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Playing cards have been with us since the 14th century, when they first entered popular culture. Over the centuries packs of cards, in all shapes and sizes, have been used for games, gambling, education, conjuring, advertising, fortune telling, political messages or the portrayal of national or ethnic identity. All over the world, whatever language is spoken, their significance is universal. Their popularity is also due to the imaginative artwork and graphic design which is sometimes overlooked, and the “then & now” of how things have changed.

Uruguay playing card tax

In 1806 the Council of Concepción del Uruguay imposed an 8 Peso tax on card and billiard tables on account of “the detrimental effect on poor and innocent people”

1919 importation tax stamp

Uruguay playing card tax - Impuesto Sobre Naipes

In 1806 the Council of Concepción del Uruguay imposed an 8 Peso tax on card and billiard tables on account of "the detrimental effect on poor and innocent people". During the 19th century various import tariffs were applied to playing cards. After February 1919 tax on playing cards was controlled by tax stamps on the cards and tax bands outside the wrappers, according to the following laws:

Leyes Nros. 6,874 y 6,894 de 11 & 27 de Febrero de 1919.

A) Impuesto sobre barajas de producción nacional = 12 centésimos [blue tax stamp]
B) Impuesto sobre barajas de importación = 22 centésimos [yellow tax stamp]

Ley Nº 11,326, Montevideo, 7 de setiembre de 1949.

Artículo 12. El impuesto interno a los naipes, establecido por las leyes Nros. 6.874 y 6.894, de 11 y 27 de febrero de 1919, será percibido de acuerdo a la siguiente escala:

A) Naipes nacionales: cada mazo = $ 0.25
B) Naipes importados: cada mazo = $ 0.60

Los naipes importados que se vendan al público a un precio superior a $ 1.50 pagarán el impuesto a razón de $ 0.25 por cada $ 0.50 o fracción del precio de venta.

El Poder Ejecutivo reglamentará la forma de percepción y controlar de este impuesto. Vigente hasta noviembre do 1960.

1949 tax stamp
1949 tax stamp
1949 tax stamp

Above: tax stamps for home-produced cards for the period 1949-1960.

The tax band shown below corresponds to Law Nº 12,804 of 30 November 1960 and has been overprinted with text relating to home-produced playing cards in Uruguay. The Law states that 38% of the revenues from the tax on playing cards shall be allocated to the Pensions Fund.

Above: The Sale Price is overprinted on the taxband as $280, whilst the tax paid is $84, which is 30% of the sale price. It appears that only 38% of this tax was paid into the Pensions Fund, i.e. $32.

The above tax law was temporarily superseded in 1967 by Ley Nº 13,637 which ruled that the tax on nationally-produced playing cards was $10.00 (ten pesos) per pack and 20% of the sale price. This was raised to 30% in 1968 by Ley Nº 13,695. After this period the law reverted to the 1960 tariff until 1974, when it ended.

Information on Uruguayan playing card taxes available from www.parlamento.gub.uy.
Further information about tax stamps on playing cards at Taxes and Tax Stamps on Playing-cards.

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By Simon Wintle

Member since February 01, 1996

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Curator and editor of the World of Playing Cards since 1996.

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