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Payroll in Ecuador

Sole Proprietorship in Ecuador

Ecuador’s strong economic growth and favorable business environment make it an ideal country for commercial operations. The country has pro-business legislation, a stable economy, and the US dollar as its national currency, making it an attractive destination for investors.

In recent years, Ecuador has shown significant development in the Latin American region, as indicated by its high ranking in the World Economic Forum’s competitiveness studies. This growth trend is expected to continue, thanks to increasing investor confidence and growing investment projects, such as the modernization of airport infrastructure in major cities, a sophisticated port system, extensive fiber-optic coverage, and a first-class road network. As a result, it is easier for businesses to acquire funding and participate in the country’s growth plans. 

In this article, you’ll learn how to register a sole proprietorship in Ecuador and about the cost of sole proprietorships. Moreover, it will also give you an overview of sole proprietorship in Ecuador’s tax and laws. 

Who Can be a Sole Proprietor in Ecuador? 

To start a sole proprietorship, an individual must be of legal age and not declared legally incompetent. Ecuadorian citizens and foreigners who satisfy these criteria can start a sole proprietorship.

However, it’s essential to note that foreign individuals must possess a valid visa or special authorization to engage in commercial activities in Ecuador. Additionally, there may be other legal formalities and processes to complete to register a sole proprietorship, such as obtaining a tax identification number and registering with relevant authorities.

It’s advisable to seek guidance from a local attorney or business consultant to ensure compliance with all legal obligations and regulations when setting up a sole proprietorship in Ecuador.

Benefits of Sole Proprietorship in Ecuador

Due to its diverse advantages, Ecuador has emerged as a highly desirable market for international investors. Here are some advantages you’ll obtain if you register as self-employed in Ecuador. 

Dynamic economy

  • The Ecuadorian economy has been performing well in Latin America, driven by the opening of free trade zones and investment incentives for existing national industries.
  • Investors can benefit from the duty-free importation of raw materials and machinery and the duty-free exportation of finished or semi-processed goods. 
  • Additionally, the government has eliminated commercial barriers and tariffs with neighboring countries and actively seeks to forge commercial relationships with countries such as Mexico, Colombia, and Venezuela.

Foreign investment-friendly

  • The sole proprietorship Ecuador law treats local and foreign investors equally and fairly, providing a level playing field for all entrepreneurs. 
  • The laws promote private investment and entrepreneurship freedom.

Strategic location

  • Ecuador is strategically located on the Pacific coast of South America, providing direct access to the Pacific Ocean. 
  • As a result, businesses in the country enjoy access to various raw materials at affordable costs. 
  • The country also enjoys stable weather conditions and abundant daylight in one of the world’s most productive agricultural areas.

Modern infrastructure

  • Ecuador’s state-of-the-art infrastructure includes seven state ports, ten private docks, and an extensive transportation system with 43,197 kilometers of highways. 
  • Subsequently, Ecuadorian businesses can enjoy great connectivity with several options for transportation. 
  • National airlines such as Saeta, Tame, and Ecuatoriana connect Ecuador with other cities.

The measures mentioned above have simplified the business process in Ecuador, making it more accessible for foreign investors and local entities. As a result, it has become easier to register as self-employed in Ecuador and is more straightforward than ever before.

Documents Required for Registering Your Business in Ecuador 

The following data is helpful for businesses that are eager to register a sole proprietorship. The process involves acquiring multiple essential documents per the sole proprietorship Ecuador law. These documents include the following:

  • Articles of Incorporation: This document establishes the legal structure of the business and includes details such as the company’s name, address, purpose, and share capital.
  • Proof of identity: To incorporate a sole proprietorship, you must provide identification documents, such as a passport or national ID card.
  • Proof of address: You must provide a utility bill or other official document.
  • Tax identification number: You must obtain a tax identification number (RUC) from the Internal Revenue Service (SRI) to operate a business in Ecuador.
  • Business license: Depending on the business type, you may need to obtain a business license from the relevant municipal authority.

Other Criteria for Registering a Sole Proprietorship in Ecuador

The primary requirement to start a sole proprietorship in Ecuador is to obtain a Tax Identification number from the Servicio de Rentas Internas del Ecuador as a part of the sole proprietorship Ecuador tax, in addition to the necessary documentation mentioned earlier. 

There are no additional fees for registering as a sole proprietorship in the said country. However, it is vital to note that that the sole proprietor is personally responsible for any debts or obligations the business incurs.

After obtaining a Tax Number in Ecuador, you will be considered an active taxpayer. Your business type and taxpayer status determine the type of declaration required, but staying current with your tax obligations is essential. Depending on the type of business you establish, various vouchers are available to assist with your transactions. Once you have issued sales receipts, you must file your taxes accordingly.

Paying taxes in Ecuador is possible through an online platform using your Tax Number and password. The general VAT rate in Ecuador is 12%, managed by the Ecuadorian Internal Revenue Service (SRI). The VAT is calculated based on the sale of all goods and services. Ecuadorian companies owned by residents or non-residents in non-tax-haven jurisdictions are subject to a CIT rate ranging from 22% to 28%. 

The standard CIT rate is 25%, but a 28% rate may be applicable in cases where non-resident shareholders are situated in a tax haven jurisdiction and if an Ecuadorian individual shareholder is also part of the ownership structure. The increase in CIT rate is also applicable when the company’s ownership structure needs to be disclosed adequately to the Ecuadorian tax authorities.

How to Register a Sole Proprietorship Company in Ecuador? 

For those interested in registering a sole proprietorship in Ecuador, there are a few essential steps per sole proprietorship Ecuador law. While the process is relatively straightforward, it is crucial to comply with the requirements for registering a sole proprietorship.

Step 1: Availability and registration of business name

  • To set up a sole proprietorship in Ecuador, the first step is to check the availability of your desired business name and register it with the Superintendence of Companies (Superintendencia de Compañías, Valores y Seguros). 
  • Note that the name of your sole proprietorship can be different from your brand or service name.

Step 2: Tax Identification Number

  • You must obtain a Tax Identification Number or Fiscal Code (known as “RUC” in Spanish) from the Servicio de Rentas Internas (SRI) after registering your company with the Superintendence of Companies and the Mercantile Registry Office. 
  • This process usually takes about 24 hours.

Step 3: Open a sole proprietorship Ecuador bank account

  • After obtaining a Tax Identification Number, the next step is to open a bank account for sole proprietorship in Ecuador. 
  • Selecting a bank that offers reasonable pricing structures for international transactions and has flexible policies for companies with foreign shareholders is essential. 
  • This decision will determine when your new company can start its operations.


Ecuador’s growing economy has made it a sought-after destination for foreign investors who want to establish their businesses. It is easy to register as self-employed in Ecuador, hence making it an appealing choice for local and international investors. Moreover, there are many benefits for companies doing business in Ecuador, which opens up new opportunities for entrepreneurs to launch their startups.

Multiplier provides reliable and secure EOR (Employer of Record) solutions to simplify the hiring and subsequent management of foreign employees. Additionally, they offer an easy-to-use one-click payment system that streamlines payroll management for freelancers with sole proprietorships in various countries. With Multiplier, one can negate the requirement of registering a business in 150+ countries and directly start leveraging the benefits of operating in a certain country. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Ecuador has several business structures, including sole proprietorships, limited liability companies (LLCs), corporations, and partnerships. Each structure has advantages and disadvantages; the decision will depend on the business owner’s specific needs and circumstances.

The registration process for a business in Ecuador can take several weeks, depending on the complexity of the business structure and the availability of required documentation. However, registering as a sole proprietorship in Ecuador is fairly straightforward and can be completed quickly.

Ecuadorian businesses are subject to various taxes, including income tax, value-added tax (VAT), and withholding tax. The exact taxes your business will be subject to will depend on the nature of your business and its operations.

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