Uruguay offers tax breaks to attract wealthy foreigners

Pedro Gonçalves
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Uruguay offers tax breaks to attract wealthy foreigners

Uruguay's new government wants to offer tax breaks to woo wealthy foreigners to the country.

The country's president-elect wants to offer residency to up to 200,000 by slashing the minimum amount of property foreigners need to buy to qualify.

Foreigners currently have to spend more than 183 days a year in the country as well as purchasing real estate worth more than £1.3m or investing more than £4.1m in a business.

It cost Uruguay so much to escape its nickname as a fiscal paradise that to go back to that doesn't seem to me to be a good idea"

Lacalle Pou, officially takes office this March, is still to give figures, but business leaders are calling for levels as low as countries such as Portugal, where foreigners only need to invest £292,000 in property to qualify.

Most of the 200,000 target could come from neighbouring Argentina. As Buenos Aires hikes taxes on personal assets, HNWIs in the country have been considering emigrating to avoid what they see as confiscatory taxes.

Marcos Galperín, the billionaire co-founder of the tech unicorn Mercado Libre that is the country's most valuable company, has already left. Companies such as Amazon, General Motors and Nike have been reported in local media to be freezing investment plans.

Argentine President Alberto Fernandez has recently warned Lacalle Pou to "think twice" before making the country what he suggested would be a tax dodger's paradise. 

"It cost Uruguay so much to escape its nickname as a fiscal paradise that to go back to that doesn't seem to me to be a good idea," Fernandez said. 

 

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