1.2 Guatemala Regulatory Departments & Quality Control

Structure of Tax Legislation

The TAX legislation is a prerogative of the Guatemalan Congress in accordance with the Political Constitution of Guatemala. The Tax norms are found in the Constitution, the Fiscal Code, the Commercial Code, the Criminal Code, as well as the regulations issued by authorized administrative bodies.  The income Tax Law, became effective in 1992, and has been amended by subsequent decrees.

Tax Administration

The Superintendence of Tax Administration (Superintendencia de Admibnistración Tributaria)  is a decentralized state entity, with competence and jurisdiction throughout the national territory, to exclusively exercise the functions of tax administration, contained in the legislation. The Institution enjoys functional, economic, financial, technical and administrative autonomy and has its own legal personality, assets and resources.

The SAT has de overall responsibility for tax administration. This decentralized agency is responsible for handling all income tax-related matters as well as Value Added Tax, ISO, Fiscal Stamps Tax, Tevaluation Tax, Capital Gains Tax.

The SAT is also in charge of administrating the Guatemalan Customs System, for which a special section on customs matters has been created for the different auxiliaries and users of the Guatemalan Customs.


The Customs Bureau (Dirección General de Aduanas) is the agency supervised by SAT that controls the customs offices which assign and collect duties, fees and VAT on imports. Customs of Origin and Customs of Destination can be: customs, internal customs, fiscal warehouses, customs warehouses, fiscal warehouses, temporary customs warehouses, free zones, ZOLIC and public zones of special development.

Quality Assurance Fuel

The MEM (Ministry of Energy and Mines) is the Government entity responsible for the quality assurance of fuels commercialized in Guatemala.   MEM has laboratories for the quality analysis of fuels, raw materials and related products.   MEM laboratories are members of international certifications such as: COGUANOR, OGA, RELABSA, IBEROARSEN and WAITRO.

Quality Assurance Food

There are two Government Ministries responsible for the quality assurance of Food.  The first one is The Ministry of Agriculture (MAGA), with the department of Norms and Regulations, that works closely with OIRSA (Organismo Internacional Regional de Sanidad Agropecuaria), which is responsible for food inspections at point of entries (ports, borders, airports). OIRSA will support member countries in the development of their animal and plant health systems by assessing the execution of services in the control against plan and animal diseases, pest and plagues that affect agricultural patrimony. Also, will monitor, inspect, fumigate (aircrafts, vehicles, and ships) and approve the import permits for non-process foods into the country. Secondly the Ministry of Health, which has the Department for Regulations and Food Control.

Quality Assurance Medical

The government entity responsible for the quality assurance of medicines and medical supplies is the Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance (MSPAS).  Its responsibility is to guarantee the right for heath for all Guatemalan citizens, through the regulation and coordination of all health services and health prevention.

Within the Ministry, the department of Regulation and Control of Pharmaceutical products, is the one responsible to lay down rules, control all pharmaceutical products and import entities, producers and marketers

For more information on regulatory departments and quality control laboratories’ contact details, please see the following links: 4.1 Government Contact List and 4.3 Laboratory and Quality Testing Company Contact List.

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