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23.03.2014 Bulletin

by Marita
(Montevideo, Uruguay)

Consider:

"I Dream of a Better World
Where Chickens can Cross the Road
Without having their Motives Questioned" -- T-Shirt Saying Seen at La Papoñita.


Sadly, the summer is coming to an end. Not only are we losing the lovely warm temperatures, but our assorted snowbirds are preparing to leave us as well. So come by La Papoñita on Sunday at 14:00 (2 pm) and visit with them before they go.

We also have some musically inclined new folks coming this Sunday who are looking to move here, so come help answer all their questions.

News of the week includes:

1. Reminder of the Saturday bash in Ciudad Vieja. Madeline thought the blurb was sufficient, with the exception of the fact that the dog show had been scratched, so all that can be done is repeat the facts known so you can go and find out for yourself what the event is about.

Date: Saturday March 22nd
Place: Plaza Zabala in Ciudad Vieha
Time: 10 am to 6 pm

There will be fun and interactive events including music, audio visual presentations, handicrafts, painting and cooking classes for kids, a fashion show, food contests, and much more.

Local residents, Montevideo businesses, the City of Montevideo, and expats in Uruguay are contributing their time and resources to make this community-building event a success.

So expats, come out to help. Or just come out to be part of the fun. Come out and take your place as part of the community fabric.

Note: Expat, Madeline Parmet, who lives in Ciudad Vieja has done A LOT to help prepare for this event. And besides her time, she is paying to have chemical toilets on site for the event. If you have any questions about the event contact Madeline at: uruguayoscuro (at) yahoo.com

2. One of our number has a flat in Ciudad Vieja on Sarandi that really needs to be rented out. For a long term rental, U$S 550 would be possible. Who needs it? Or who knows someone who might need it? Please get the word out because help is really needed here! And let me know if you are interested or know someone who is.

3. Credit Card Use appears to be a hot topic: There have been lots of questions, such as

Hi--I have a question about the IVA refund on foreign credit cards. Do the restaurants automatically deduct this, or do you have to ask them to do so? Also, is this IVA refund on anything and everything you buy with a foreign credit card? Or just restaurants.

Finally, don't most US credit cards have a charge for use in foreign countries? I take it that this is less than the IVA?

Many helpful folks contributed the following information.

a) Credit Card Use usually brings with it a currency conversion fee, but there are some exceptions.

Yes, many US credit cards have foreign transaction fees, but they don't come close to IVA's 22%. In addition, there are some credit cards that do not charge foreign transaction fees.
· Restaurant charges are in UY$, so exchange rate is also an issue. It's reputed on some websites that exchange rates given by the banks on the credit cards are pretty good, but I've not tried to verify that.

As regards US Credit Cards, the following is what we use and I know with certainty that it works
Almost all cards charge a "currency conversion" fee ... some are higher and some are lower
However, there IS one US company that does NOT charge this fee ... Capital One
We have a card with them for this exact purpose, and during our last two weeks in UY
used it exclusively in lots of varying places... it works perfectly ... never a problem
the exact currency conversion occurs in real time and is detailed for EACH transaction.
Total of Currency Charges ... with a lot of activity ... $0.00
·
Charles Schwab and Fidelity (USA) offer debit cards that do not charge Foreign Transaction Fees, and refund ATM fees. I haven't tried Schwab, but Fidelity's exchange rates are better than locally available, so they actually refund a few cents more than you pay at the ATM, which ain't gonna make you rich but always gives me a warm fuzzy feeling.


b) The Refund of the 22% IVA when you use a foreign credit card here in Uruguay:

This refund is based on Ley 17934 (Law 17934), which was passed to promote tourism and has been extended through June of this year (but it may be extended again). Therefore, the places where the refund is offered are tourist-related places: Restaurants, Hotels, Car rental places, and the like--not the grocery store or the shoe shop. The law gives the establishment the power to refund the 22% IVA, it does not require them to do so, so negotiation is the way to go here. But 22% is a chunk of money, so it is well worth trying to come to an arrangement. Actually, it seems that you only get 18,5% refunded, the rest being retained for administrative expenses. But that is still a hefty portion of the bill, and worth some diplomacy to get it.

The many who wrote in on the topic had the following to say:

On the IVA, the link below is to a MercoPress article which seems to discuss the issue in some depth
http://en.mercopress.com/2012/11/06/uruguay-confirms-in-argentina-incentives-for-arriving-tourists-this-summer-season

Re: credit card IVA. My experience on previous trips here was that the IVA was refunded as a credit on your credit card statement. This year, some restaurants are making the deduction on the bill...they show the total, then deduct 22%IVA, and some will then ask if they can add a 10% tip. Others, including Costa Azul, continue to bill the entire amount, and I have seen the credit show up on my statement. I have also had the IVA deducted when renting a car from Budget in Pta Carretas....I assume others will do similar.

Yes, IVA's a hot topic – saving 22% is not something to sneeze at! I've seen it rebated on my credit card statement, and it's obvious when La Papoñita gives me a charge slip that's less than the bill! J It's not a new thing. It was in place last year and was extended into this year – I think up to June. There are El Pais (I think) articles on it.

So far, each restaurant has known it's a foreign credit card and "done it" automatically.

· "done it" depends on the restaurant. For example, La Papoñita removes the IVA and charges the reduced amount, whereas Costa Azúl charges the IVA-included amount and says the IVA rebate will show on your credit card. However, so far in all cases the IVA law is referenced on the charge slip. La Papoñita also writes it on their itemized bill.

· No, it is not on everything you charge. For example, not on Disco or Devoto grocery purchases. The law's purpose is to encourage tourism, so it's supposedly also on hotels & car rentals – things like that. But I have not yet charged anything like this so can't confirm first-hand.

Not sure what happened with the couple who did not get refunds. I suppose it's possible the places they went could have scammed? If the establishments get the IVA 22% from them and then just kept it?! I wouldn't suggest that initially, though… If they still have their charge slips they could look for something like "DESCUENTO Ley 17934" and/or "APLICA Devolucion IVA – Ley 17934" on them… That's what my last one from La Papoñita's says… It also says "SIN No. Factura NO devuel ve IVA sic"...


IVA rebate with foreign credit cards still works, but now even simpler! Before, the total amount was charged and the IVA rebate appeared as a credit. Now, the restaurant takes IVA off and just charges that amount!


And From the Press We Have:

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