The Uruguayan Senate approved a law that intends to discourage the use of offshore accounts in the country as well as preventing their nationals from using these kinds of accounts in outside tax havens. The law for “international fiscal transparency, asset laundry prevention and financing of terrorism” not only eliminates bank secrecy, but also forces companies to identify its final beneficiaries and substantially increases taxes to offshore accounts.
The law’s effects don’t circumscribe to Uruguayan citizens who, according to local outlet El País, used the offshore accounts — usually through companies based in Panama — to avoid declaring the real estate they in the country. Argentines and Brazilians also took advantage of the country’s loose restrictions in this area. There’s probably more than one Argentine trying to figure out the best way to come clean about that apartment in Punta del Este. After the summer, of course.
“Those who don’t do it will have to pay the cost” of trying to cover their tracks said Uruguayan Deputy Economy Secretary Pablo Ferreri when consulted about the future for whoever chose sticking to the offshore account. He did concede there will be some who are willing to pay the proposed increase in order to remain anonymous though the banking system and the tax collecting agency’s eyes.
The law allows those who have offshore accounts to dissolve them and transfer its assets to either a Uruguayan account or one in a country that is not considered a tax haven, without having to pay taxes to do it. According to the country’s tax collecting agency, by mid 2016 there were roughly 1,900 accounts based in “tax havens” registered within its system.