Chile has a tax called Impuesto al Valor Agregado–commonly referred to as IVA–that is built into the price of almost everything you buy.
Other countries call this tax the Value Add Tax (VAT) or Goods and Services Tax (GST).
How Much is IVA in Chile?
IVA in Chile is a flat 19%. You won’t see this amount broken out on receipts because it is included in the price of goods and services you purchase.
Do Foreigners and Tourists Have to Pay IVA?
As a foreigner, you can be exempt from paying IVA in one situation: your hotel lodging.
If you pay for your hotel with foreign currency (like US dollars or euros) or with a foreign-issued credit card, you will not have to pay IVA.
There are some caveats to this exemption. Your hotel will have to be registered with Chile’s SII (Internal Tax Service) and you will most likely have to get your passport photocopied. So if you stay at smaller lodging that perhaps hasn’t registered with the SII, you won’t get any such exemption.
Even as a foreigner, you’ll pay IVA on all other purchases.
How do you get an IVA exemption?
When you pay for your hotel or lodging, make sure to ask if IVA is included in the rate you pay. Ask for the discount if you are paying with foreign currency or credit card. You shouldn’t have to do any paperwork other than proving you are a foreigner. That’s why you’ll need to present your passport and the tourist visa that you get at the airport.