in each authorized class, and the rights of stockholders in each of these classes. If all documents are duly filed, the corporation could be formed and incorporated and start operations the same day.
The minimum fee for company incorporation is USD 150.
The minimum fee for company incorporation is USD 150.
1 day USD 150
2 Apply for an employer identification number (EIN) with the Internal Revenue Service of the United States and the PR Department of Treasury
Agency: Internal Revenue Service

The employer must apply for an employer identification number (EIN) with the U. S. Internal Revenue Service. Upon receipt of the EIN, the employer must submit the EIN to the Puerto Rico Treasury Department (using Form 4809), and each employee must complete Form 499-R-4 for Puerto Rico tax withholding.
1 day no charge
3 Apply for a municipal business license (patente municipal)
Agency: Municipality

Within 30 days of commencing operations, any person (natural or juridical) must apply for a municipal business license in the municipality where the company will conduct business. The law exempts the company from paying tax during the first semester of operation (January 1st to June 30th or July 1st to December 31th). Upon request and compliance with certain requirements, the Company will be issued a provisional license. Commonwealth of Puerto Rico law establishes the right of every municipality to impose and collect municipal license taxes (patentes municipales) based on the volume of business of up to 5% of gross sales. Most for-profit activities that generate revenues in excess of USD 5,000 per year are covered.
1 day no charge
4 Request unemployment and disability account numbers from the PR Department of Labor and Human Resources (Departamento del Trabajo y Recursos Humanos)
Agency: Department of Labor

Unemployment insurance tax is administered by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico Department of Labor and Human Resources. Temporary disability insurance may be obtained privately, and proof of such insurance filed with the Department of Labor, or it must be obtained from the Negociado de Seguro de Incapacidad No Ocupacional de los Trabajadores, SINOT.
1 day no charge
5 Subscribe to a workmen’s insurance policy
Agency: Private Insurer

Workers' compensation insurance is provided by the State Insurance Fund Corporation (Corporación del Fondo de Seguro del Estado). Insurance premiums vary with the type of business activity.
1 day no charge
6 File an application with the Treasury Department to get the Merchant certificate
Agency: Treasury Department

The new company must obtain a Merchant Certificate.
1 day no charge

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