Countries with low tax in South America

This article will speak about countries in South America with low taxes.

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Introduction:

First of all, let us have a brief look at some of the general information about tax and South America before we take a dive into our topic for today.

Tax – Tax is a mandatory charge levied on the people living in a country by that country’s respective government. 

In return for these charges, the country’s government offers certain privileges to individuals such as rights, protection, freedom, etc.

The revenue that has been collected by the government in the form of taxes is used for the expenses and developmental activities of a country. 

There are various types of taxes such as income tax, corporate tax, wealth tax, inheritance tax, VAT, real estate tax, property tax, and others.

Depending on the country, a specific tax might or might not be imposed on the individuals. For example, a country might impose an income tax, while some other countries might not.

South America – South America is a continent located jointly in the western and southern hemispheres, with a small part lying in the northern hemisphere.

This continent is known to consist of 12 countries/sovereign states, which are given below. We are also providing the population count for each country as of 2020 (approximate values).

  • Argentina (45.3 million)
  • Bolivia (11.7 million)
  • Brazil (213.2 million)
  • Chile (19.2 million)
  • Colombia (51.3 million)
  • Peru (33.2 million)
  • Venezuela (28 million)
  • Paraguay (7.1 million)
  • Uruguay (3.4 million)
  • Ecuador (17. 7 million)
  • Guyana (788,000)
  • Suriname (589,000)

Along with the above-mentioned countries, it also consists of the following:

  • French Guiana (292,800), which is an Overseas Department Region of France
  • Falkland Islands (3,500), which is a British Overseas Territory

Additionally, there are ABC Islands of the Kingdom of Netherlands, Bouvet Island, Panama, and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. However, there are considered as a dependency or overseas territories of some other countries.

There is Trinidad and Tobago, which is usually not considered a part of South America, but it is located on the continental shelf of South America. Therefore, we won’t be discussing Trinidad and Tobago as well as other overseas territories in this list.

Hence, in order to find out the countries with the lowest tax in South America, we will be having a general overview of all the above-mentioned dependent countries and finalize the countries that are having lower taxes.

So, without further ado let’s just get to the taxation details of the countries located in South America. It should be taken into consideration that we haven’t provided details regarding corporate taxation.

  1. Argentina:

The currency used in Argentina is known as the Argentinian Peso, which is represented as ‘ARS’. By the time of writing this article, 1 ARS is equal to somewhere around 0.012 USD.

The tax authorities in Argentina are AFIP (Administración Federal de Ingresos Públicos), General Customs Bureau, and Provincial/Municipal tax authorities.

The tax year is a calendar year, and filing a return is mandatory while joint returns are not permitted.

Late-filing penalties are around 4% per month and omittance of taxes can result in a fine ranging between 100% of 200% of the value of the tax.

Individuals residing in Argentina are taxed on their worldwide income and are able to obtain tax credit on the taxes that have been paid by them on the income derived from foreign sources.

People who are non-residents and foreign beneficiaries are taxed only on the income obtained from Argentina.

Individual taxation:

Given below are the taxation details for the individuals in Argentina.

Income tax – The income tax in Argentina varies from 5% to 35%, depending on the taxable income earned by an individual.

This taxable income includes employment income, business income, capital gains, dividends, rental income, and interest income. 

Capital gains – Capital gains are taxed at a rate of 15% on the sales of shares, bonds, and securities that haven’t been listed on a stock exchange. 

However, the sales of such financial instruments listed on a stock exchange are exempt (based on certain conditions and requirements).

Sales of real estate property are subject to tax with a rate of 15%, excluding the residential property that is considered as the primary residence of a taxpayer.

Deductions and allowances – deductions are allowed to a resident individual on certain payments such as medical expenses, donations, mortgage payments, etc.

WHT (Withholding tax): Let us have a look at the information regarding withholding tax in Argentina.

Dividends – A withholding tax of 7% is imposed on dividends paid out by an Argentine company to the residents as well as non-residents. Dividends paid out to other Argentine companies are exempt from taxation.

Interest – Withholding tax is only applicable to the interest payments made to non-residents at a tax rate of 35%, which can be reduced to 15.05% under some special conditions.

Royalties – Royalties are subject to a withholding tax when they are paid out to a non-resident having a tax rate that varies between 12.25%/17.5%/28%/31.5% for non-resident individuals and 17.5%/28%/31.5% for non-resident companies.

Fees for technical services – Similar to Interest payments and Royalty payments, Fees for technical services are also imposed on non-residents only while having a tax rate ranging between 21%/28%/31% for non-resident companies and 21%/28%/31.5% for non-resident individuals.

VAT (Value-Added Tax) – VAT is applicable to all types of goods and services that are provided in Argentina unless they are exempt under some conditions.

The normal VAT rate is 21%, the increased tax rate is 27%, and the reduced tax rate is 0%/10.5%.

Social Security Contributions – In Argentina, both the employer and employee are subject to pay the Social Security Contribution, where the employer must make a payment equivalent to 24% or 26.4% and the employee must pay 17%.

Payroll tax – No.

Capital Duty – No.

Real Property tax – Yes, the rate is determined by the tax authorities and the residential land of an individual is exempt from this. 

Transfer tax – No.

Stamp duty – The general rate for this is 1%, however, this can range up to 2.5% to 4% for real estate sales under certain exemptions.

Net wealth/worth tax – Assets in Argentina that have a value of more than ARS 2 million have a net wealth/worth tax or personal assets tax, which is around 0.5% to 1.25%.

For the assets outside of Argentina, higher rates are applicable ranging from 0.7% to 2.25%.

Inheritance tax – No, except for Buenos Aires.

Tax treaties – Many countries have tax treaties with Argentina, out of which, some noticeable countries are ‘Australia’, ‘France’, ‘Russia’, ‘Germany’, ‘UAE’, ‘UK’, ‘Canada’, ‘China’, ‘Japan’, ‘Mexico’, ‘Sweden’, and many more.

There are 25 countries in total that have a tax treaty with Argentina to avoid double taxation.

  1. Bolivia

The currency used in Bolivia is known as the Bolivian Boliviano, which is represented as ‘BOB’. By the time of writing this article, 1 BOB is equal to somewhere around 0.15 USD.

Penalties in Bolivia are 4% per year for the first 4 years of liabilities, 6% for the 5th to 7th year, and 10% from the 8th year.

The tax authority in Bolivia is National Tax Service, which is locally known as Servicio de Impuestos Nacionales.

Individuals residing in Bolivia are taxed on their Bolivian income unless the sources are specifically exempt from taxes.

Individual taxation:

Given below are the taxation details for the individuals in Bolivia.

Income tax – People in Bolivia are imposed with an income tax at a rate of 13%.

This taxable income includes employment income, business income, and investment income.

Capital gains – Capital gains are taxed as per the corporate income tax rates.

VAT (Value-Added Tax) – VAT is applicable to all types of goods and services that are provided in Bolivia, having a tax rate of 13%.

Social Security Contributions – Contributions that are to be made towards retirement pension have a rate of 12.71%. Along with that, people who earn more than 13,000 BOB are subject to Supportive Social Contribution having a rate ranging from 1% to 10%.

Payroll tax – No.

Capital Duty – No.

Real Property tax – A municipal tax is levied annually as per the progressive rates of a local government. Immovable property owners are required to pay 3% on the property sold.

Stamp duty – No.

Net wealth/worth tax – No.

Inheritance tax – transfer of real assets, shares, and recordable rights are imposed with a tax rate of 1% to 20% depending on the lineage.

Tax treaties – There are 9 countries in total that have a tax treaty with Bolivia are Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Argentina, France, Spain, Germany, Sweden, and the UK.

  1. Brazil:

The currency used in Brazil is known as the Brazilian Real, which is represented as ‘BRL’. By the time of writing this article, 1 BRL is equal to somewhere around 0.19 USD.

The tax authority in Brazil is known as BRS (Brazilian Revenue Service), which takes the necessary action for late payment of taxes in Brazil in the form of penalties and interest.

Residents are taxed on the worldwide income, whereas, the non-residents living in Brazil are only subject to taxes on their Brazilian income.

Individual taxation:

Given below are the taxation details for the individuals in Brazil.

Income tax – People in Brazil are imposed with an income tax at a rate ranging between 0% to 27.5%.

This taxable income includes salary, bonuses, fees, commissions, premiums, dividends, interests, etc.

Capital gains – Capital gains are taxed at progressive rates that vary from 15% to 22.5%.

VAT (Value-Added Tax) – ICMS, which is a state VAT is levied at rates between 4% to 25%. 

Federal excise tax, which is called IPI, is imposed at an average rate of 20%. 

Municipal tax, which is called ISS, is levied at a rate ranging between 2% to 5%.

Social Security Contributions – Employers must make a payment of around 8% of an employee’s salary as a severance fund and 20% of the salary to the public pension system.

Employees should contribute an amount of around 8% to 11% as a social security contribution, based on the category of their salary.

Payroll tax – No.

Capital Duty – No.

Real Property tax (IPTU) – A municipal will levy IPTU annually calculated on the basis of the deemed ‘sales price’ of a respective property. Depending on the municipality, it varies between 0.3% to 1.5%.

Rural property tax is also applicable to the ownership of rural property, which is around 0.03% to 20%, which depends on the region and usage of the property.

Stamp duty – No.

Net wealth/worth tax – No.

Inheritance tax – 8%.

Tax treaties – There are 30 countries in total, which have a tax treaty with Brazil.

  1. Chile:

The currency used in Chile is known as the Chilean Peso, which is represented as ‘CLP’. By the time of writing this article, 1 CLP is equal to somewhere around 0.0013 USD.

Residents are taxed on the worldwide income, whereas, the non-residents living in Chile are only subject to taxes on their Chilean income for a period of three years. After three years, non-residents are also taxed on their worldwide income.

Individual taxation:

Given below are the taxation details for the individuals in Chile.

Income tax – People in Chile are imposed with an income tax at a rate ranging between 0% to 35.5%. 

Non-residents are subject to a flat rate of 15%.

Capital gains – No. Capital gains are taxed as per the normal income tax rates unless they are determined as non-taxable income.

VAT (Value-Added Tax) – VAT in Chile is applicable to the transfers and services at a rate of 19%.

Social Security Contributions – 20% should be paid out as a social security contribution by an individual unless he/she is a non-resident.

An additional 3% should be paid as unemployment insurance, where the employer pays 2.4% and the employee pays 0.6% (residents).

Net wealth/worth tax – No.

Tax treaties – There are 32 countries in total, which have a tax treaty with Chile.

  1. Colombia

The currency used in Colombia is known as the Colombian Peso, which is represented as ‘COP’. By the time of writing this article, 1 COP is equal to somewhere around 0.00028 USD.

The tax authority in Colombia is known as DIAN (National Tax and Customs Office).

Residents are taxed on the worldwide income, whereas, the non-residents living in Colombia are only subject to taxes on their Colombian sourced income and equity owned in Colombia.

Individual taxation:

Given below are the taxation details for the individuals in Colombia.

Income tax – People in Colombia are imposed with an income tax at a rate ranging between 0% to 39%.

The dividends earned by residents in Colombia are also taxed at a rate of 10%.

Capital gains – Capital gains are taxed at a rate of 10% on the inheritances, gifts, and income from sales of real estate, etc.

VAT (Value-Added Tax) – The standard rate in Colombia for VAT is 19%, and the reduced rate varies between 0%/5%.

Social Security Contributions – Employers must contribute 8% for health insurance, 12% for the general pension scheme, and 0.522% to 8.7% for the labor risk system.

Employees must make a contribution of 4% of their monthly salary as health insurance and 4% for the general pension scheme.

Payroll tax – 9% of the monthly payroll should be contributed by an employer.

Capital Duty – No.

Real Property tax – depending on the value of the property, real estate properties are subject to taxation as per the rates set out by the municipality.

Stamp duty – No, unless for a few special cases.

Net wealth/worth tax – No. However, an equity tax has been set up by the Colombian government to replace this, where the tax rate is 0%.

Inheritance tax – 10%.

Tax treaties – There are 10 countries in total, which have a tax treaty with Colombia.

  1. Peru:

The currency used in Peru is known as the Peruvian Sol, which is represented as ‘PEN’. By the time of writing this article, 1 PEN is equal to somewhere around 0.28 USD.

Moreover, Peru makes use of a tax unit known as UIT (Unidad Impositiva Tributaria) for the determination of taxes. The current value of a UIT as of the time of writing this article is PEN 4,300.

The tax authorities in Peru are known as SUNAT (Tax Administration) and Tax Court (Tribunal Fiscal).

Residents are taxed on the worldwide income, while the non-residents living in Peru are only subject to taxes on their Peruvian sourced income.

Individual taxation:

Given below are the taxation details for the individuals in Peru.

Income tax – People in Peru are imposed with an income tax at a rate ranging between 8% – 30%.

This taxable income includes employment income, capital income, income from independent/personal services, etc.

Capital gains – Capital gains are taxed at a rate of 5%, where the gains derived from the transfer of securities of a Peruvian entity that is located outside Peru are taxed at a rate of 30% (WHT).

VAT (Value-Added Tax) – The standard rate of VAT in Peru is 18% and the reduced rate is 0%.

Social Security Contributions – Only the employer is required to pay the social security contributions, which is 9% of the gross salary of the employee.

Payroll tax – No.

Capital Duty – No.

Real Property tax – The municipal authorities will impose real property tax at progressive rates of 0.2%/0.6%/1% on the basis of the value of the property.

Stamp duty – No.

Net wealth/worth tax – No.

Inheritance tax – No.

Tax treaties – There are 7 countries in total, which have a bilateral tax treaty with Peru.

  1. Venezuela:

The currency used in Venezuela is known as the Venezuelan Sovereign Bolivar, which is represented as ‘VES’. By the time of writing this article, 1 VES is equal to somewhere around 0.0000016 USD.

The tax authority in Venezuela is Servicio Nacional Integrado de Administracuón Aduanera y Tributaria (SENIAT). 

Residents and resident expats are taxed on the worldwide income, whereas, the non-residents living in Venezuela are only subject to taxes on their Venezuelan sourced income.

Individual taxation:

Given below are the taxation details for the individuals in Venezuela.

Income tax – People in Venezuela are imposed with an income tax at a rate ranging between 6% to 34% on all types of income.

Capital gains – Capital gains are taxed as per the rates of the normal income tax, while the sale of shares listed on a stock exchange is subject to a rate of 1%.

VAT (Value-Added Tax) – The normal rate of VAT is 16%, while the increased rate for VAT is 31%, and the reduced rate for VAT lies between 0% to 8%.

Social Security Contributions – Employers must make a contribution of 10%, 11%, or 12% of the gross salary. The employees are required to contribute an amount of 4% of the gross salary.

Payroll tax – Companies having more than 5 employees must contribute an amount of 2% of the company’s annual payroll.

Capital Duty – 1% to 5% on the incorporation of a company.

Real Property tax – Real property tax is levied on the basis of municipalities and some municipalities are exempt from the real property taxes.

Wealth tax – people having a net equity/net worth of more than 150 million TUs (Tax Units) are subject to wealth tax with a tax rate of 0.25% of the overall value of the equity/wealth owned by them.

Inheritance tax – up to 55%.

Tax treaties – There are 28 countries in total, which have a tax treaty with Venezuela.

  1. Paraguay:

The currency used in Paraguay is known as the Paraguayan Guarani, which is represented as ‘PYG’. By the time of writing this article, 1 PYG is equal to somewhere around 0.00014 USD.

The tax authority in Paraguay is known as SET (Subsecretaría de Estado de Tribitación).

Individuals are taxed on the income derived from Paraguay (services and certain investments), only when the income earned by a taxpayer exceeds PYG 80 million.

Individual taxation:

Given below are the taxation details for the individuals in Paraguay.

Income tax – People in Paraguay are imposed with an income tax at a rate varying between 8%, 9%, and 10%.

This taxable income includes income from certain services & investments, salaries, bonuses, profits, dividends, etc.

Capital gains – Capital gains are taxed at a rate of 8% and the gains should not exceed 30% of the value of the asset (50% in the case of real estate property lease).

VAT (Value-Added Tax) – The standard rate for VAT in Paraguay is 10%, while the reduced rate is between 0% and 5%.

Social Security Contributions – Employers must make a payment of around 16.5% of an employee’s employment income.

An amount of 9% is withheld by an employer for the contribution, out of which, 3% is applicable to their pension and retirement.

Payroll tax – No.

Capital Duty – No. (There are some other fees)

Real Property tax – This is levied by the local municipalities at a rate of 1% (of the overall value of the property) annually. Furthermore, there are real estate surtaxes as well.

Stamp duty – No.

Net wealth/worth tax – No.

Inheritance tax – No.

Tax treaties – Paraguay has a tax treaty with Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, China (Taiwan), Qatar, and the UAE.

9. Uruguay

The currency used in Uruguay is known as the Peso Uruguayo, which is represented as ‘UYU’. By the time of writing this article, 1 UYU is equal to somewhere around 0.023 USD.

Both residents and non-residents in Uruguay are subject to tax on their income that has been derived from the sources in Uruguay. In some cases, they might also be taxed on the income obtained from foreign sources.

Individual taxation:

Given below are the taxation details for the individuals in Uruguay.

Income tax – People in Uruguay are imposed with an income tax at a rate ranging between 0% to 36%.

Capital gains – Capital gains are taxed in Uruguay at a rate of 12%. Dividends are taxed at a rate of 7% in case it is derived from Uruguayan companies and 12% if it is from foreign entities.

VAT (Value-Added Tax) – The general rate for VAT in Uruguay is 22%, while a reduced rate of 10% is applicable to certain types of goods and services such as food items, medicines, services offered by hotels, etc.

Social Security Contributions – Employers in Uruguay must contribute an amount of up to 12.625%, where they can withhold an amount of up to 18.1% to 23.1% from their employees.

This social security contribution will cover all the aspects of health insurance, retirement pensions, sick leave pay, and unemployment insurance of an employee.

Real Property tax (IPTU) – The real property tax or real estate tax is levied on properties on the basis of the cadastral value of the property as determined by the cadastral bureau at tax rates ranging between 0.15% to 0.30%.

Net wealth/worth tax – 0.3% to 0.6% for Uruguayan residents and 0.7% to 1.5% for the non-residents.

Inheritance tax – If it is between two parties, then both parties would have to pay 2% of the fiscal value of the asset. In the case of heirs/beneficiaries, the tax rate is 3%.

Tax treaties – There are 21 countries in total, which have a tax treaty with Uruguay.

10. Ecuador

Tax treaties – There are 21 countries in total, which have a tax treaty with Uruguay.

Assuming that most people might not be familiar with this, the currency of Ecuador happens to be the United States Dollar.

Residents and non-residents are taxed on the worldwide income acquired from the sources in Ecuador. Residents are exempt from taxes on the income for which they have already paid tax in other countries (excluding low tax countries).

Individual taxation:

Given below are the taxation details for the individuals in Ecuador.

Income tax – People in Ecuador are imposed with an income tax at a rate ranging between 0% to 35%.

Capital gains – Capital gains are taxed only on the sale of a property at a tax rate of 0.5% in Ecuador.

VAT (Value-Added Tax) – VAT is imposed at a rate of 12% in general and has a reduced rate of 0% on certain goods and services.

Social Security Contributions – Private employees have to contribute an amount of 9.45% of the employment income, while employees working in some specific sectors can contribute at a rate of 20.6%.

The employers are required to make a contribution of 12.15% of the total amount paid.

Capital Duty – No.

Real Property tax – Progressive rates are set by the municipalities, where the tax rates range between 0.025% to 1%.

Stamp duty – No.

Net wealth/worth tax – No.

Inheritance tax – 35%.

Tax treaties – There are 19 countries in total as well as the Andean Community, which have a tax treaty with Ecuador.

11.Guyana:

The currency used in Guyana is known as the Guyanese Dollar, which is represented as ‘GYD’. By the time of writing this article, 1 GYD is equal to somewhere around 0.0048 USD.

Residents are taxed on the worldwide income, while the non-residents living in Guyana are only subject to taxes on their Guyana sourced income.

Individual taxation:

Given below are the taxation details for the individuals in Guyana.

Income tax – People having taxable income less than GYD 1.56 million are charged at a rate of 28% and people obtaining income more than that are charged with a tax rate of 40%.

Capital gains – Capital gains in Guyana are taxed at a tax rate of 20% on the gains arising from the transfer of ownership of an asset.

VAT (Value-Added Tax) – The normal rate of VAT on goods and services in Guyana is 14%, on the contrary, the reduced rate for VAT is 0%.

Social Security Contributions – Employees must contribute an amount of 5.6% of the insurable earnings and employers must contribute an amount of 8.4%.

Property tax – Both the movable and immovable properties are subject to property tax in Guyana. The tax rates for the property tax in Guyana are 0% for the first GYD 40 million, 50% on the next GYD 20 million, and 75% after that. 

Stamp duty – Stamp duty for bonds, debentures, etc., is 0.5% and it might vary in the case of the sale of a real estate property.

Net wealth/worth tax – No.

Inheritance tax – No.

Tax treaties – Guyana happens to have a tax treaty with Canada, UK, and the CARICOM (Caribbean Common Market) member states.

12. Suriname

The currency used in Suriname is known as the Suriname Dollar, which is represented as ‘SRD’. By the time of writing this article, 1 SRD is equal to somewhere around 0.071 USD.

Individual taxation:

Given below are the taxation details for the individuals in Suriname.

Income tax – People in Suriname are imposed with an income tax at a rate of 38%.

This taxable income includes labor, pensions, interest income, dividends, etc.

Capital gains – Capital gains are exempt from taxes in Suriname and capital losses are non-deductible.

VAT (Value-Added Tax) – Suriname will replace the Turnover tax with VAT while imposing 10% on the import/supply of goods and 8% on services. There is also a tax rate of 25% imposed on luxury goods.

A reduced rate of 0% is applicable to the goods and services in Suriname that are exempt from VAT.

Social Security Contributions – people under the age of 60 years are required to pay 4% of their monthly income as social insurance. This is expected to increase by 0.5% every year until it reaches 28% (by 2065).

There isn’t much information available about taxation in Suriname regarding taxes such as Capital duty, Stamp duty, Property tax, Inheritance tax, Wealth tax, etc. 

Tax treaties – Suriname has BITs (Bilateral Investment Treaties) with Cuba, Indonesia, and the Netherlands. Suriname has a tax treaty with the Netherlands, Indonesia, and UAE (signed in 2018).

The Final Verdict:

  • Argentina – 5% to 35%
  • Bolivia – 13%
  • Brazil – 0% to 27.5%
  • Chile – 0% to 35.5%
  • Colombia – 0% to 39%
  • Peru – 8% to 30%
  • Venezuela – 6% to 34%
  • Paraguay – 8%, 9%, and 10%
  • Uruguay – 0% to 36%
  • Ecuador – 0% to 35%
  • Guyana – 28% and 40%
  • Suriname – 38%

Keeping the income tax of these countries in mind, which is the most common type of tax used to determine whether a country has lower taxes or higher taxes, the countries that have the lowest tax rates are given below.

Based on the lowest tax bracket applicable to a person, the countries with the lowest taxes are:

  • Brazil (0%), highest tax rate being 27.5%
  • Ecuador (0%), highest tax rate being 35%
  • Chile (0%), highest tax rate being 35.5%
  • Uruguay (0%), highest tax rate being 36%
  • Colombia (0%), highest tax rate being 39%
  • Venezuela (6%), highest tax rate being 34%
  • Paraguay (8%), highest tax rate being 10%
  • Peru (8%), highest tax rate being 30%

However, it should be observed that the above-mentioned tax rates are only up to a certain amount of income of a person. If the income of a specific person exceeds that certain limit, they will be charged with higher tax rates.

As per the highest tax rates that can be levied on an individual, the countries with the lowest taxes are:

  • Paraguay (10%)
  • Bolivia (13%)
  • Brazil (27.5%)
  • Peru (30%)

Bottom line:

However, people should consider that the income tax is not the only tax that can be levied upon an individual. There are some other taxes, which if not considered important, can become a huge burden upon an individual.

Gathering important information about taxes is a very important thing that needs to be done cautiously by an individual before moving on to another country.

If you are a person looking to move to any of the above-mentioned countries and require further guidance on this topic, you can contact us.

If you need help in acquiring a second passport or permanent residency, or renunciation of your current citizenship, you can avail of the expert services offered by us.

Not only that, but we also provide best-in-class financial services related to stocks, funds, and other investment vehicles along with services related to financial advice and wealth management.

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