Business Environment

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

 

Accounting Rules

Tax Year
Fiscal year may not exceed 12 months, but the first year may be less than 12 months. Taxpayers engaged in commercial, industrial, or service activities may choose a fiscal year that does not coincide with the calendar year.
Accounting Standards
The Venezuelan accounting practice follows the American model quite accurately. The Venezuela Public Accountants Federation (FCCPV) advocates the adaptation of the principles of accounting generally accepted (PCGA) in countries following the International Standard Committee norm (IASC).
Accounting Regulation Bodies
FCCPV
Accounting Reports
To realize a financial analysis, companies have to make out a balance sheet and a profit and loss account which will be controlled and reported to the "Commercial Court" by an independent auditor.
Publication Requirements
All commercial companies of Venezuela have to establish annually some accounting documents:
- The account book
- The stocking account
- The account of expenditures analysis
- The stocking evolution.
Professional Accountancy Bodies
Auditing firms listed by region.
Certification and Auditing
The balance sheet and the profit and loss account made out by the company must be controlled by an auditor (comisario) appointed by the shareholders. The auditor must be a licensed accountant, economist or business administrator.
You can consult an external auditor: Deloitte, KPMG, Ernst & Young, 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
Standard rate: currently 16% (may change every year, ranging from 8% to 16.5%).
15% additional rate on certain luxury goods, including vehicles and jewellery.
Reduced Tax Rate
Exempted goods and services include: food and goods for personal consumption such as bread, rice, salt, sugar, coffee, milk, pasta and margarine; books, newspapers and magazines; education provided by institutions registered in the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports and the Ministry of Superior Education; public transportation of passengers by land or sea; tickets to national parks, museums and cultural centers; banking and insurance services; imports made by diplomatic agents, in accordance with international treaties subscribed to by Venezuela; medical assistance services; residential electricity; fertilizers.

Exports of tangible personal property and tangible movable property and exports of services are zero-rated.

The 15% additional rate applies to: membership and maintenance fees of restaurants, nightclubs and bars with restricted access; the rental of ships or aircraft for civilians, among others, for recreational activities or sports; services provided by third parties through text messaging or other technological means; cars imported or manufactured in the country with a value equal to or higher than USD40,000; motorcycles imported or manufactured in the country with a value equal to or higher than USD20,000; airplanes used for exhibitions, advertisement, recreation or sports purposes; ships and vessels for recreation and sports purposes, or for the particular use of its owner; gaming machines that use coins or cards caviar; lease of ships for recreation and sports purposes or airplanes used for exhibitions, advertisement, recreation or sports purposes; services rendered on behalf of third parties, through text messages or other technological means.

Other Consumption Taxes
The import and national production of cigarettes and tobacco (proportional tax levied at a rate of 70% on the retail price of cigarettes, tobacco, and its derivates) and the commercialisation and import of alcohol and alcoholic beverages into Venezuela are subject to excise taxes.

Learn more about Service Providers in Venezuela on Globaltrade.net, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

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Corporate Taxes

Company Tax
Progressive rate up to 34%. The system of levy is expressed in tax units (unidad tributaria) that specify tax rates. The value of a tax unit is 1.500 sovereign bolivars in 2020.
Tax Rate For Foreign Companies
Resident corporations are taxed on their worldwide income, while non-resident corporations are subject to taxation for their Venezuela-source income and foreign income derived by their permanent establishment in the country.
Companies incorporated in Venezuela and registered with the Mercantile Registry as established by commercial law and foreign companies registered to be domiciled in Venezuela as branches duly registered with the Mercantile Registry are considered resident for tax purposes. The positive difference between a branch's annual book and taxable income is deemed to be remitted to the branch's head office and is subject to a 34% flat dividend tax unless the branch can provide proof of reinvestment of its profits for a five-year period.
Capital Gains Taxation
Capital gains are taxed as ordinary income at the corporate tax rate, while capital losses are deductible from ordinary income. Gains arising from the sale of shares registered on the Venezuelan stock exchange are subject to a 1% tax on the gross proceeds.
Gains upon liquidation or reduction of capital are taxable to the liquidating entity.
Main Allowable Deductions and Tax Credits
Depreciation of tangible and intangible assets (used to generate income) is tax-deductible. Goodwill can be generally amortised for tax purposes whereas depreciation of real estate used as rental property is not tax-deductible (same as for fines and penalties).
The current tax code does not include any provisions for the deduction of start-up costs.
Interest charges and bad debts (for loans that are part of the main business activity and were initially included in its gross income) are tax-deductible.
Donations to charitable organisations are deductible up to 10% of taxable income. This rate is reduced to 8% for companies with taxable income over UT 10,000 (tax unit, "unidad tributaria" in Spanish). The deduction is limited to 1% of the amount of tax due for oil extraction companies.
Payments imposed on the employer by the Labour Code - such as profit distribution or severance pay - are generally deductible.

Tax losses can be carried forward for up to three years. For each of these years, the amount of tax losses to be carried forward cannot exceed 25% of the tax due in a given year. The carryback of losses is not permitted. Furthermore, foreign tax losses can only be offset against profits earned abroad.
Other Corporate Taxes
Social security contributions payable by the employer could amount to 10%, 11% or 12% of salary, with rates varying according to the risk associated with the employee's work (capped at five minimum salaries). Employers also pay an amount equal to 2% of the salary for the unemployment insurance system (up to ten minimum salaries), and 2% of the salary for each of the housing assistance scheme and the training of the employee. Furthermore, employers contribute under the Organic Law on Prevention, Working Conditions and Working Environment (LOPCYMAT) at rates varying between 0.75% and 10% depending on the type of work.

Municipal authorities levy a tax on professional activities of the firm at rates varying between 0.1% and 10% depending on the location and the type of activity. A municipal tax is levied on real estate at variable rates.

Companies with a certain level of income or employees are liable for additional taxes: companies with an annual gross income exceeding 10,000 UT pay a fee under the Science, Technology and Innovation Act (LOCTI) at rates varying between 0.5%, 1% and 2% of gross income depending on the type of activity. They also contribute 1% of gross income under the Sports and Physical Activity Act if their annual gross income exceeds 20,000 UT. Finally, companies with 50 employees or more pay a contribution of 1% of gross revenue (2% for companies involved in the production or import of alcoholic beverages and tobacco as a contribution to anti-drug operations) to the National Antidrug Fund.

There are several stamp duties on the issuance of official documents ranging from 0.01 UT to 10,000 UT. Companies designated as "special taxpayers" are also liable for a 2% tax on the total bank debit or taxable transaction.

Capital duty amounts to 1% of capital (2% in the Capital District), while the sale of an active business is subject to a tax of 2% of its value. An inheritance/gift tax is applicable at rates up to 55%.

Under the Hydrocarbons Organic Law, the state is entitled to 30% of the volume of hydrocarbons extracted from any deposit, by way of royalties, while for the Gaseous Hydrocarbons Organic Law the royalty is equal to 20%. Furthermore, 10% of the value of each cubic metre of hydrocarbon by-products produced and consumed as fuel in wholly-owned operations, based on the price of the end consumer, is due as a tax
Sound and television broadcasting are subject to a 1% levy, whereas other telecommunication services are subject to a 2.3% rate (plus several other contributions).

Taxpayers whose net equity (for companies) exceeds 150 million TUs are subject to a wealth tax at 0.25% of total equity.

Other Domestic Resources
SENIAT
Consult Doing Business Website, to obtain a summary of the taxes and mandatory contributions.
 

Country Comparison For Corporate Taxation

  Venezuela Latin America & Caribbean United States Germany
Number of Payments of Taxes per Year 99.0 28.2 10.6 9.0
Time Taken For Administrative Formalities (Hours) 920.0 327.5 175.0 218.0
Total Share of Taxes (% of Profit) 73.3 46.8 36.6 48.8

Source: Doing Business - Latest available data.

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Individual Taxes

Tax Rate

Income tax Income of resident individuals expressed in tributary units is subjected to tax at progressive rates.
As of June 2021, each TU is valued at VES 20,000
Up to 1,000 units 6%
1,001 to 1,500 units 9%
1,501 to 2,000 units 12%
2,001 to 2,500 units 16%
2,501 to 3,000 units 20%
3,001 to 4,000 units 24%
4,001 to 6,000 units 29%
Beyond 6,000 units 34%
Allowable Deductions and Tax Credits
Legal deductions include the following:
- a standard deduction of TU 774 plus TU 10 for the taxpayer, spouse, and any dependant (in this case the taxpayer cannot use the itemised personal deductions listed below)
- education expenses for the taxpayer and for dependent children under 26 years of age
- life, surgery, hospitalisation, and maternity insurance premium
- medical, dental and hospitalisation payments
- rent or interest payments on loans granted for the acquisition or enlargement of the taxpayer's home (capped at TU 1,000 for interest on loans or TU 800 for the leasing of main or permanent housing.

Resident individuals who are not employees can deduct expenses following the rules that apply to corporations.

Special Expatriate Tax Regime
Resident individuals are subject to tax on their worldwide income. Foreign resident individuals with a fixed base in Venezuela must pay taxes on their income derived from the said base, whether it is sourced in Venezuela or abroad. Non-resident individuals are liable for their Venezuela-sourced income.
Income for non-resident individuals arising from non-business professional activities is subject to tax at 34% on 90% of the gross payments. Salary and other income received by non-residents for services performed in Venezuela are subject to a flat 34% tax, withheld at source.

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Double Taxation Treaties

Countries With Whom a Double Taxation Treaty Have Been Signed
See the list of conventions signed by Venezuela.
Withholding Taxes
Dividends: 0 (standard rate)/34% (if dividend distributions exceed the payer company’s net taxed income)
Interest: 0 (resident individual)/4.95% (paid to non-resident banks or financial institutions)/standard progressive CIT rates of 15%, 22%, and 34% (applies to 95% of interests, the remaining amount is exempt - thus the effective rates are 14.25%, 20.9%, and 32.3%)/ 34% (resident companies and non-resident individuals)
Royalties: 0 (residents)/34% (applies to 90% of royalties paid, thus the effective rate is 30.6%).

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Sources of Fiscal Information

Tax Authorities
Overview of Venezuela's tax measures in response to Covid-19
SENIAT
Other Domestic Resources
Finance Ministry
Venezuela: tax overview

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Learn more about Taxes and Accounting in Venezuela on Globaltrade.net, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

Intellectual Property

National Organisations
Venezuela is a member of the Paris Convention (industrial property) and of the Berne Convention (authors copyrights). It is however very difficult to implement control in this country, to protect patents, trademarks, designs etc... It is therefore preferable to register these goods and services within the country. It should also be noted that the country is not a signatory to the Rome Convention (which deals with the protection of artists and interpreters). For more information, please consult the SAPI: Service Autonome de la Propriété Intellectuelle.
Regional Organisations
Venezuela is a member of WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) and a member of the WTO. For more information contact the Ministry of Justice.
 

National Regulation and International Agreements

 
Type of property and law Validity International Agreements Signed
Patent
 
Decision No. 486 of September 14, 2000 of the Commission of the Cartagena Agreement on the Common Provisions on Industrial Property
20 years
Trademark
 
Decision No. 486 of September 14, 2000 of the Commission of the Cartagena Agreement on the Common Provisions on Industrial Property
 
10 years, renewable for consecutive periods of 10 years
Design
 
Industrial Designs .
10 years  
Copyright
 
Decision n° 351 of September 17, 1993 of the Commission of the Cartagena Agreement on the Common Provisions on Industrial Property
 
Protection extends to 50 years following the author's death WIPO Copyright Treaty
Industrial Models
 
Industrial Designs .
5 to 10 years  

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Legal Framework

Independence of Justice
Judiciary power is not independent in Venezuela. It is highly politicized and undermined by the chronic corruption.
Equal Treatment of Nationals and Foreigners
A foreigner cannot hope for an equal and fair trial. The same is true for certain socio-cultural cathegories. Together, the fact of being white, rich and having an attorney who knows the wheels of the system well, is still the best defense.
The Language of Justice
The judicial language used in the country is Spanish. 
Recourse to an Interpreter
No.
Sources of the Law and Legal Similarities
The main source of the law is the constitution of 1999. Federal law is applicable uniformly across the country. However, municipalities are the fundamental units of local government in Venezuela and can have some local powers, such as raising taxes, etc.

The country does not adhere to the ICJ (International Court of Justice) jurisdiction.

The country is a member of the OAS : Organization of American States. It is also an associated member of MERCOSUR and of Comuninad Andina: Community of South American Nations.

Checking National Laws Online
Venezuela Legislation
Venezuela Legislation

Learn more about Lawyers and Legal in Venezuela on Globaltrade.net, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

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Standards

National Standards Organisations
FONDONORMA, Funds for Normalization and Quality Certification
SENCAMER, National Autonomous Service for Standardization, Quality, Metrology and Technical Regulations
Integration in the International Standards Network
The structure managing Venezuelan standardization and norms is composed of two entities: the FONDONORMA (Funds for Normalization and Quality Certification), a private non-profit association, and another body of the Ministry of Commerce, the SENCAMER. This new organism is a member of the ISO (International Organization of Standardization), of COPANT (Pan-American Standards Commission) and of the IQ Net (International Certification Network).

Some importers have met some difficulties: no foreign standard has been recognized and hence Venezuela makes it compulsory to obtain a certificate.

Classification of Standards
The COVENIN has prepared more than 300 compulsory standards as much for the domestic market as for the import market. The institution itself does not exist anymore (replaced by FONDONORMA), but the norms are still referred to as the "Norms COVENIN". FONDONORMA issues a NORVEN seal of quality to local manufacturers for specific products and services.
Online Consultation of Standards
Consult the standards on COVENIN, FONDONORMA.
Certification Organisations
FONDONORMA

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Business Practices

General Information
Kwintessential, Cross-cultural solutions website
Guide Doing Business in Venezuela (UKTI), Doing business in Venezuela
Opening Hours and Days
Offices open from 8 AM to 12.30 AM and from 2 PM to 5.15 PM. Weekly days off: Saturday and Sunday.

Banking hours: 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM

Shop opening hours: in general from 9:30 AM to 7 PM or from 11 AM to 10 PM (Monday to Saturday).

 

Public Holidays

New Year's Day January 1
Carnaval February 4 or 5 : date changes according to the year
Holy Thursday and Friday March 20 and 21
Declaration of Independence April 19
May Day May 1
The Battle of Carabobo Anniversary June 24
Independence Day July 5
Simon Bolivar's Birthday July 24
Discovery of the Americas Day October 12
Christmas December 25
 
 

Periods When Companies Usually Close

School holidays Month of August
Christmas holidays From December 24 to January 4
Holy Week End of March
 

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Latest Update: April 2022