Establish Your Business


Basic Requirements

Requesting and Registering an Employer Identification Number

Except for sole proprietorships that do not employ anyone (other than the sole proprietor), every entity engaged in a trade or business in Puerto Rico must obtain a federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

To fill out an SS-4 Form and get your EIN, click here.

Upon obtaining an EIN, the entity must file a SC-4809 Form, a copy of the certificate of incorporation, and a copy of Form SS-4 with the P.R. Treasury Department, click here.

Merchant’s Registration Certificate

All merchants seeking to engage in a trade or business in Puerto Rico must register with the Registry of Businesses at the Puerto Rico Treasury Department at least 30 days prior to commencing business operations.

The Certificate of Registration issued by the Treasury Department must be placed in a location at the trade or business that is visible to the general public. A merchant may not transfer its Certificate of Registration or Certificate of Exemption unless the transfer is previously approved by the Secretary of Treasury. Any merchant who acquires taxable items for resale or any manufacturing plant may request a certificate of exemption of the sales and use tax. Every certificate of exemption is valid for three (3) years. The exemption certificate is important because every merchant who has been issued this certificate will not have to pay sales tax when he or she purchases the items listed in the certificate.

For more information on requirements and how to fill out a form requesting your Merchant's Registration Certificate, click here.

Compulsory Business Registry

All businesses operating in Puerto Rico must register every year, by July 15, with the Compulsory Business Registry. Registration requires certain statistical information and may be accomplished over the Internet.

For forms and additional information, click here.

Municipal License Taxes

Within 30 days of commencing operations, a business must provide written notice to the Director of Finance of each municipality in which it has commenced operations and request a provisional license for the quarter in which it commences operations.

Bidders Registry

If you want to engage in business dealings with any executive branch agency under the Government of Puerto Rico umbrella, you must first register with the Bidders Registry. The registry is managed by the General Services Administration. Among the requirements are the payment of an annual fee and evidence of municipal and state taxes payment.

For more information on payments and to register with the Bidders Registry, click here.

Financial and Accounting Records

As a general rule, a taxpayer must keep and maintain financial and accounting records sufficient to compute both net income under General Accepted Accounting Principles and taxable income under the P.R. Revenue Code. The General Corporation Act of 2009 provides that every foreign corporation authorized to do business in the Commonwealth shall keep and maintain in Puerto Rico those accounting books, documents, and records (including inventory records) which are sufficient to:

  • Clearly establish gross income and deductions, credits and other details in connection with its operations in Puerto Rico that will be declared in its Puerto Rico tax returns.
  • Clearly show the amount of its investments in Puerto Rico, the Puerto Rico property owned by the corporation, and the amount of capital spent in conducting business in Puerto Rico.

In regard to Audited Financial Statements, every person engaged in a trade or business in Puerto Rico whose volume of business exceeds $3,000,000 must file financial statements, certified by a certified public accountant (CPA) licensed in Puerto Rico, along with their income tax, property tax, and volume of business returns. All foreign corporations must also file a balance sheet of their Puerto Rico operations, certified by a CPA licensed in Puerto Rico, together with the Annual Corporation Report.

Audited Financial Statements

Every person engaged in a trade or business in Puerto Rico whose volume of business exceeds $3,000,000 must file financial statements, certified by a certified public accountant (CPA) licensed in Puerto Rico, along with their income tax, property tax, and volume of business returns. All foreign corporations must also file a balance sheet of their Puerto Rico operations, certified by a CPA licensed in Puerto Rico, together with the Annual Corporation Report.

Internal Revenue Licenses

A license from the Puerto Rico Treasury Department link may be required to carry out certain activities, including: selling cigarettes, gasoline, vehicles and parts and accessories of vehicles, jewelry, cement; operating coin-operated machines; operating duty-free port stores; selling firearms and munitions; and operating public carrier businesses. Such licenses may not be transferred without the authorization of the Puerto Rico Secretary of Treasury. A manufacturer of articles whose sale requires a license is not required to have such license, provided the manufacturing operations are completely apart from any location in which an activity subject to such a license is conducted.

Municipal Revenue Collection Center (CRIM)

In Puerto Rico, property is classified for property tax purposes as real property (land, buildings and structures, and machinery permanently attached to the land or building) and personal property (practically all other property, including intangibles, machinery, money, cattle, and shares of stock).

The Municipal Revenue Collection Center (CRIM for its Spanish Acronym) is responsible for making this classification. The CRIM is also responsible for the evaluation and appraisal of all taxable property in Puerto Rico. In addition, certain documents—including, for example, contracts that create, modify, transfer, or terminate a right or lien in relation to a real property right; any lease of real property for a term of six years or more that is to have effect as to third parties; powers of attorney; and last wills and testaments—are generally required to be executed in deed form in Puerto Rico and recorded in the Property Registry.

In order to get a property registered in said Property Registry, the CRIM will certify that the real property is free of any lien due to taxes. {link to Property Registry}

Permits

A business seeking to construct a new structure or modify an existing structure must obtain a construction permit. Generally, construction permits are obtained by the architect or engineer who has prepared and certified the blueprints for the project.

A Use Permit is the authorization issued for the occupation and use of certain lands, buildings, or structures. This permit is required when the construction (for which a construction permit was issued) is completed. The Use Permit will be issued only for the use identified in the certificate of construction; in case a special use permit is required, it will be issued separately. For the use permit to be issued, the business will need to have the Sanitary License and the Fire Department Inspection.

For information regarding Construction and Use, Sanitary License, Fire Department Inspection, and Emergency Generator Operation Permits, visit the links below which provide the instructions and forms needed to acquire these permits.

For a complete list of permits, click here.

For more information and to request your Sanitary License, click here.

To request the Fire Department inspection along with the application for the Use Permit and additional information, click here.

For more information on requirements and to request Emergency Generator Operation Permits, click here.

Contact us to learn more about the basic requirements to set up your business in Puerto Rico.