Investment in Uruguay has been declared of national interest by law. Foreign investors enjoy the same incentives as nationals, being there no discrimination from the point of view of taxes, or restrictions for the transfer of profits overseas. Furthermore, there are general and automatic incentives for investment.
The regime for the promotion of investment is foreseen in Law Nº 16.906, which declares the activities related to the promotion and protection of the investment made in the national territory by national or foreign investors as activities of national interest.
The regulatory framework for that regime has been developed and enhanced in recent years, leading to the regulations currently in force contained in Decree N°002/2012.
These tools offer two different sets of fiscal incentives, i.e., general and specific.
GENERAL INCENTIVES FOR INVESTMENT
The beneficiaries of these fiscal incentives are payers of the Economic Activities Income Tax (IRAE) and the Tax on the Sale of Farming Produce (IMEBA) that engage in industrial or farming activities.
Below is a listing of the benefits applied automatically:
– Net worth tax (IP) exemption for the tangible property to be directly used in the production cycle and the equipment used for the electronic processing of data.
– Exemption of the Value Added Tax (VAT) and the Internal Specific Tax (IMESI) applied to imports.
– Return of the VAT paid in the local market with the purchase of tangible property destined to the production cycle and the equipment used for the electronic processing of data.
In addition, the Executive Power has the power to decide net worth tax exemptions to fixed asset goods such as:
– Betterment of fixed assets destined to industrial and farming activities.
– Property intangible assets such as brands, patents, industrial models, privileges, copyrights, goodwill value, trade names and concessions granted for prospection, crops, extraction or operation of natural resources.
– Other assets, procedures, inventions or creations that incorporate technological innovation and imply technology transfer.
INCENTIVES CONCERNING SPECIFIC INVESTMENT
The companies in any sector of activity that present an investment Project that is promoted by the Executive Power will be offered the possibility to access additional benefits. These incentives are contemplated in the new regulations in the investment promotion regime (Decree N° 002/012) and the General Operative Criteria as defined by the Implementation Committee (COMAP).
Below is a list of the benefits offered to the companies whose investment is promoted by the Executive Power:
Economic Activities Income Tax (IRAE)
This exemption is defined on the basis of a matrix with indicators, and the score obtained in that matrix. The indicators in the matrix used for these projects and their weighing coefficients include:
– Creation of jobs: 30%
– Decentralization: 15%
– Increased exports: 15%
– Cleaner production or R&D Investment: 20%
– Sectoral indicator: 20%
Each indicator is computed as an integer number ranging from 0 to 10 points, obtaining the final matrix score as the weighed sum of each of the indicators.
The exemption will be made considering the purchase of the following goods to be used for the fixed assets:
– Chatter and real estate fixed assets. Non utilitarian vehicles and tangible property to be used in residences, fixed assets betterments; residential real estate is not included.
– Intangible assets as set forth by the Executive Power.
– Seedlings and costs for planting pluri-annual fruit trees and bushes, provided that expenditures occur during the first year of the investment schedule.
As for the amount to be computed to obtain the benefits, the investment to be considered as part of the project is that made within the last six months prior to the date of submission of the application.
With regard the amount to be exempted, it applies to the taxes levied, and not to the fiscal revenue. The exemption shall not exceed 100% of the sum effectively invested in the assets detailed in the project, nor may it exceed 60% of the tax to be paid in each of the fiscal years comprised in the declaration for promotion.
Given the formula for calculating the amount of benefit in terms of IRAE, final exemptions shall never be lower than 20% of the amount invested. The duration of a Company’s IRAE exemption period is established in accordance with a pre-established formula, and it will not be less than 3 years.
Industrial park users are eligible for these benefits, as well as other additional benefits:
– The overall weighed score obtained will be increased by 15%.
– Users may benefit from fiscal credits for the employer contributions associated to the incremental jobs for the project promoted during a 5-year period.
Net worth tax (IP)
Exemption on the tangible property not receiving any exemptions due to other benefits in their useful life. In the case of real estate, the exemption will include civil works carried out, for a term of eight years if the project is located in Montevideo and a 10-year exception if it is based in the interior of the country.
Imports rates and duties
Exemption of imports rates and duties, including V.A.T. on fixed asset tangible property and materials to be used in civil works that do not enjoy exemptions due to other benefits, provided they are declared as non competitive with the national industry by the National Directorate for Industry (DNI) of the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Mining (MIEM).
National Value Added Tax (VAT)
Return of the VAT for the purchase of materials and services for the civil works in the market.
ONE-STOP WINDOW FOR INVESTMENT
Unit For The Support To The Private Sector (UnASeP)
The request is presented before the Unit For The Support To The Private Sector (UnASeP) in four copies, including all the information required by the Committee for the Implementation of the Investment Law (COMAP).
For further information on the data required to formulate and present the projects, please visit the web site: http://www.mef.gub.uy/comap_nuevo_reg.php
The investment project is submitted to COMAP, who will determine which should be the appropriate Ministry or agency in charge of its assessment, in accordance with the nature of the project and the relevant activity. Once the project has been assessed by the appropriate Ministry, COMAP sets forth the recommendations due to each specific case.
Date of issuance: 60 working days (extendable); if no decisions have been issued by then, the project will be considered to be promoted.
Once COMAP issues a decision (or when there is a presumptive approval), an undetermined period of time elapses before the Executive Power signs the Resolution granting benefits to the company.
After the decision is made to promote a certain investment project, COMAP monitors it, requesting the company to present the accounting statements with their audit reports (every project) and a complementary sworn statement with the information needed to check compliance of the indicators for implementation of the benefits.