Business Environment

flag Uruguay Uruguay: Business Environment

In this page: Accounting Rules | Tax Rates | Intellectual Property | Legal Framework | Standards | Business Practices


Accounting Rules

Tax Year
The fiscal year begins on January 1st and ends on December 31 of the same year.
Accounting Standards
Adoption of IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards) in 2004.
Accounting Regulation Bodies
Accounting Reports
A balance sheet, a profit and loss account.
Publication Requirements
Companies must inform the government of their economic and financial situation by publishing annually its financial statements controlled by chartered accountants.
Professional Accountancy Bodies
CCEA , Board of Uruguayan Accountants, Economists and Administrators.
Certification and Auditing
Companies have to apply the International Accounting Standard which is enforced by law. To control accounting and the accounting documents published by the companies, an external auditor is required.
You can contact an external auditor: Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Accounting News

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Tax Rates

Consumption Taxes

Nature of the Tax
Value Added Tax (VAT) - Impuesto al valor agregado (IVA)
Tax Rate
Reduced Tax Rate
Certain essential foodstuff, medicines, soap, tourist services, health services, and services supplied by hotels in “high season” to resident individuals are subject to a reduced rate of 10%.
Certain goods and services are exempt: foreign currencies, securities, bonds, stocks and other financial transactions, milk, books, newspapers, magazines, educational material, services supplied by hotels in “low season” to resident individuals, milk, and water.
Exports of goods are zero-rated.
Final consumers can enjoy a reduced rate of 18% for transactions up to UYU 16,000, and a 20% rate for operations above this value, when the payment is made through debit cards or electronic money instruments.
Other Consumption Taxes
Uruguay implements a commercialisation tax: IMESI (in Spanish) (Impuesto Especifico Interno, Specific Internal Tax), applied only to the first sale. Depending on the type of good, it is calculated based on the real sale price or on the official price set by the state. Goods subject to the highest rates are alcoholic beverages (from 20.20% to 80%, depending on the alcohol degree), tobacco (from 28% to 70%), lubricants (from 5% to 35%), and gasoline, fuel, and other petroleum products (from 5% to 133%).

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Corporate Taxes

Company Tax
Tax Rate For Foreign Companies
Uruguay applies a territorial system of taxation, hence resident and non-resident entities are subject to taxation on their income realised in Uruguay. A company is considered resident if it is established according to Uruguayan law.
A 12% withholding tax is imposed on Uruguayan-sourced income obtained by non-residents, except in cases where the income is obtained through the operations of a permanent establishment in the country.
Capital Gains Taxation
Capital gains are taxed as ordinary income at the corporate tax rate of 25%.
Bearer title transfer and nominative titles capital gains are subject to a 12% tax rate, applicable to a notional 20% of the transfer price (20% of the market value of the titles transferred if there is no price).
Main Allowable Deductions and Tax Credits
Documented expenses necessary to obtain and preserve gross taxable income are generally tax-deductible.
Depreciation (using the straight-line method) is deductible at variable rates depending on the nature of the asset. On the other hand, goodwill cannot be deducted for tax purposes. Start-up costs can be amortised over a period of three to five years (to be determined by the company). Interest charges and bad debts (for debts not recovered within 18 months or longer) are generally deductible.

Donations to charities give rise to deductions at variable rates depending on the recipient organisation. Donations to certain types of organisation (educational services, health, youth support) are deductible up to 25% of the amount, the rest is converted into a tax credit.

Fines and penalties paid are not tax-deductible. Taxes are generally deductible, except for corporate income tax and net wealth tax.

Tax losses can be carried forward up to five years (up to 50% of net taxable income for tax years beginning on or after 1 January 2017), once adjusted for inflation. However, as of 2021 the aforementioned cap has been eliminated. The carryback of losses is not permitted.
Other Corporate Taxes
Employers are required to withhold payroll taxes on behalf of their employees at rates ranging from 18.1% to 23.1% (depending on the employee's family status). Employers contribute 12.625% of the salary.

A property tax is levied by municipalities on real estate at variable rates. Property transfer taxes are payable by both the seller (2%) and the buyer (2%).

All enterprises are required to pay a wealth tax of 1.5% (which applies only to property and securities domiciled in Uruguay). At the moment of incorporation, companies are required to pay a flat tax at a rate of 1.5% on the basis of a notional amount updated every year (ICOSA tax - UYU 44,777 in 2022). Furthermore, the tax is also due annually for corporations at the end of each fiscal year at a rate of 0.75% on the basis of the same notional amount.

If a company does not distribute net taxable income after three fiscal years, such amounts are treated as a deemed distribution and are subject to a 7% deemed dividend tax.

Other Domestic Resources
General Tax Administration (DGI)
Consult Doing Business Website, to obtain a summary of the taxes and mandatory contributions.

Country Comparison For Corporate Taxation

  Uruguay Latin America & Caribbean United States Germany
Number of Payments of Taxes per Year 20.0 28.2 10.6 9.0
Time Taken For Administrative Formalities (Hours) 163.0 327.5 175.0 218.0
Total Share of Taxes (% of Profit) 41.8 46.8 36.6 48.8

Source: Doing Business - Latest available data.

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Individual Taxes

Tax Rate

Personal income tax brackets 2022 (employment income) Progressive rate from 0% to 36%
Monthly BPC ("Base de Prestaciones y Contribuciones") UYU 5,164 in 2022
Up to 7 BPC 0%
Between 7 and 10 BPC 10%
Between 10 and 15 BPC 15%
Between 15 and 30 BPC 24%
Between 30 and 50 BPC 25%
Between 50 and 75 BPC 27%
Between 75 and 115 BPC 31%
Above 115 BPC 36%
Capital investment (interest, rents, royalties, capital gains) 12%
Allowable Deductions and Tax Credits
Deductions are allowed for contributions to social security, a small fixed amount per minor child and his/her education, feeding, health, and housing, certain payments on mortgage loans. Taxpayers with a monthly income lower than 15 BPC ("Base de Prestaciones y Contribuciones" - UYU 77.460 in 2022) will be able to deduct 10% of the deductions, while the individuals whose income is greater than 15 BPC will only be able to deduct an 8% rate of the total deductions.
Certain bad debts, intermediary commissions, renewal and subscription fees, real estate tax, and contributions are deductible from real estate income originated in real estate leases.

Self-employed individuals can enjoy an income reduction of 30% for expenses calculated on a notional basis.

Special Expatriate Tax Regime
Both resident and non-resident individuals are taxed on income derived from activities developed in, property located in, or rights economically used within the Uruguayan territory.
An individual is considered resident if he/she is in Uruguay for more than 183 days in the calendar year or if his/her economic or centre of vital interests is in Uruguay.

The income tax on non-residents individuals (IRNR) is generally at 12% (25% for income obtained by entities resident, domiciled, or located in a low-tax jurisdiction).

Individuals who became tax residents before 2020 could opt for a six-year tax holiday on foreign-source income. Individuals who become tax residents from 2020 may opt for an 11-year tax holiday on foreign-source income or a permanently reduced tax rate of 7% on that income.

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Double Taxation Treaties

Countries With Whom a Double Taxation Treaty Have Been Signed
List of double taxation agreements
Withholding Taxes
Dividends: 0 (resident company)/7%, Interest: 0 (resident company)/7% or 12% (depending on the term and currency of the loan)/25% (interest paid to a resident of a tax haven), Royalties: 0 (resident company)/12%/25% (royalties paid to a resident of a tax haven)

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Sources of Fiscal Information

Tax Authorities
Overview of Uruguay's tax measures in response to Covid-19
General Tax Administration (DGI)
Other Domestic Resources
Customs Office

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Intellectual Property

National Organisations
The National Directorate of Industrial Property . Uruguay signed the Paris Convention for the protection of industrial property along with the agreement establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
Regional Organisations
Regional property right regulation in the Mercosur agreements framework.
International Membership
Membership to the TRIPS agreement - Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS)

National Regulation and International Agreements

Type of property and law Validity International Agreements Signed
Patent Law
Period of validity of 15 years
Trademark law
Period of validity of 10 years
Industrial Design Law
Period of validity of 5 years. Period renewable every 5 years.  
Law Nº 9.739 of December 17th 1937, updated in 2003
Author: All his life

40 years after the author's death for his inheritors

WIPO Copyright Treaty
Industrial Models
Law number 17.164, directing rights and obligations relating to invention patents, utility models, designs and industrial models.
20 years  

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Legal Framework

Independence of Justice
The judiciary is largely independent, but has become increasingly inefficient in the face of escalating crime and a backlog of cases.
Equal Treatment of Nationals and Foreigners
Uruguay is largely ruled by law; however discrimination against the country’s black minority and violence against women is a problem. Foreign nationals cannot be always guaranteed an impartial trail from the country’s judicial system. Though a certain degree of corruption exists in the corporate sector and the government departments, government is taking necessary measures to curb it. It is one of the least corrupt nations in Latin America.
The Language of Justice
Spanish is the judicial language used in the country.
Recourse to an Interpreter
Having an interpreter is possible.
Sources of the Law and Legal Similarities
The main source of the law is the constitution of 1967 (modified in 1989 and 1997). The legal system is based on Spanish civil law system. Uruguay accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction.
Checking National Laws Online
Legal information website

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National Standards Organisations
Uruguayan Technical Standards Institute.
Integration in the International Standards Network
The Uruguayan Technical Institute of Standards (UNIT) is a member of the International Organization of Legal Metrology (OIML), of the International Organization of Standardization (ISO), of the International Eletrotechnical Commission (IEC), of the Pan American Standards Commission (COPANT), and of the MERCOSUR.
Classification of Standards
Certification UNIT- ISO
Online Consultation of Standards
See the UNIT catalogue.
Certification Organisations
Uruguayan Technical Standards Institute.

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Business Practices

General Information
eDiplomat, Cultural Etiquette - Uruguay
Career Addict, How to Master Business Etiquette in Uruguay
Opening Hours and Days
Banks are open from Monday to Friday from 12 am to 5 pm.
Businesses open from Monday to Friday from 9 am to 7 pm and Saturday from 9 am to 2:30 pm.
Offices open from 12:30 pm to 7 pm during winter and from 7 am to 2:30 pm during summer.

Public Holidays

New year's day January 1st
Twelfth night January 6th
Carnival February - March
Holy week March
The landing of the 33 Orientals April
Working day Mai 1st
Las Piedras battle Mai
Constitution day July 18th
Independence day August 25th
All Saints' day November 2nd
Christmas December 25th

Periods When Companies Usually Close

Holy week March

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Latest Update: May 2024