since 1971

Leyva was born in the early seventies, towards the end of the National Front period. The firm has carried on since that time, adapting to national social, economic, and political changes.

Leyva contributed to the normative modifications derived from the recommendations of the Musgrave Mission, which in 1968 provided the foundation for Colombia’s ensuing tax laws, perceiving a serious imbalance in the tax structure: an income tax rate sixty percent above the comparative average of regional rates, and an indirect taxes collection fifty percent below the Latin American context.

The Mission’s recommendation to strengthen the collection of indirect taxes, unfortunately, generated inequality in the distribution of taxpayers’ income; this tendency towards increasing collection through indirect taxes became evident in the subsequent Tax Reforms of 1974, 1977, and 1979.

During the 1980s, difficulties facing Latin American economies and rising social phenomena (drug trafficking, political violence, peace processes with armed groups outside the law) transformed Colombia’s social and political landscape. Consequently, projects emerged seeking to modernize the national tax regime, attempting to solve these new challenges. In 1986, new reforms pursued infusing greater equity and neutrality to the income tax, strengthening the tax system, improving the efficiency of the tax administration, and reflecting the effect of inflation through the System of Integral Adjustments for Inflation. In 1989, Decree 624 (Tax Statute) compiled the different tax regulations in force to date.

The decade of the nineties began with a new Political Constitution, written and approved by the National Constituent Assembly. To reflect an inclusive nation, the Assembly brought together the various political forces, including that of the recently demobilized guerrilla ex-combatants. In addition, Colombia was not alien to the international political and economic currents that drove the liberalization of trade and the global economy.

This economic liberalization occasioned a decrease in tax revenues owing to tariff reductions, triggering the need for new reforms to increase collection. During this decade, tax reforms were approved at the end of each tax year, compelling Leyva Abogados into a period of constant learning to comprehend and analyze these constant changes and their implications for our clients.
In the XXI Century, violence increased due to the Government’s efforts to oppose the illegal armed groups and the hostilities among them. Defense spending increased, consolidation occurred in the financial system, and open trade prevailed. In the first decade of this new century, notable socio-economic changes took place, a product of foreign investment in the country and the influence of policy measures adopted by neighboring countries.

Tax-wise, the Tax on Financial Transactions was created as temporary but remains in effect. The Wealth Tax was introduced during some taxable periods, and regulations to benefit foreigners were issued, both for individuals and legal entities. Similarly, mechanisms have been put in place to avoid international double taxation, and control mechanisms against tax avoidance and evasion were introduced.

The Peace Process with the F.A.R.C culminated in 2016, thus dissolving the oldest guerrilla in Latin America and generating a national political polarization among those unaccepting of any concession with the armed actors and those who maintained that only reciprocal concessions could effectively end the conflict. While the signing of the Peace Agreement has generated an increase in the number of travelers visiting the country (150% versus the last ten years), the post-conflict reality requires the allocation of additional resources in the National Budget. Presently, the big challenge in this new stage is to generate real job opportunities for those who had selected violence and drug trafficking as their livelihood.

In step with all this toing and froing, Leyva has maintained its relevance, providing efficient and timely counsel in tax matters. In addition, over the years, and given a growing demand in other legal areas, the firm has strengthened its corporate practice and in business in general, thereby providing our clients with comprehensive legal services.

Amidst these historical events, and as a result of global trends toward the internalization of legal services, Leyva went into partnership with Ontier, a Spanish firm, and consequently, Leyva Ontier was created in 2015. The partnership Leyva Ontier provided the original firm opportunities to venture into new business areas and successfully confirmed the professional capacity of its legal team on a global stage. However, the different visions of the professional practice led Leyva to resume its course as a local firm, without disregarding the importance of its international peers in different countries to service its clients in other jurisdictions.

It is from this historical groundwork, that we in Leyva aim to provide our clients with a comprehensive service and a close relationship throughout the evolution of their business. Following the tradition of our firm, we have kept ourselves at the forefront of regulatory changes, to provide efficient and timely legal counsel. We offer our team’s experience to make possible your long-term projections. Aligned with international standards and global cultural innovations, at Leyva we transform the challenges of our clients into legal opportunities and business solutions.