Administrative essentials

Accounting & reporting in Chilean business

Administrative essentials

All individuals or entities that start business activity in Chile must fulfill certain administrative requirements. These include obtaining official numbers and licenses, as well as keeping records.


The principal administrative requirements are:

  • Taxpayer number (Rol Único Tributario or RUT): this number must be obtained when the individual or entity is registered with the Internal Revenue Service (Servicios de Impuestos Internos). No business can operate without a taxpayer number.
  • Declaration of initiation of activities: this is made to the Internal Revenue Service within two months following the start of activities and must contain a description of the nature and amount of the enterprise’s capital.
  • Municipal license: the individual or entity must obtain from the relevant municipality a separate license for each of the enterprise’s establishments, offices, warehouses, etc; no activity can be initiated without the applicable license.
  • Sectored permits: some businesses require special permits depending on the nature of activities to be carried out. These include: health permits (SNS); environmental permits (SESMA); foresting permits (CONAF); agricultural and livestock permits (SAG); mining permits (SERNAGEOMIN); marine permits (SAG); air navigation permits (DGAC); and telecommunications permits (MTT), among others.

Excluding the above, foreign investors in certain kinds of securities may be relieved from having to maintain complete accounting records and from filing yearly tax returns.

Accounting and bookkeeping

An entity’s financial year cannot exceed twelve months and can end on any day chosen by the shareholders. However, for tax purposes, entities must adopt a December 31st year end, although the Internal Revenue Service can authorise the use of a June 30th year end.

In general, all businesses and taxpayers are required to keep complete accounting records, in the form of a cashbook, a journal, a ledger and a balance sheet register. In addition, the following records must be maintained for tax purposes:

  • Sales and purchases journals.
  • Payroll register (required only for entities with five or more employees).
  • Tax withholding register.
  • Taxable profits ledger.

All financial records must be stamped by the Internal Revenue Service.

Enterprises that operate in the free trade zones (Arica, Iquique and Punta Arenas) and in areas subject to incentives (currently the I, XI and XII regions and Chiloé Province) are required to maintain a separate set of accounting records for those operations.

Further reading

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