The Firm began in the early seventies, founded by doctor Alvaro Leyva Zambrano at the end of the Frente Nacional. Since then the firm has remained strong, adapting itself to the country?s social, economic and political challenges.
Leyva Abogados took part in the normative changes resulting from the Musgrave Mission conclusions. The Mission found a grave imbalance in the country?s tax structure, in which the income tax tariff was sixty percent above the average of other countries in the region, and indirect tax collection lay fifty percent below the Latin American regional context.
The Mission therefore recommended strengthening indirect tax collection, which negatively affected income distribution. This trend of increasing collection by means of indirect taxes became evident in all Tax Reforms that took place in 1974, 1977 and 1979.
Throughout the eighties, Latin American economic difficulties and new social phenomena ?Drug Trafficking, political violence, peace dialogues with armed groups, among others? changed Colombia?s social and political panorama. The Government thus created new projects in order to update the country?s tax system, in the hope of solving these new challenges. The Ajustes integrales por inflación, a 1986 reform, attempted to increase the equality and neutrality in the income tax, strengthen the tax system, improve the management of tax collection offices, and respond to inflationary effects. In 1989, the Decree number 624 of the Tax Statute compiled the multiple tax norms issued and in force until then.
The nineties began with a new political Constitution, written and approved by the Constituent Assembly, a clear reflection of an inclusive country. The Assembly was able to bring together the different political forces, including representatives of recently demobilized armed groups. Furthermore, Colombia joined the international economic and political trends that pushed forward the liberalization of trade and of the global economy.
This economic opening triggered a decrease in tax income due to the reduction of custom duty tariffs. New reforms were then needed to increase revenue. Throughout the decade multiple tax reforms were approved at the end of every legal year, driving Leyva Abogados into a period of constant learning about these new changes and implications that affected our clients.
The twenty-first century violence increased not only because the Government initiative of confronting armed groups, but also because of fighting between them. Defense spending increased and the financial system consolidated, along with free trade and deregulation. As a result, notable social and economic changes started to appear, in particular the strengthening of the mining industry. Foreign investment in Colombia, along with the repercussions of political measures adopted by neighbouring countries, triggered an influx of capital
In regards to tax issues, the Gravemen a los movimientos financieros (Bank Activity Tax) was created as a temporary measure, although it is still in force. The Government introduced an estate tax in certain legal periods, as well as a number of norms benefitting both natural and legal persons of foreign origin. In the same manner, it introduced other mechanisms to prevent double taxation at an international level, and others to control tax elusion and evasion.
Alongside these comings and goings, Leyva Abogados has kept itself current, offering efficient and timely advice in all tax matters. Furthermore, throughout the years, and due to the ever-increasing demand in other areas of the Law, the firm has strengthened its practice in the spheres of Corporate and Trade Law. This has allowed it to offer clients a more integral set of legal services.
And Leyva Ontier is born
Leyva Ontier Abogados was born at the beginning of year 2015 as a result of the integration of Leyva Abogados into the global firm Ontier, a global firm with more than fifty years of experience which provides legal services in all areas of practice. Currently established on twelve countries, with a global team of more than two hundred and fifty lawyers to serve our clients: Spain, Portugal, United Kingdom, Colombia, Perú, Chile, México, Brazil, Venezuela, Bolivia, Paraguay, United States of America and China.