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Uruguay Import Regs.: Tariffs & Taxes

Share your understandings of Uruguay importing regulations, standards and other trade information.

Uruguay Import Regs.: Tariffs & Taxes

Postby bridgat » Tue Nov 18, 2008 7:18 am

Decree #527/001 of December 31, 2001 was further modified to update the Mercosur CET nomenclature as of January 1, 2007. This update also changed a number of CET rates on specific products.

On November 26, 2007, Uruguay implemented Mercosur Decision #37/07 raising the duty rates on selected HS shoe classifications to come into effect on January 1, 2008. Shoe imports are subject to a special regime. See licensing requirements.

* All customs duties, surcharges, service and other charges are consolidated in a customs unified rate or "tasa global arancelaria" (TGA).

The general VAT rate is 23% plus a 10% advanced VAT (depending on the product -- usually luxury goods), the latter is refundable against local income tax liabilities. For selected items the VAT is 14% and the anticipated VAT of 3%, including medicines/specialty pharmaceuticals, certain primary products subject to further elaboration, and certain basic foodstuffs.

The pork is subject to a 19% anticipated VAT rate. Specific duties are levied on PET products (plastic packaging).

Under the Uruguayan Customs Code (Law No. 15.691 of 7 December 1984, as amended), imports under the temporary admission regime are not subject to any taxes, including the BROU commission (Law No. 16.492 of 2 June 1994). Pursuant to Law No. 16.492 and Decree No. 380/004 of 22 October 2004, goods may enter under the temporary admission regime for a maximum non-renewable period of 18 months.

Some goods and services are exempt from VAT. Activities eligible under certain special promotion laws are also exempt, for example, forestry, civil aviation and tourism, or under the Investment Law.

Goods and services exempt from VAT
Exemptions for certain goods:
Fruit, vegetables and horticultural produce in their natural state (except where they are subject to a tax on the sale of agricultural goods exceeding zero);

Real estate;

Assignment of loans;

Agricultural machinery and accessories (where authorized by the Executive);

Tobacco, cigars and cigarettes;

Petroleum fuels, except fuel oil (where the Executive fixes the IMESI rate on diesel fuel at zero, this product is subject to the basic rate of VAT);

Pasteurized, vitaminized, skimmed milk, in powder and with flavouring;

Goods to be used in agricultural production and raw materials for their manufacture, as determined by the Executive (included in spot purchases and imports when domestic production is not sufficient);

Newspapers, periodicals, reviews, books and brochures of any type, with the exception of pornographic items, and educational material;

Supply of water and electricity (where the Executive fixes the IMESI rate on electricity at zero, its supply will be subject to the basic rate of VAT);
Sheep meat (where determined by the Executive and for a maximum of 90 days);
Fish (where determined by the Executive);
Firewood (where determined by the Executive).
Interest on public and private securities and bank deposits;

Remuneration earned by agents selling stamped paper and stamps and agents and salesmen of the Directorate of Lotteries and Football Pools;

Passenger transport;

Leasing of real estate;

Banking transactions (with exceptions) by banks, private banks and savings and loan cooperatives covered by Article 28 of Decree-Law No. 15.322 of 17 September 1982, with the exception of the State Insurance Bank;

Personal remuneration earned outside a relationship of dependence relating to the health of human beings;

Services by air-spraying companies, registered with the competent authorities for applying chemicals, sowing and fertilizing for agriculture;

Interest on loans granted to companies declared to be of national interest pursuant to Decree-Law No. 14.178 of 28 March 1974, in order to finance industrial promotion projects, while awaiting the financing agreed to by national or foreign financing institutions;

Supply of refrigeration through the use of cold chambers or other similar technical processes for fruit, vegetables and horticultural produce in their natural state;

Personal remuneration earned outside a relationship of dependence when this is derived from cultural activities by artists resident in Uruguay;

Commission earned for engaging in the buying and selling of government securities;

Agricultural machinery leasing services or other services related to use of the machinery by producers' cooperatives, associations and unions, to their members;

Games of chance existing on the date of enactment of Law No. 16.697 of 25 April 1995, in the form of tickets, coupons or other documents concerning games and betting, with the exception of "5 de Oro" and "5 de Oro Junior";

Services provided by hotels outside the high season, when so determined by the Executive.
Crude petroleum;

Goods the sale of which is exempt in Uruguay;

Public passenger transport vehicles to be used to supply scheduled services;

Imports for certain projects approved by the Executive.
Other specified activities or entities:
Cultural and teaching institutions, sports federations or associations, financial investment companies, companies whose earnings does not exceed the amount determined annually by the Executive; National Electricity Plants and Transmission Authority (UTE); goods to be used for public works; and articles related to certain insurance contracts.
Source:Harmonized Text of the Directorate-General of Taxation, Title 10, Value-Added Tax (1996) and Decree No. 220/998 of 12 August 1998.

A 2% commission collected by the Bank of Republic of Uruguay permitted by Decree 33/2002 of January 30, 2004. The schedule for reducing this commission was published on September 29, 2004 with the following sequence: 2.5% until 12/31/07; 1% until June 30, 2008; and zero, thereafter.

See separate entry on this site concerned with Consular fees.

* Freight traveling on U.S. and Uruguayan registered airlines (PLUNA-VARIG) is exempt from a 4% tax placed on freight arriving on all other airlines.

Auto Imports

Completely built-up (CBU) vehicles are currently subject to a 30% tariff while completely knocked down (CKD) vehicle kits are subject to a 15% tariff. Certain agricultural tractors are not charged a tariff. Mercosur are yet to adopted because of disagreements over specific elements of any auto regime. Uruguay generally seeks lower tariffs on parts, because of its assembly operations.

In the interim, vehicles imported from other Mercosur countries, which do not meet the regional content requirement of 60 percent ( for Argentina a sub-content rule of percent for components made in Argentina to qualify for duty free-entry), are subject to a 10 percent duty. For trade among Mercosur countries all products that have at least 60 percent regional content are traded among these countries with a 0 percent import tax.

Decree No. 245/002

The Uruguayan Ministry of Economy and Finances has released Decree no. 245/002 in which it set reference prices for alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, cigars, tobacco, cigarettes, lubricants, grease and sugar. This measure is part of the Specific Internal Tax (IMESI) regime.

The Specific Internal Tax (IMESI) is a special consumption tax levied at the wholesale level at the time of first sale on domestic and imported products. The IMESI regime has been the subject of several amendments over reent years.

Specific Internal Tax
Product Rate (September 2005)
Rate (1998)
Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages 5% to 81.5%
22% to 85%
Beverages, cosmetics and perfumes 20%
Cigarettes and tobacco 70%
Oils and lubricants 35%, or 15% when used in aviation
Automobiles running on gasoline or diesel fuel (except those used in agriculture) 0% to 47%
25% to 30%
Electricity n.a.
Fuel subject to special rates Eco Super Naphtha, Ur$9.295/litre; premium naphtha, Ur$8.930/litre; regular naphtha, Ur$7.525/litre; kerosene, Ur$1.641/litre; and gasoil diesel fuel, Ur$0.887/litre (rates applicable to the first sale)
Malts and liquid foods 13%
Diesel engines (not incorporated in vehicles) 60%, except where imported by shipping companies for use in vehicles
n.a... Not available.

Source: Harmonized Text of the Directorate-General of Taxation, Title 11, Specific Internal Tax, and [Presidential] Decree of 31 December 2002. WTO

The IMESI levied on fruit juice-based beverages varies depending on national content. The rate is 22 per cent on mineral waters and sodas and non-alcoholic beverages made with at least 10 per cent of Uruguayan fruit juice and 5 per cent in the case of lemon juice; other non-alcoholic beverages are subject to a 30 per cent rate. As of 2005, the IMESI also applied to sugar (except for industrial use) at the following rates: 10 per cent during the first year after Law No. 17.379 of 26 July 2001 entered into force; 8 per cent the second year; 6 per cent the third year; and 4 per cent the fourth year.

The IMESI is paid on the real value (usual selling price to the consumer) or on notional values determined by the Executive Branch, taking into account the usual selling price to the consumer. The notional values are fixed twice yearly for certain products. In the case of beer and non-alcoholic beverages (with the exception of those containing a minimum of 10 per cent of Uruguayan fruit juice, mineral water or sodas), the notional values are fixed for domestic production. Under Decree No. 204/005 of 29 July 2005, the notional value for imports of beer, non-alcoholic beverages, liquid foods and bitters (with or without alcohol) is twice the value fixed for domestic products, which means a higher tax burden on imports. Notional values are also fixed for malt, liquid foods, tobacco products, lubricants and lubricating grease and sugar for consumption (except when intended for industrial use).
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