The characteristics of the port regime were extended to Carrasco International Airport en 2002, making it the first free airport in South America.
Free airports imply the existence of space dedicated to the airport customs, where there is a special fiscal and customs regime in place, including the free circulation of goods, not requiring any formal procedures or authorizations.
Act 17.555, known as the “Economic Reactivation Act” passed in 2002 allows for the expansion of the capital airport and opens the possibility of operating the Airport in Durazno in the center of the country, which was also granted the free airport status.
The free airport regulatory framework is detailed in Decree 409 passed in 2008, the year Terminal de Cargas Uruguay S.A. started operating.
FREE CIRCULATION OF GOODS
No authorizations or formal procedures are required. Transfers within the airport are documented through an electronic Simplified Message to the National Customs Directorate.
FREE DESTINATION OF GOODS
No previous permits or claims are required to transfer goods or modify their destination freely.
All the merchandise and goods entered from overseas are exempted from any customs duties, fees or taxes applicable to imports or upon imports.
When foreign goods are introduced into the national customs territory, they are considered imports; only in those cases are they subject to appropriate imports duties, fees and taxes.
VAT – Circulation of goods and delivery of services within the premises are exempted from the payment of any Value Added Tax.
NET WORTH TAX – The goods deposited under the Free Airport regime are comprised in the taxable base Net worth Tax (N.W.T.).
INCOME TAX – Income derived from for-profit activities undertaken by foreign natural or legal persons, with goods of foreign origin moved in transit in the national customs territory, as well as the airport warehouses, and not destined to the national territory, are exempted from Corporate Income Tax (I.R.A.E.).
ACTIVITIES AT FREE AIRPORTS
Since the approval of the Uruguayan New Customs Code CAROU, the possible ways that the intra-airport deposits can adopt are as follows:
a) STORAGE WAREHOUSE: The goods may only undergo operations aimed to: ensure the recognition, preservation, lot splitting or volume fractioning, and any other operation that does not alter their value or change their nature or features.
b) COMMERCIAL WAREHOUSE: The goods may undergo operations aimed to: facilitate their trading, increase their value or alter their nature or status.
c) OVERHAUL AND MAINTENANCE WAREHOUSE: Used for goods that may be subject to repair and maintenance services, not modifying their nature.
d) TEMPORARY STORAGE WAREHOUSE FOR EXHIBITIONS AND LIKE ACTIVITIES: storage of foreign goods entered for the purpose of trade shows, demos, fairs or similar activities, following the authorization of the National Customs Directorate.
e) LOGISTICS WAREHOUSE: the goods may undergo operations that alter their status or nature, provided their origin is not altered; those activities may consist of: assemblage or mounting; mixes; insertion or replacement of parts, pieces or accessories; setup of hardware; installation of software; packing, packaging, labeling or addition of other products always used for the marketing of goods that are to exit the warehouse; and other similar operations established by the Executive Power.
The companies, and in particular the operators, shall keep appropriate, comprehensive and updated logs of the goods handled, deposited or stored, received and delivered, shipment by shipment, and separated by each storage site.