The Venezuelan Tax Unit—Too Many Pesky Zeros


Spare a thought for the printers of the Official Gazette of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

In its issue for June 20, the Gazette published a decree by SENIAT, the Venezuelan tax authority, increasing the value of the country’s tax unit (the UT) to 1,200,000 bolivars. Except, the decree should have read ‘1,200 bolivars’, as SENIAT pointed out two days later. The mistake, explained the tax authority, was due to a printing error.

Still, it’s difficult not to feel some sympathy for the hapless printers. This was, after all, the third hike in the value of the UT—the concept used by Venezuelan tax legislation to express monetary values—in under four months, following a rise from 300 bolivars to 500 bolivars on March 1, and a further increase to 850 bolivars on May 1. And with Venezuela’s annual inflation currently running, according to Bloomberg, at a mind-boggling 43,378 percent, the printers can surely be forgiven for getting just a tad confused by all those pesky zeros.

 

By Dr Craig Rose, Technical Editor, Bloomberg Tax

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