Representante Legal

Representantes legales

Panorama general de la representación legal y sus responsabilidades asociadas.

En la práctica, todas las compañías que operen en Chile deben designar uno o más representantes legales con residencia en el país. El representante legal será el punto de contacto entre la compañía y las autoridades de gobierno, y será quien ostente la firma que autorice todo acto oficial que obligue a la compañía.

De acuerdo al artículo 1448 del Código Civil chileno, lo que una persona, ejecuta a nombre de otra, natural o jurídica (y bajo el supuesto que se han otorgado los poderes correspondientes), tendrá sobre la representada iguales efectos como si ésta hubiera actuado por si misma. Por tanto, una representante in situ, que sea diligente y responsable, es de extrema importancia, ya que sus acciones pueden generar obligaciones legales para la compañía.

Por otra parte, el artículo 44 del mismo texto legal, requiere que el representante legal lleve adelante su encargo con la misma diligencia que aplicaría a sus propios negocios, haciéndolo responsable por cualquier acción tomada fuera de los poderes otorgados. La ley exige a los representantes legales un mayor estándar de cuidado y diligencia que al personal común.

No es coincidencia que la representación en Chile esté regulada en las reglas del mandato, que es considerado un contrato basado en la confianza (intuito personae) y en especial consideración de la persona investida con los poderes de representación. Un mandato se mantendrá en vigencia mientras no sea revocado expresamente por la parte representada.

El representante legal y el Servicio de Impuestos Internos (SII) 

De acuerdo a la legislación general, el SII requiere que todo inversionista extranjero tenga un representante legal válido, responsable por todas las interacciones y de mantener la información de la compañía actualizada, presentar los formularios de impuestos (declaraciones de impuestos y declaraciones juradas), y ser notificado casos de auditoría. El representante legal también será considerado la contraparte en un procedimiento tributario.

Considerando lo anterior, las actividades del representante legal no se limitan al registro inicial de la información de la compañía. De acuerdo a la circular Nº 17 de 1995, el contribuyente, a través de su representante legal, está obligado a informar a la autoridad tributaria, las siguientes acciones:

  1. Cambio de nombre de la compañía
  2. Cambio de domicilio
  3. Cambio de giro
  4. Apertura o cierre de sucursal
  5. Cambio de domicilio (para notificaciones)
  6. Cambio de propiedad (derechos sociales)
  7. Aumento o disminución de capital
  8. Cambio de representante legal
  9. Transformación de sociedad individual a colectiva.
  10. Fusiones de sociedades
  11. Divisiones de sociedades
  12. Otras informaciones

Todo lo anterior debe ser informado al SII dentro de dos meses luego de que se han realizado estos cambios, de otra manera, la compañía será multada de acuerdo al artículo 109 del código tributario.

Responsabilidad de los representantes legales.

Un representante legal asume también ciertas responsabilidades. Por ejemplo, si una compañía no paga sus impuestos en Chile, el SII podrá iniciar una acción penal o civil contra el representante directamente.  En una demanda civil presentada contra la compañía, es el representante legal quien es llamado a comparecer frente a tribunales.

El código tributario chileno establece la eventual responsabilidad de los representantes legales en sus artículos 98 y 99, como sigue:

Artículo 98: De las sanciones pecuniarias responden el contribuyente y las demás personas legalmente obligadas.

Artículo 99: Las sanciones corporales y los apremios, en su caso, se aplicarán a quien debió cumplir la obligación y, tratándose de personas jurídicas, a los gerentes, administradores o a quienes hagan las veces de éstos y a los socios a quienes corresponda dicho cumplimiento.

Vale la pena señalar que pese a estas responsabilidades no son automáticamente asignadas a los representantes, teniendo en cuenta que la ley chilena reconoce el derecho al debido proceso, es de hecho una contingencia asumida por cualquiera que detente la representación un tercero.

El representante legal y otras instituciones.

Con el representante legal actuando como la cara visible para las autoridades chilenas, las responsabilidades no se relacionan únicamente a temas tributarios. Legalmente el representante es quién será habrá de dar cumplimiento a las materias laborales y previsionales, así como el cumplimiento de las obligaciones municipales, como el pago de la patente comercial.

Conclusión

De todo lo anterior se desprende que la representación legal es un compromiso de ida y vuelta. Mientras las acciones del representante legal pueden obligar a la compañía, el mismo lleva el riesgo de ser el responsable de actos equívocos o ilícitos por parte de la administración de la compañía. Por tanto, la designación de un representante legal debe ser conducida sobre las bases de la confianza, diligencia y una buena comunicación. Por tanto, podemos decir que no se trata de una responsabilidad menor.

I am an expat in Chile

I am an expat. Do I have to deal with the Chilean Social Security System?

The possibility of a career in a country full of wine and cornered by the Pacific Ocean and the Andes mountain range certainly sounds appealing.

Schools are decent, private healthcare is among the best in the region, and there are no hurricanes or deadly animals to be worried about.

So with all that, why is my move there still keeping me awake at night? It is likely because I will have to deal with new taxes and social security in a country that is not even mine. So what should I know about it?

There are three basic social security deductions that will hurt my new Chilean paycheck:

  • 7% of it will go towards my health insurance;
  • 10% will go towards my Chilean pension; and
  • 0.6% will towards my Chilean unemployment insurance.

While the above sounds scary, the deductions are based on income capped at roughly USD 3,000 for health insurance and pension contribution, whereas for unemployment insurance it will based on income capped around USD 4,500. In other words, if make USD 10,000 a month my mandatory contributions will still be USD 210 for health insurance, USD 300 for my pension and USD 27 for unemployment.

Having said this and despite the charms of this southern nation, it is likely I would rather keep my own health and pension system in my home country. How do I get out of making these contributions in Chile then?

  • I must be a foreigner doing professional or technical work in Chile. Easy.
  • I must be affiliated to a mandatory foreign social security system that includes coverage for health, disability, pension and life insurance.
  • I need to make sure to establish in my work contract that I want to maintain my non-Chilean health and social security system abroad.
  • My wonderful employer needs to communicate this to the corresponding pension fund manager in Chile. At this point in time that manager is AFP Uno but it may change in the future.

Can I also opt out of unemployment insurance? Unfortunately, no.

So the good news is that there is a way to opt out. But, what happens if I didn’t know about this during my time in Chile? Can I recover my pension contribution paid to the pension fund manager? Yes!

  • I need to submit a refund request to the manager I was paying into;
  • I need to demonstrate that I am foreign professional or technical worker by certifying my professional or technical degree. Time to dust off the diploma!
  • I need to demonstrate that I am part of a foreign social security system covering health, disability, old age and death; and
  • My former Chilean work contract must be explicit about my intention to keep my foreign social security and health insurance system.

Easy. Right? If not, then we would be happy to have a chat with you and go through the process based on your specific situation.

 

#Chile #Socialsecurity #18.156 #Expats #Expat

Representante Legal

Legal Representatives

“General overview of the legal representative and the associated liabilities”.

In practice, all companies operating in Chile are required by law to appoint one or more legal representatives. Each one must be an individual with residency in the country. The legal representative will be the company’s only point of contact for government authorities and the one with the ultimate signature authority over all official acts the company might undertake.

According to article 1448 of the Chilean Civil Code, what is executed by one person on behalf of another person or company, assuming the correct authorizations are in place, shall have the same legal effect on the party being represented as if that party acted by himself or itself. Therefore, a diligent and responsible legal representative in situ is of extreme importance, as his/her actions legally bind the represented company.

On the other hand, article 44 of the same legal text, requires that the legal representative carries out the commission with the same diligence he would apply to his own business, making him liable for any actions taken outside the powers granted. The law holds legal representatives to a higher standard of care and competence than other personnel.

It is no coincidence that legal representation in Chile is regulated by the rules of the Mandate, which is considered an agreement based on trust (intuito personae) and in specific consideration of the person invested with representation powers. A PoA will stand in effect until it is expressly revoked by the represented party.

The Legal Representative and the Chilean Internal Tax Revenue Service (SII)

In accordance with the general legislation, the SII requires that all foreign investors register a valid legal representative, responsible for all interactions, including maintaining the company’s information up to date, presenting all tax forms (tax statements, affidavits), and being notified in case of an audit. The legal representative will also be considered as the counterpart in a tax court procedure.

Considering the foregoing, the legal representative activities are not restricted to the initial registration of the company’s data. According to the SII Ruling Nº17 from 1995, the taxpayer, via its legal representative, is obliged to inform the tax authority all of the following actions:

a)Change of the company’s name

b)Change of domicile

c)Change of declared business activity

d)Opening or closure of a branch

e)Change of address (notifications)

f)Change of ownership (company rights transference)

g)Capital increase or decrease

h)Change of legal representative

i)Company transformation from individual to corporation

j)Company merger

k)Company divisions

l)Other company transformations

All of the above must be informed to the SII within two months after any change has been made, otherwise the company will be fined according to article 109 of the Chilean Tax Code.

Legal Liability of Legal Representatives

A legal representative also assumes certain personal legal liabilities. For example, if a company fails to pay taxes in Chile, the SII may bring criminal or civil penalties against a legal representative directly. In a civil law suit brought against a company, it is the legal representative who is served to appear in court.

The Chilean Tax Code establishes the eventual responsibility of the legal representative in its articles 98 and 99, as follows:

Article 98: The taxpayer and all of the legally obliged will respond to the application of financial penalties.

Article 99: Fines and other legal forms of pressure, will be applied to those obliged to comply, and for the case of corporations, will be applied to the managers, administrators and those in that position, and also, to the partners responsible for compliance.

It is worth noting that, even though these responsibilities will not be automatically assigned to the legal representative, as Chilean law recognizes the right to a due process, it is in fact a contingency assumed by anyone who holds the legal representation of a third party.

The Legal Representative and other Institutions

With the legal representative acting as the company’s “face” for all of Chilean authorities, liabilities are not only related to tax issues. Legally, it is the legal representative who will be held responsible for labor and social security matters, and for the compliance of municipal obligations such as the business license.

Conclusion

From all of the above, it can be said that legal representation is a two-way street. While the actions of the legal representative bind the represented company, the legal representative takes the risk of being held responsible for the company’s wrongful acts of administration. Therefore, the appointment of a legal representative shall be conducted under the bases of trust, diligence and communication. Thus, for all concerned, it is not a duty to be taken lightly.

Payroll

Hiring staff in Chile

Hiring staff in Chile can be tricky if you don’t know your way around some practices.

First and foremost, the Chilean employment tax system relies on the employer taking care of everything. For that purpose, your candidates will unlikely be familiar with income taxes, thus making their liability your problem.

The outcome is that they will negotiate salaries in net terms (after taxes), thus putting on you the responsibility to calculate employment tax, social security contributions, unemployment insurance and health insurance.

Let’s say that your shiny candidate wants to make about CLP 1,000,000 a month net. To get to that number you will have to consider:

  • A mandatory 7% contribution to private or public health insurance.
  • A mandatory 10% contribution to social security plus the commission of the pension fund manager (e.g. an additional 0.77%).
  • A mandatory 0.6% contribution to unemployment insurance.
  • Employment tax ranging from 0% to 40%. Following this example, taxable income of less than CLP 1,500,000 should put your candidate in the 4% marginal tax bracket.
  • A mandatory taxable bonus (“legal gratification”) paid based on the company’s profits, but that is typically capped.

While the above sounds scary, the deductions are based on income capped at roughly CLP 2,250,000 for health insurance and pension contribution, whereas for unemployment insurance, the calculation base is capped at around CLP 3,375,000.

Bottom line? To get to that CLP 1,000,000 your candidate wants you will at least have to consider a cost of CLP 1,450,000. Don’t break a sweat about this; we will help.

In addition, if you are recruiting a high maintenance executive he or she may want a car and/or housing. All of this is possible provided they are deemed as part of the taxable compensation of the employee.

Regularly speaking though, most employees would expect a small amount for commuting and lunch, which is tax free, provided it is reasonable (i.e. eating at the Ritz every day does not count).

Further and as you may be aware, in Chile we are big fans of holidays and long weekends. For that reason, your hardworking employees will expect to receive a taxable bonus (“aguinaldo”) twice a year, at least: one for the National Holidays on September 18th and one for Christmas and New Years. It does not have to be a big chunk of money, but enough to fire up the grill and welcome friends and family over.

Finally, it is worth noting that the work week in Chile is being reduced from 45 to 40 hours, unless the employee agrees to waive this limitation which is typical for professionals.

Now let’s talk about the sour aspect of employment… parting from your employee.

Letting someone go is not only a difficult emotional process, but one that has a number of legal consequences to be considered:

  • As a general rule, you can fire an employee at any time based on the needs of the company (e.g. due to poor performance). This cause will require you to duly compensate your former employee for the time spent working for you.
  • Alternatively, Chilean labor law allows other causes for firing which may free you from the obligation of paying severance. Then again, we are talking about strict reasons such as theft, which always carry with them a burden of proof.
  • If your employee is entitled to severance, he or she will be due one month of gross salary (capped at around CLP 2,556,000) per year (up to 11) or fraction exceeding 6 months that he or she has spent working for you.
  • Further, your employee is entitled to be given a 1 month notice. If such notice is waived, he or she will be entitled to another month of capped gross compensation.
  • Finally, accrued vacation time is to be paid in full and with no cap.

Should your employee quit, then a good handshake and compensation for accrued vacation will do.