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Uruguay: Financial Inclusion Law

On 29 April 2014, Law No. 19,210 (or Financial Inclusion Law) was approved. The Law aims to promote access to banking services and the use of electronic means of payment, such as debit card, credit card and electronic transfers, by all the population.

That law makes it mandatory to gradually implement the payments of salaries, wages, fees, pension payments, social benefits and other benefits by crediting an account held in a financial institution or an electronic money instrument. Electronic payments such as debit, credit cards and electronic transfers are also enabled for fees of professional and personal service providers outside the dependency relation. It also establishes how payments must be implemented for sale of goods or services, leases, subleases and use of real property loans, transfers of rights on real estate, purchases of motorised vehicles, payments made by the State to suppliers of goods and services, and payments of national taxes.

In this Law, new tax regulations on Value Added Tax (VAT), Income Tax of Companies (IRAE), and Income Tax of Individuals (income tax) are set.

The most important benefit can be found in the VAT, which is reduced by 4% for the sale of goods and services supplied to final consumers whenever the payment is made by debit cards or electronic money instruments, and if the amount of the transaction is less than US$ 500. In case the amount exceeds US$ 500 the reduction is 2%.

For credit cards, the benefit applies only to operations under US$ 500 and the reduction is 2%. The same benefit applies to payments made by automatic debit account, prepaid cards and electronic payments through ATMs, cell phones or internet, for an unlimited amount.

These benefits came into force on 1 August 2014 and are valid until 31 July 2015.

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