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Tax Law News in Guatemala

Submitted By Firm: Arias & Muñoz

Contact(s): Anna Karina Jiménez, Cesar Bautista, Josué Rafael Reyes Campos, Liz Gordillo Anleu, Norma Elena Morales, Rene Serrano, Roberto Argüello, Yadira Maradiaga


José Augusto Toledo Cruz and Gabriela Platero

Date Published: 3/12/2012

Article Type: Legal Update

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On March 5, 2012 the Tax Update Law was published, incorporating important changes to Guatemala's tax laws. Aside from the creation of the First Registration Tax on vehicles (IPRIMA) and changes to the Vehicle Circulation Tax, the most important aspect is the creation of the new Income Tax Law (ITL), which shall come into force on January 1, 2013.  The ITL establishes changes to the tax regimes for employees, independent professionals and businesses. In essence, the changes structure in an orderly manner how income earned in the country will be taxed:

  • Income from profitable activities, which are pursuits related to the production and marketing of products, as well as providing technical and professional services. Both of the currently existing types of tax regimes are maintained: a) Profits Regime, consisting of a percentage of taxable or net income; or b) Simplified Income Regime, consisting of a percentage of gross income.  However, applicable rules and tax rates were modified, while gradually increasing in time.
  • Income from work, which taxes the wages of employees.
  • Income from capital, derived from assets: leases, capital gains and dividends, among others. A separate regime was created for income obtained in Guatemala by persons residing abroad.

The approved law contains other provisions that take effect on March 15, such as the new National Customs Law, and certain amendments to the Value Added Tax and Stamps Tax laws. 

These reforms are those that complete the package approved in February this year which was enacted to strengthen the Guatemalan tax system, as well as tackling fraud and smuggling. 

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El pasado 5 de marzo de 2012, fue publicada la Ley de Actualización Tributaria, por medio de la cual se hacen importantes cambios a las leyes fiscales guatemaltecas. Además de la creación del Impuesto a la Primera Matrícula de vehículos (IPRIMA) y cambios al Impuesto Sobre Circulación de Vehículos, el aspecto más importante es la creación de la nueva Ley del Impuesto Sobre la Renta (LISR), la cual entrará en vigor a partir del 1 de enero de 2013.  En la LISR se establecen cambios a los regímenes de trabajadores en relación de dependencia, de los profesionales independientes yde las empresas. En esencia, se estructuran en forma ordenada tres formas de gravar las rentas en el país:

  • Rentas de las actividades lucrativas, que son actividades relacionadas con la producción y comercialización de productos, así como la prestación de servicios técnicos y profesionales. Se mantienen los dos tipos de regímenes que actualmente gravan estas rentas: a) Régimen de Utilidades, que consiste en un porcentaje sobre los ingresos imponibles o netos; o b) Régimen Simplificado sobre Ingresos, consistente en un porcentaje sobre los ingresos brutos. Sin embargo, se modificaron algunas de las reglas a las que están sujetas esos regímenes, así como las tasas aplicables, incorporando una gradualidad en el impacto de las mismas.
  • Rentas del trabajo, que grava los salarios de trabajadores en relación de dependencia.
  • Rentas del capital, provenientes de elementos patrimoniales: arrendamientos, ganancias de capital, y distribución de dividendos, entre otros. Se establece un sistema diferente para las rentas percibidas por las personas residentes en Guatemala y por personas no residentes en el país.

La ley aprobada contiene otras disposiciones que entran en vigencia el 15 de marzo, tales como la nueva Ley Aduanera Nacional, y ciertas las reformas a las leyes del Impuesto al Valor Agregado y del Impuesto de Timbres Fiscales. 

Estas reformas son las que complementan el paquete aprobado en febrero de este año y cuyo objetivo era fortalecer el sistema tributario guatemalteco, así como el combate a la defraudación y el contrabando. 

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