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Peru - Taxation

All residents are taxed on income that they earn worldwide, while non-residents are taxed only on Peruvian earned income. For the purposes of taxation a resident is a Peruvian national or a foreign national that has spent more than 183 days a year in the country. The status of residency is calculated on the first day of each year, so if in 2009 a foreign national spent 183 days in the country they will receive a tax bill in 2010. If a change in status occurs on the 2nd January, they will not receive a tax bill until 2011.

The tax year is the calendar year and joint tax returns can be filed for married couples and these can be done in the name of either spouse. Tax returns must be filed within three months of the end of the tax year. There are fines for those who fail to file their tax return or who file the return late. Taxable income is classed as income from employment, interest, dividends or royalties. Other forms of income may include pension payments or income from self employment. Those who are self employed must submit a tax return as should anybody who does not have their income tax withheld at source. Some employers may deduct the tax monies when the salary is paid, and make these payments to the tax office on the worker’s behalf.

Each individual is permitted an allowance on employment before they have to pay tax and those who are self employed are able to claim back reasonable work expenses such as protective clothing and office equipment. Capital income incurs a taxation rate of 6.25%, while income tax rates range from 15% to 30%. These rates apply to residents, while non-residents are subject to different rates, but this depends upon the type of income and the amount. Information on this can be obtained from the Peruvian tax office.

There is a real property tax which is calculated on the value of the property but different rates apply to different values. The country has no inheritance taxes or wealth taxes, but capital gains taxes are payable. These are charged at 6.25% on the net income from sales of assets or property. Non-residents are subject to a capital gains tax of 30% and will pay the same rate on the transfer of property held in the country.

Unlike most other countries only the employer is required to make contributions to the social security system and this is a flat rate of 9% of the worker’s salary, so there are no deductions from the salary for this.

VAT is added to most goods for sale, particularly imported items and some services. The rate is 19% and this can make the cost of some imported items seem quite high. In light of this, locally produced goods provide value for money. Stamp duty is not payable in Peru on property purchases.

There are several tax treaties and agreements in place which helps to prevent people being taxed twice on the same income if they have sources of monies from other places in the world. There are not many of these agreements in place though, so it is worth checking in advance if you will be liable for tax in more than one country. If you can be taxed in more than one country you may be able to prevent being charged a second time if you can prove that you have already paid tax on the amount, so paying taxes on time and in full can work in your favour. Treaties are mainly with other South American countries, so expats that hail from Europe or other parts of the world should check with the tax office in their home country to clarify their position. Those who do have income from more than one place may find it beneficial to hire a qualified accountant in Peru who can help you to minimise your tax liability.

The tax office in Peru is known as SUNAT and further details on taxation are available from their website along with information on completing and filing a tax return.

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Expat Health Insurance Partners

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