Under the title “How to start a business in Chile” we start a series of posts where we will explain the most important steps every company looking to expand internationally in Chile must follow. We will clear out topics such as the type of company structures, how to open a bank account, types of visas, intellectual property  and various aspects regarding accounting in Chile, tax compliance in Chile and payroll in Chile.

Obtaining the Tax Identification Number (RUT)

This is one of the very first procedures to carry out since everyone,  both individuals and legal entities, wishing to undertake an economic activity in Chile, before any kind of investment, must obtain a Tax Identification Number (RUT for its Spanish acronym “Rol Único Tributario”).

The RUT is a number which identifies taxpayers in Chile. For legal entities and foreign investors, the SII (Servicio de Impuestos Internos) is in charge of all applications. The SII gives a unique number to each taxpayer to identify them.

Obtaining  the RUT is required for foreing investors in the following cases:

  • Non-resident companies that invest in Chile, irrespective of the investment.
  • Individuals or legal entities not resident or domiciled in Chile that plan to participate in companies as partners or shareholders.
  • Persons not resident or domiciled in Chile that open agencies or branches in the country or undertake activities through a permanent establishment.
  • Non-resident individuals in Chile as company representatives, tourists and international officials and their accompanying family members and other non-residents if they invest in the country through, for example, the acquisition of real estate.

Simplified RUT application process

A simplified application process has been created where authorized Banks and brokers are able to apply on behalf of the foreign investors. If these foreigners invest in order to obtain income by buying and selling shares in listed corporations, fixed-income instruments, instruments of financial intermediation and quotas in mutual funds or through certain contracts can use a simplified mechanism for obtaining a RUT through institutions that act as custodians.