According to law, the fiscal year is the calendar year.
The filing deadline for the income tax return is generally the first week of April. The system is one of self-assessment, but the tax return filed with the tax authorities is subject to review.
Payment of tax
Income tax payments are due in 12 monthly instalments. The due date for the final income tax payment for a year is generally the first week of April.
The estimated payment calculation system has been established, and the amount of the estimated payment will be the greater of the result of multiplying the net revenue of the month by (i) 1.5% or (ii) the applicable coefficient. The coefficient is calculated by dividing the income generated in the previous fiscal year by the income tax that was determined.
The National Superintendency of Customs and Tax Administration (SUNAT) is responsible for administering all of the aforementioned taxes (income tax, VAT, etc.). Companies resident in Peru must be registered with the tax administration (Taxpayer’s Registry).
The Tax Court is a specialised administrative tribunal, which depends on the Ministry of Economy and Finance, but is otherwise autonomous regarding its specific functions. Its mission is to rule over tax controversies that may arise between the tax administration and the taxpayers, by interpreting and applying the corresponding tax legislation, issuing mandatory observance jurisprudence, and establishing homogenous criteria that continue to support the progress of the tax system.
Finally, taxpayers are entitled to file an appeal before the Judiciary (Court) against resolutions issued by the Tax Court, but payment of the tax debt must be performed or guarantees must be provided.
Tax audit process
The tax audit performed by the SUNAT includes all the aspects of the tax and period being subject to review. The tax audit is formal, and the process is fully regulated.
The SUNAT is also able to conduct partial audits of limited scope.
Statute of limitations
Pursuant to the Peruvian tax legislation, the SUNAT is entitled to audit taxpayers in order to assess their tax liabilities, request the payment of any due tax, and assess any applicable penalty for up to (i) four years from 1 January of the year following the date the corresponding tax return had to be filed, (ii) six years to the extent that the corresponding tax return was not filed, and (iii) ten years when the tax withheld by the taxpayer has not been paid to the SUNAT.
Topics of focus for tax authorities
The SUNAT mainly focuses on the following topics:
- Deduction of expenses, including cost share expenses.
- Market value of transactions between related parties.
- Peruvian source income WHT.
- Income tax advance payments.
General Anti-avoidance Rule (GAAR)
The GAAR (provision XVI of the Tax Code) allows the SUNAT to consider the acts, situations, and economic activities performed, established, or desired by the taxpayers in order to determine the real nature of the taxable event. To this extent, provision XVI establishes that when tax evasion is detected, the SUNAT is entitled to collect the tax debt and fines; reduce the amount of balances due, NOLs, or tax credits; or eliminate any tax advantage, without prejudice, to recover any amount that was wrongfully reimbursed.
While interpreting the tax legislation, substance should be selected over a legal form. The fact that a taxpayer's transactions are legal does not imply that they are acceptable with reference to the underlying meaning embedded in the tax rules. Thus, where there is no business purpose except to obtain a tax benefit, the SUNAT should challenge such transactions as artificial and apply the corresponding tax rules.
However, the faculty of the SUNAT to apply provision XVI of the Tax Code has been suspended, with the exception of the first and last paragraphs of said provision.