The exemption from VAT in Uruguay, in force since 2012 for expenses of gastronomic services, car rental companies and catering services for events and parties, was extended until April 2018 for foreign tourists. Non-resident visitors receive 10.5% VAT back for rental of real estate.
The announcement was made last week by the Ministry of Tourism, following a recent agreement with the Ministry of Economy and Finance.
This measure is complementary to the hotel VAT tax benefit package that runs throughout the year, as well as the free fee for all purchases above 600 Uruguayan pesos in the affiliated businesses of the system. Up to 80% of the VAT paid can be returned to the tourist in five business days, by credit card, after registration in the control or self-management terminal (existing at Carrasco airport in Montevideo and Salto, border with Argentina).
The tax exemption for foreign visitors is a tool of great competitiveness, which reflects in the numbers of tourism constantly.
Conquering various audiences
With the adoption of the tax exemption measure, Argentine tourists who did not visit the country started to go. The ministry managed to reach a “segment of Argentine tourism” that “was not arriving in the country”, but that, as a result of this devolution, again chose the country as a destination.
In the first six months of 2017 more tourists arrived in Uruguay than the same period of the previous year. These visitors spent more days and spent more money, approximately $ 1.5 billion, a 39.1% increase compared to a figure of $ 1.035 billion during the same period of 2016. In the same six months, the sector’s turnover was almost double of the proceeds from the export of soybeans, US $ 765 million.
Taxes are returned only to foreign tourists, when required by the visitor at commercial offices authorized by the General Tax Office (DGI). Each trade must fill out a form and deliver it along with the purchase invoice. The documents, when the processes done manually, must be presented at the posts of the National Directorate of Customs. Or, currently, in self-management terminals of Tax Free existing in the airport of Carrasco and the border of Salto.
The return of the money of the IVA is realized in five useful days after the information of the number of credit card in the customs, in case of acceptance of the request made by the customs prosecutor. It occurs only for purchases of products with values above 600 Uruguayan pesos (approximately 21 dollars).
Exit points for return
The exit points of Uruguay that can carry out the return of taxes are:
- Carrasco International Airport
- Laguna Del Sauce Airport
- Port of Montevideo
- Port of Colonia Del Sacramento
- Punta Del Este Cruise Arrivals Terminal
- Bridge Salto-Concordia
- Paysandú-Colón Bridge
- Fray Bentos Bridge
- Porto Unzué