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Shelf Company in Costa Rica

Shelf Company in Costa Rica

Starting a business in Costa Rica can imply the creation of a new entity or the acquisition of an existing one. The second option can be completed through the purchase of Costa Rican shelf companies, especially when time is a sensitive matter.

Below, our company formation officers in Costa Rica explain how the process of buying a shelf company is completed, as well as the most important aspects to consider when choosing this pathway to start your own business in this country. Also, this is a good choice if you want to immigrate to Costa Rica based on business investment.

Steps in buying a ready-made company in Costa Rica

When discussing Costa Rican shelf companies, the matter is not to register but to purchase them. This process implies:

  1. searching for shelf company provider;
  2. choosing the type of entity and the features it comes with;
  3. verifying the company about to purchase;
  4. completing the transaction, also known as the share transfer deal.

If you need support in choosing a type of entity that can be purchased, feel free to use our company due diligence services in Costa Rica. Our agents will guide you every step of the way.

Features of Costa Rican shelf companies

The main advantage of such entities is that they are already registered with the Companies House in Costa Rica. Also, they are specifically designed to be sold. A ready-made company will come with an existing name and its statutory documents containing the names of the shareholders, and director.

Aged companies in Costa Rica are also registered with the tax authorities and, as a result, have a tax identification number to enable them to begin doing business right away. Additionally, they will have a business bank account. Optionally, they can also be registered for VAT purposes.

 A downside of choosing such a structure, however, is the higher cost when compared to opening a new company in Costa Rica.

Types of shelf companies

The Company Act requires service providers for shelf companies to have them incorporated before going on sale in order to comply with the same regulations as new companies. The private limited liability company and the joint stock company are the two legal forms that ready-made businesses take in Costa Rica.

 In most cases, the private company is the most sold, as it is simpler to register, and is also cheaper. However, the price depends on various factors.

The shelf company can be used to move and obtain a residence permit for Costa Rica, considering employment implies strict regulations in this country.

You can get in touch with our Costa Rican lawyers for guidance on the best way to relocate here.

How much does it cost to buy a shelf company?

In most cases, it may be more expensive to buy Costa Rican shelf companies than to set up new enterprises. This happens because such companies have a history, making them much more expensive than newer companies. A company’s age will increase the level of confidence of business partners as well as with potential clients.

A Costa Rican shelf company can be used for a number of activities, but it is typically used to carry out regular business operations. You can rely on our local specialists with the process of acquisition.

Comparison between new and shelf companies

New companies vs. shelf companies are always on the table when it comes to starting a business in Costa Rica, so here is some useful information to help you decide:

  • a new company takes about 3 or 4 weeks to be registered while buying an existing one can take a few days;
  • the minimum number of shareholders for a new private company is 2, which may cause difficulties in finding a partner when you are a single entrepreneur, which is not a problem for a shelf company;
  • from a taxation point of view, the standard corporate tax of 30% applies to both new and shelf companies.

If you are interested in Costa Rican shelf companies for purchase or you want to open a company in Costa Rica, feel free to contact us.