Guide to Doing Business in Argentina www.LIMERES.com
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2013 Guide to
2013 Guide to Doing Business in Argentina
Table of Contents
Chapter ONE: The Republic of Argentina
Geography and Natural Resources……..…….………............................
Legal and Political System......................................................................
Economy of Argentina............................................................................
Reliability of Officials: CPI Estimates......................................................
Inflation in Argentina ..............................................................................
Income Inequality ...................................................................................
Chapter TWO: Corporate Structures to Doing Business
(i) Branch of a Foreign Corporation........................................................
(ii) Corporation or S.A. ...........................................................................
(iii) Limited Liability Company – S.R.L. ..................................................
General Business and Investment Climate ............................................
Chapter THREE: Investment Climate to Doing
Business in Argentina
VISA Requirements by Argentina’s DNM............................................... 20
MERCOSUR Nationals............................................................................. 21
Immigration Permits required to Doing Business in Argentina……...... 21
Permanent Residence.............................................................................. 21
Temporary Residence.............................................................................. 21
Transitory Residence................................................................................ 22
Provisional Residency.............................................................................. 22
Chapter FOUR: Investments
Currency. Official and Unofficial Exchange Rates…..........................…
Exchange Controls and Central Bank Regulations…….........................
Transferring Funds into and from Argentina.........................................
Public Support to Foster Investment………………........................……
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Chapter FIVE: Trade Regulation
How to Export from and Import to Argentina….....................................… 30
Exports Procedure…………….................................................................… 31
Export Refund System, Export Duties and VAT Exceptions..................... 32
Imports Procedure to Argentina................................................................. 32
Antidumping Practices and Regulations…………......................…….....… 33
Tax System in Argentina............................................................................. 35
Federal Government Taxes………………………...................................….. 36
Income Tax ……………………................................................…………...... 36
Minimum Presumed Income Tax - MPIT…………….............................…. 36
Value Added Tax – VAT……………....................................................…….. 36
Excise Taxes…………………….....................................................………… 37
Tax on Bank Accounts Debits and Credits……..........……………………... 37
Personal Assets Tax……………………………..................................……… 37
Provincial Taxes…………………………………….................................…… 38
Turnover Taxes…………………………….............................................…… 38
Multilateral Agreement………………….........………………..………..……. 38
Stamp Tax…………………………………….............................................… 38
Real Estate Tax…………...............................................................………… 38
Municipal Taxes……………….......................................…………………… 38
Taxation Agreements…………..............................................……………… 39
Chapter SEVEN: Insolvency and Bankruptcy in Argentina
Anti-Money Laundering Regulations......................................................... 40
Chapter EIGHT: About LIMERES, BARASSI, VES LOSADA &
Contact Information.................................................................................... 44
Guide to Doing
The Republic of Argentina
Geography and Natural Resources
The Republic of Argentina is located between latitudes 23°S
Tropic of Capricorn and 55°S Cape Horn. It is the eighth-largest
country in the world and the second largest in Latin America. It
is also the largest Spanish-speaking nation in the world.
Argentina’s continental land extends 3.694 kilometers from
north to south and 1.423 kilometers from east to west between
longitudes 53° and 63° with a total area of 3.761.274 square
kilometers. There is also a sector of the Antarctica and a group
of islands located south of the Atlantic Ocean with an area of
969.464 square kilometers. The national territory of Argentina
is formed by 23 provinces and the City of Buenos Aires.
The east coast has access to the South Atlantic Ocean and the
South Pacific Ocean through the Magellan Straits. The bordering
countries are Uruguay and Brazil to the east; Chile to the south
and west; and Bolivia and Paraguay in the north border.
Argentina has a wide range of climates and a significant
biodiversity due to the large territory and topographical
diversity. Its many climates provide multiple landscapes and
Argentina is endowed in natural resources that offer abundance
and diversity. For instance, the Pampas cover a surface area
of 170 million hectares, which provide fertile agricultural lands
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ideal for grain production, oilseeds
and cattle, which position the country
as the world’s top food producers.
The northeastern and western
Patagonia provides abundant forests.
The Andes Mountains provide mineral
richness that includes gold, silver,
copper, zinc, oil, magnate lithium,
uranium and sulfide along 4,500
kilometers. Substantial quantities
of wine grapes and other fruits are
produced in this area.
Argentina has extensive aquifers and
oceans, rivers, streams and inland
waterways that are rich in fishing and
hydrocarbon resources. Argentina
promotes sustainable development
and protection of its natural resources
such as reduction of carbon dioxide
The country stands out for its natural
highlights such as the Iguazú Falls,
which is one of the largest fresh
water reservoirs in the world. It was
declared a World Natural Heritage
Site by UNESCO and named one
of the seven wonders by the Swiss
Foundation. Also, the Republic has
the highest mountain in the western
hemisphere called Aconcagua with
6,959 meters in the Andes area.
Another Unesco World Natural
Heritage Site is the Perito Moreno
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According to the 2010 census made
by INDEC – National Institute of
Statistics and Censuses - Argentina
has over 40 million inhabitants and
an average density of 14.4 people
per square kilometer. It is interesting
to notice that 92% of the population
lives in urban areas. The Buenos
Aires Metropolitan area concentrates
33% of the total population. Buenos
Aires is the most populated province
inhabitants, followed by Córdoba and
The Argentine population comprises
19,575,219 males and 20,516,140
females. The sex ratio is 95.4, which
refers to the number of males every
The first inhabitants of the Argentine
territory were indigenous that lived
in tribes and developed their culture
at different extents.
It was not
until the XV Century when Spanish
Conquerors imposed their own
values and customs generating a
cultural convergence. In the XVIII
Century the Viceroyalty of the Río de
la Plata was created. The territory was
known as a Spanish immigrant’s area
and the descendants with indigenous
and Spanish origin were known as
Poland and Russia. Argentina has a
multi-cultural society with 85% of its
population with European origin.
The ethnical composition of Argentina
is varied and it is composed of a
mixture of local population and
immigrants. Many people moved
from rural areas to the different
cities being the city of Buenos Aires
the most populated of the country.
Neighboring countries like Bolivia
and Paraguay contribute with the
ethnical composition of Argentina.
Spanish is the official language.
However, it is frequent to find
people that speak English, French,
Portuguese and Italian as a second
Argentina has no official religion
although most of the population is
Roman Catholic. Freedom of worship
is provided for by the Argentine
Constitution. There are over 2500
registered cults in the National
Registry of Worship.
The official currency is the argentine
peso usually referred with the symbol
$ or AR$. Convertibility came to an
end on 2002 with the enactment of
Law No. 25,561, Decree No. 214/02.
The peso was devalued and today the
official USD price is $5,30 whereas
the black and non-official USD can be
exchanged for $8.00.1
Foreign investment and a large
between 1850s and 1940s. There
were 3.5 million immigrants with 45%
of Italian origin and 32% Spanish.
Prior to the 1960s Argentina received
immigrants from Britain, Germany,
1. Exchange rates last updated on July 2013. Exchange rates subject to daily changes.
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The Argentine Republic is formed
by the Judicial, the Legislative
and the Executive branches. The
Argentine Constitution adopted in
1853 established the tripartite system
following Montesquieu premises
of separation of state powers. The
Argentina Constitution was amended
in 1860, 1898, 1957 and 1994. The last
amendment allowed the President
one additional term for re-election.
of the Senate and the House of
Representatives pass, amend, revoke
and repeal laws in the Congress.
A President a Vice-president and the
Ministries appointed by the President
forms the Executive. The President
serves a four-year term. Currently, the
President of the Argentine Republic is
Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner who
was appointed in 2007 and re-elected
in 2011 with 54.11% of the votes.
The Judicial branch is divided into
federal and provincial courts. Each
jurisdiction has its own lower courts,
courts of appeal and supreme courts.
The Supreme Court of Justice holds
the Supreme judicial power.
23 provinces and the Autonomous
City of Buenos Aires as its capital city
form the national territory
The main political parties are Front
for Victory (FPV) which holds the
majority in the Congress, Justicialist
Party (PJ), Radical Civic Union (UCR),
Broad Progressive Front (FAP) and
Republican Proposal (PRO) among
The Autonomous City of Buenos Aires
is currently conducted by Mauricio
Macri from the Republican Proposal
(PRO) who won the local elections in
2007 and was re-elected in 2011 with
83% of the votes.
Argentina is part of a regional
comprising Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay
and Venezuela. Mercosur aims to
eliminate tariffs barriers among its
members and set a common external
tariff with the rest of the world.
Associate member countries include
Bolivia and Chile. Argentina is also
part of Union of South American
Nations (UNASUR) and Community
of Latin America and Caribbean
On a global scale, Argentina is
member of United Nations (UNO),
founding member of World Trade
Organization (WTO) and the InterAmerican Development Bank (IDB),
founding member of Organization of
American States (OAS)
Elections are held by universal
suffrage. Voting age was reduced to
16 years old allowing 16 and 17 years
old voters’ optional participation in
the elections as per Act 26774.
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Education is mandatory from the
ages of five to eighteen. Education is
free in Argentina.
The economy of Argentina is an
upper middle-income economy, and
Latin America’s third largest.
The country benefits from rich
natural resources, a highly literate
agricultural sector and a diversified
industrial base. Historically, however,
Argentina’s economic performance
has been very uneven, in which
high economic growth alternated
with severe recessions, particularly
during the late twentieth century, and
income mal-distribution and poverty
increased. Early in the twentieth
century it was one of the richest
countries in the world and the third
largest in the Southern hemisphere.
Though now an upper-middle income
economy, Argentina maintains a
relatively high quality of life and GDP
Argentina is considered an emerging
market by the FTSE Global Equity
Index, and is one of the G-20 major
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Economy of Argentina
Currency Argentine Peso (ARS)
Fiscal year Calendar year
WTO, Mercosur, Unasur
GDP per capita
$475.0 billion (nominal) (26th, 2012)
$743.1 billion (PPP) (21st, 2012)
$11,576 (nominal) (61st, 2012)
$18,112 (PPP) (52nd, 2012)
GDP by sector
≈ 0.445 (2010)
17.9 million (2012) categories: private
sector employees, 49%; employers and
the self-employed, 27%; public-sector
employees, 21%; unpaid family workers,
Labor force by occupation
Congressional estimate: 25.6% (2012)
Population Below poverty line
Agriculture, forestry and fishing, 9.0%;
mining, 3.8%; manufacturing, 19.5%;
construction, 5.9%; commerce and tourism, 15.7%; transport, communications
and utilities, 8.9%; finance, real estate and
business services, 16.0%; government,
7.8%; education, health care and other,
Agricultural, 7.3%; manufacturing, 13.1%;
construction, 7.6%; commerce and tourism, 21.4%; transport, communications
and utilities, 7.8%; financial, real estate and
business services, 9.4%; public administration and defense, 6.3%; social services and
other, 27.1%. (2006)
Average gross salary
Ease of Doing Business Rank
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US$10,806 (2012, includes part-time wage
Food processing and beverages; motor
vehicles and auto parts; appliances and
electronics; chemicals, petrochemicals,
and biodiesel; pharmaceuticals; steel and
aluminum; machinery; glass and cement;
textiles; tobacco products; publishing;
Main export partners
Main import partners
Gross external debt
US$81.2 billion (2012)
Soy and soy products, 21.8%; motor
vehicles and parts, 12.1%; cereals (mainly
maize and wheat), 12.1%; fossil fuels,
8.0%; chemicals, 7.2%; fruit and vegetable
products, 4.1%; aluminum and steel, 3.5%;
electric machinery, 3.0%; gold, 2.8%; beef
and poultry, 2.5%; biodiesel, 2.3%; rubber
and plastic, 2.3%; all other (mainly agroindustrial goods), 18.3%. (2012)
United States 5.5% (2011 est.)
US$68.5 billion (2012)
Capital goods and parts, 34.3%; intermediate goods, 28.6%; refined fuel and lubricants, 13.5%; automobiles and parts, 8.6%;
freight and farm vehicles, 4.0%; consumer
durables (except auto), 3.8%; all other
(mostly consumer non-durables), 7.2%.
United States 14.4%
Germany 4.7% (2011 est.)
$100.4 billion (12/2012)
$141.1 billion (12/2012)
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35.6% of GDP US$168.2 billion (Treasury
securities, 69%; direct loans, 17%); of
which external, US$71.3 billion (12/2012)
US$156.9 billion (2012) (social security,
31.3%; value-added taxes, 25.8%;
taxes on income and capital gains,
19.4%; trade and customs duties,
11.0%; taxes on assets, 6.9%; excise
taxes and other, 5.6%)
US$169.0 billion (2012) (social
security, 32.2%; subsidies and
infrastructure, 17.5%; health, 13.8%;
debt service, 9.7%; education, culture
and research, 6.4%; social assistance,
6.1%; defense and security, 5.4%;
B (T&C Assessment)
(Standard & Poor’s)
$41.8 billion (3/2013)
Main data source: CIA World Fact Book . All values, unless otherwise stated,
are in United States Dollars.
Argentina’s economy recovered
strongly from the 2001–02 crisis, and
was the 21st largest in purchasing
power parity terms in 2011; its per
capita income on a purchasing
power basis was the highest in Latin
America. A lobby representing US
creditors who refused to accept
Argentina’s debt-swap programs
has campaigned to have the country
expelled from the G20. These
holdouts include numerous vulture
funds, which had rejected the 2005
offer, and had instead resorted to the
courts in a bid for higher returns on
their defaulted bonds. These disputes
had led to a number of liens against
central bank accounts in New York
and, indirectly, to reduced Argentine
access to international credit markets.
Argentina’s economy grew by
9% in 2010, and officially, income
poverty declined to 8% by 2011;
conducted by CONICET found that
income poverty declined to 22.6%.
Argentina’s unemployment rate in the
fourth quarter of 2011 was reportedly
down to 6.7% from 8.4% in the fourth
quarter of 2009, according to INDEC
data. The jobless rate has declined
from 25% in 2002 largely because
of both growing global demand for
Argentine commodities and strong
growth in domestic activity.
Given its ongoing dispute with holdout
bondholders, the government has
become wary of sending assets
to foreign countries (such as the
presidential plane, or artworks sent
to foreign exhibitions) in case courts
at the behest of holdouts might
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Official CPI inflation figures released
monthly by INDEC has been a subject
of political controversy since 2007.
Official inflation data are disregarded
by leading union leaders, even in the
public sector, when negotiating pay
rises. Some private-sector estimates
put inflation for 2010 at around 25%,
much higher than the official 10.9%
rate for 2010. Inflation estimates from
Argentina’s provinces are also higher
than the government’s figures. The
government stands by the validity
of its data, but has called in the
International Monetary Fund to help
it design a new nationwide index to
replace the current one.
The government threatens inflation
analysts with fine of up to 500,000
pesos if they don’t report how they
calculate their inflation estimates,
which these economists consider as
an attempt to limit the availability of
High inflation has been a weakness of
the Argentine economy for decades.
Inflation was unofficially estimated to
be running at more than 25% annually
in December 2010, despite official
statistics indicating less than half
that figure; this would be the highest
level since the 2002 devaluation. A
committee was established in 2010 in
the Argentine Chamber of Deputies by
opposition Deputies Patricia Bullrich,
Ricardo Gil Lavedra, and others to
publish an alternative index based
on private estimates. Food price
increases, particularly that of beef,
began to outstrip wage increases in
2010, leading Argentines to decrease
beef consumption per capita from 69
kg (152 lb) to 57 kg (125 lb) annually
and to increase consumption of other
meats. President Cristina Kirchner
insists inflation is not a problem.
Argentina, in relation to other Latin
American countries, has a moderate
to low level of income inequality. Its
Gini coefficient of about 0.445 (2010) is
reported to be the lowest among Latin
American countries. The social gap is
worst in the suburbs of the capital,
where beneficiaries of the economic
rebound live in gated communities,
and many of the poor (particularly
undocumented immigrants) live in
slums known as villas.
In the mid-1970s, the most affluent
10% of Argentina’s population
had an income 12 times that of the
poorest 10%. That figure had grown
to 18 times by the mid-1990s, and
by 2002, the peak of the crisis, the
income of the richest segment of the
population was 43 times that of the
poorest. These heightened levels of
inequality had improved to 26 times
by 2006, and to 16 times at the end of
2010. Economic recovery after 2002
was thus accompanied by significant
improvement in income distribution:
in 2002, the richest 10% absorbed
40% of all income, compared to 1.1%
for the poorest 10%; by 2010, the
former received 29% of income, and
the latter, 1.8%.
Argentina has an inequality-adjusted
human development index of
0.641, compared to 0.519 and 0.652
for neighboring Brazil and Chile,
respectively. The official, household
survey income poverty rate was
8.3% in 2011. The National Research
Council, however, estimated income
poverty in 2010 at 22.6%, and
private consulting firms estimated
that in 2011 around 21% fell below
the income poverty line. The World
Bank estimated that, in 2009, 2.4%
subsisted on less than US$2 per
person per day.
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DOING BUSINESS IN
Corporate Structures to Doing Business
Foreign companies can do business in Argentina on a
permanent basis. There are different options that will
depend on what your specific business may require.
The frequent corporate structures used in Argentina to do
business are the setup of a branch of a foreign company,
the corporation and the limited liability company.
There are other types of entities that may be constituted.
However, we will not refer to them in this article due to
the little use given in the real business world in Argentina.
All businesses are required to keep accounting books
separate from their parent business in accordance with
the Argentine regulations.
Any foreign company incorporated in accordance with
the laws of the country of origin can do business in
Argentina by utilizing the main investment vehicles such
as (i) a Branch of a foreign corporation, (ii) the Corporation
known as Sociedad Anónima (SA) and (iii) the limited
liability company known as Sociedad de Responsabilidad
All three need to follow the regulations established by
the Superintendence of Corporations known as the IGJ
located in the City of Buenos Aires.
The IGJ is the regulatory agency to
legally register a business.
have a Shares Registry Book or a
commissioned third party may carry
out such registry.
(i) Branch of a Foreign Corporation
Shares must be equal par value and
have equal rights within the same
class but it is possible to have different
classes of shares. Transfer of shares
is unrestricted unless they effectively
prevent the transfer of shares.
A foreign entity branch does not
necessarily need to allocate capital
in Argentina. There is no minimum
Company will limit its scope of
action and may assign capital.
Transactions can be carried out by a
local representative appointed by the
Parent Company. The Parent Company
will be liable for transactions carried
out by the Branch. The Branch must
keep accounting books separate
from the Parent Company and file its
own financial statements annually.
With regards to tax, the Branch is
subject to 35% of income tax. The
branch needs to fulfill several formal
requirements from the IGJ.
(ii) Corporation – S.A. or Sociedad
This is the most frequent investment
legal structure used in Argentina to
do business. It has a legal existence
separate and from its owners.
Shareholders: a minimum of two
shareholders resident or non-resident
is required. They can be either foreign
companies or individuals.
Minimum capital: the Argentine
law – Decree 1331/2012 - requires
a minimum of AR$ 100.000 which
is approximately USD20.000 to
establish a Corporation. The share
capital must be fully subscribed upon
incorporation. Only 25% needs to be
paid on such shares and the balance
within the subsequent 2 years. Shares
must be nominative, non-endorsable
and may or may not be represented
by certificates. The corporation will
equipment or any other nonmonetary assets must be made in full
at the time of incorporation.
The corporate capital must have
connection with the corporate object.
If the IGJ finds it appropriate it may
demand a higher amount of capital if
the business plans to carry out several
activities that exceed the scope of the
Management: the SA Corporation
is managed by a Board of Directors
which includes a President that will
sign and seal in the Corporation’s
name and Vice-Presidents that may
be appointed optionally. Its members
do not necessarily have to include
shareholders or local residents
but the majority need to reside in
Argentina. The Board of Directors is
appointed by the shareholders.
Shareholder meetings: must be held
annually to consider the financial
statements, determine allocation of
profits and appoint new authorities
or discuss their fees. Shareholders
resolutions must be recorded in
the appropriate minutes books.
The majority of its members must
be Argentine residents. Meetings
could be ordinary or extraordinary.
Anything that does not involve regular
matters of the business - discussed
in ordinary meetings - is considered
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Audits: internal or external audits
may take place in a SA Corporation
Internal auditors are appointed by
shareholders meetings. External
audits are undertaken by the
authority of the jurisdiction where the
Corporation is located. A surveillance
committee may be established to
audit the Corporation’s management.
There are regulatory organizations
that review certain activities. For
instance, financial institutions are
controlled by the Central Bank of
Argentina known as BCRA; insurance
companies are controlled by the
Insurance Superintendence known as
SSN and listed Corporations that are
controlled by the National Securities
Commission known as CNV.
Shareholders liability: shareholders
that have subscribed their shares
are not liable beyond their capital
contribution to the Corporation.
Shareholders with partly paid up
shares are required to pay any
outstanding balance within 2 years
since the date of incorporation.
Shareholders with interest in conflict
with those of the business must
abstain from voting on matters related
to such conflict. Otherwise, such
shareholder will be held responsible
for damages resulting from a final
resolution of the matter in conflict
provided the vote contributed to
form the majority needed to adopt
Board of Directors liability: a
standard of loyalty and diligence must
be carried out. Non-compliance may
result in unlimited joint and several
liabilities for damages arising from
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(iii) The Limited Liability
Company – SRL or Sociedad de
This is the second most frequent
legal structure used in Argentina to
do business after the Corporation.
Partners: a minimum of 2 and a
maximum of 50 that may be either
individuals or corporate entities.
There are no nationality or residency
restrictions. Liability is limited to
the full payment of the subscribed
Capital: it is represented by
There is no
minimum amount although the quota
capital must be fully subscribed and
25% needs to be paid upon by the
partners upon the creation of the SRL.
The balance needs to be paid no later
than 2 years since the incorporation
date. Quotas issued for contributions
in non-monetary assets must be fully
Management: carried out by one or
two managers that have no nationality
restriction. Managers must reside in
Argentina. Managers are appointed
by partners and the position could be
managed by a partner, an employee
or a third party.
are taken as established by-laws.
Amendments require the other
partner to reaffirm the vote in
cases where there is a sole partner
representing the majority vote.
Audits: appointing a syndic is not
mandatory until the stock capital
reaches AR$ 10M or more. The rules
of an SA Corporation generally apply
once the syndic begins its role.
In order to start doing business in
Argentina as a new corporation or
as a limited liability company certain
requirements need to be fulfilled in
order to register within the Registry
of Companies. The public office that
regulates such is called Inspección
General de Justicia - IGJ - and it is
located in the City of Buenos Aires.
1. Reservation of name – complete
Form B and pay the corresponding
fee within the IGJ office. This will
grant the reservation of the name for
2. Submission of the organization,
as per Form H of the IGJ. Form H
includes accompanying the following
Certificate of incorporation
– good standing – or equivalent
document that can prove that
created following the laws of the
country of origin. It must include
professional´s opinion on quorum
head office and good standing.
Prequalification report from a
certified accountant is required if
the capital contributions are made
in any other form than cash.
b) A non-certified and a
notarized copy of the articles
of incorporation, by-laws and
the company’s managing and
surveillance bodies. All signatures
must be certified by an Escribano
or ratified before the IGJ.
c) Fulfill requirements mentioned
in Resolution 07/2005 of the IGJ.
Such requirements include a
statement informing if the foreign
company is subject to legal
restrictions to carry out activities
related to its corporate purpose
in the location of incorporation.
Also, show if the foreign company
has any other branches outside
Argentina; owns shares in other
companies outside Argentina if
the investment is a non-current
asset; and owns fixed assets in its
country or anywhere else other
d) Formal resolution appointing a
registered agent in Argentina with
the required power of attorney.
A local domicile needs to be
provided for legal purposes. The
Head Office domicile needs to be
3. Payment of incorporation and
proof of payment before the Banco
Nación – BNA.
4. Original and certified copy of the
publication of a notice - in the official
gazette for limited liability companies
and incorporation – and submission
of such notice.
The notice must include name, age,
marital status, nationality, occupation,
address, date of the articles of
purpose, term, capital, managing and
surveillance members and terms if
applicable, legal representatives and
date of closing the fiscal year.
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5. Initial deposit of 25% of the capital
made within the BNA. Proof of the
contributions. For cash contributions
- deposit slip. For non-cash
contributions - any other relevant
For branch formation the procedure
is similar to the one that was just
mentioned. The foreign company
needs to register within the IGJ
and accompany the following
1. Proof that the foreign company
was incorporated in accordance with
the laws of its home country.
original articles of incorporation,
3. Submit the resolution where the
creation of the foreign branch in
Argentina was determined. Include
information related to the fiscal year
closing, legal representative and
place of business.
4. Inform if there is any legal
prohibition in the company’s home
country to carry out its activities.
5. Provide financial statements
or supporting documentation to
prove the company meets one of
the following requirements outside
Argentina: (i) existence of other
branches elsewhere than Argentina;
(ii) owns non-current assets in other
companies; (iii) owns fixed assets in
its home country.
General Business and
Foreign companies may invest
in Argentina equally as local
companies. Foreign companies and
local companies have the same rights
and obligations at the time of doing
business in Argentina.
There are several tax incentives
available in Argentina for certain
activities such as forestry, mining,
software production, biotechnology,
and biofuel production.
province of Tierra del Fuego offers
tax incentives for certain technology
activities. The city of Buenos Aires
offers incentives to certain industries
The Government controls prices
in some areas like local telephone
services, electricity, water, gas
highways and rivers.
Argentina is currently experiencing
a decrease of capital inflows. The
Argentine government has been
changing the rules without previous
notice for the last two years making it
difficult to investors to trust Argentina.
This has made neighbor countries like
Brazil and Chile receive much more
investment than Argentina within
the last year according to ECLAC the Economic Commission for Latin
America and the Caribbean. For
instance, Foreign Direct Investment
– FDI – in Brazil was of US$65 billion
in 2012 whereas in Chile it came
to US$30 billion and Argentina
amounted US$12 billion only.
Lack of credible official statistics
with regards to inflation is a point of
concern. Argentina denies inflation
and is not willing to accept INDEC is
not providing transparent statistics
if we compare them with the private
surveys results that seem to have a
closer connection to reality.
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to doing business in
Visa Requirements by Argentina’s DNM.
In Argentina, most foreign citizens are not required to
obtain a Visa in order to enter the country for up to three
months in case they visit Argentina for tourism.
Foreign citizens willing to reside and do business in
Argentina need to process a residence permit within
the National Immigration Board (Dirección Nacional de
Migraciones) known as DNM.
categories – permanent, temporary,
transitory and provisional residences.
All four types of residences can be
filed in Argentina within the DNM.
The residence permit can be filed
by the foreigner directly or a close
relative in Argentina.
Foreigners coming from Mercosur
countries like Brazil, Paraguay,
Uruguay and Venezuela can request
an initial 2-year residence.
benefit was extended to other
countries known as Mercosur
associate countries such as Bolivia,
Colombia, Chile, Ecuador and Perú.
required to Doing
Business in Argentina
Foreign residents from Mercosur
or associate Mercosur countries
can obtain a permanent residence
provided they can prove an
uninterrupted temporary residence
of two or more years. Non-mercosur
citizens need to prove 3 uninterrupted
years of residence in Argentina.
Permanent residence can be granted
when related to an Argentine citizen
such as spouses, children under 19
years-old or parents. Also, permanent
residence is granted to people that
have worked in diplomatic or consular
tasks or worked in international
Permanent residence can be obtained
after having extended the temporary
residence for a while.
Foreigners coming from any other
country that does not belong to
Mercosur or Mercosur-associate
countries are considered a nonMercosur
requirements may apply.
Mercosur and non-Mercosur citizens
living in Argentina can request a
national identity document - known
as DNI - provided they fulfill certain
requirements. An entry permit and
a Visa are required among other
Please check with us before starting
your residence process.
A permanent residence allows a
foreigner to have the same rights
as a national citizen and obtain the
necessary legal protection from the
national laws either working as an
employer or as an employee.
The formal requirements to process
permanent residence filings include
criminal records, birth and marriage
certificates issued in Argentina and
the country of origin.
A temporary residency can be
provided to any foreigner willing
to reside in Argentina for a specific
period of time.
Guide to Doing
be investors, migratory workers,
pensioners, scientists, a company’s
employee, athlete, artist, members
of an official religious order, a
patient receiving medical treatment,
students, asylum seeker or refugee
or a foreigner invoking humanitarian
The most usual scenarios of
temporary residence for people
willing to do business in Argentina
are: (i) foreign employee that enters
into an agreement with an Argentine
company; (ii) a foreign company’s
employee that is being transferred to
an Argentine company.
Firstly, the DNM will issue an entrance
permit once the employer or local
company initiates a filing.
Secondly, the applicant will present
such entrance permit and personal
documentation to the Argentine
consulate in his country of residence.
Then, the consulate will grant the
temporary residence permit.
temporary residence can be granted
for a maximum period of one year
and may be renewed for an equal
Non-Argentine citizens can obtain
a temporary residence provided
they fulfill the necessary paperwork
such as criminal records, birth and
When entering Argentina for the first
time the foreigner needs to submit
to the immigration officer with a
valid passport, a valid entry permit
as a temporary resident and a valid
consular visa as a temporary resident.
Transitory residence is the one
granted to foreign citizens willing to
remain in the country for a limited
period of time. It may apply to tourists,
transit passengers, border passes,
international transport crew, seasonal
migrant workers, academics and
patients seeking special treatment
among other special cases that may
Transitory residents cannot do
business in Argentina in any way
except seasonal migrant workers or
any other exceptions the DNM may
A two month transitory residence
may be given to foreigners doing
business or engaged in economic
activities either under their sole risk
and responsibility or as a stakeholder
or representative for a company.
Also, a transitory residence can be
given to people that come into the
country taking part in fair exhibitions.
The documentation to be requested
by the migration officer includes a
valid passport and a valid argentine
visa. Also, the foreigner will be
requested to show supporting
documentation of the activities he
will be undertaking in Argentina.
There is a fourth type of residency
called provisional residency. This
type of residency is the one that the
immigration officer provides to the
foreigner until there is a resolution
on his definite migration status
residency. It may last as much as 180
days and could be renewed until the
final resolution is available.
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Argentina has created a series of regulations in order to
attract foreign investments to the country. The purpose
of all regulations is to protect local interests of foreign
investors in Argentina.
Foreign investments in Argentina are regulated by Act
21.382 enacted in 1976 and amended several times
in 1980, 1989, 1990 and 1993. It was not until this last
amendment with Decree 1853/93 that Argentina got its
definite text for Act 21.382.
The first principle of Act 21.382 is that foreign investors
may invest in any economic activity in Argentina without
any prior approval. This principle provides foreign
investment the same equality status as local Argentine
investments. Economic activities include commercial,
financial, industrial, agricultural, production and exchange
of goods, among others. The only exceptions to economic
activities are broadcasting and real estate in border areas.
The second principle is related to
investment repatriation and the right
to remit profits abroad at any time
as per section 5. This principle is
somehow limited by the regulations
of the Central Bank of Argentina
known as BCRA. The purchase of
foreign currency by non-Argentine
residents is limited to a certain
amount. (More information about
currency limitations found later on
this same chapter.)
The third principle is related to
eliminating the former need of
technology. Such agreements now
need to be filed before the INPI, that
is to say, the National Institute of
Intellectual Property. This principle
aims to eliminate the avoidance of
double taxation ruled by local laws
and treaties ratified by Argentina.
The Foreign Investment Act set forth
certain guarantees that have been
reinforced by Bilateral Investment
Treaties entered into by Argentina in
the nineties. Such treaties are meant
to reinforce foreign investment
guarantees by the host State and
provide rules in case of dispute
Some basic principles included in
the many Foreign Investment Acts
ensure legal security, equitable
treatment and full protection to
foreign investments. It also excludes
arbitrary or discriminatory measures
that the host State may take against
the foreign investment. Furthermore,
adequate compensation should be
granted in case of expropriation or
nationalization among many other
The Bilateral Investment Treaties
established that in case of dispute local
laws must guarantee the protection
of foreign investment. As a result,
the Vienna Convention on the Act
of Treaties states that a party cannot
invoke its internal law provisions to
justify its failure to enforce a treaty.
Argentina has granted constitutional
hierarchy to international treaties in
Section 75 Paragraph 22.
In case of disputes, many foreign
investors have chosen to bring
their investment disputes before
arbitration tribunals under UNCITRAL
Arbitration Rules or the International
Center for Settlement of Investment
Disputes known as ICSID.
The ICSID purpose is to facilitate
settlements of disputes between
foreign investors and host States
following the rules set forth in the
Convention on the Settlement of
Investment Disputes between States
and Nationals of Other States. The
Convention was firstly ratified and
enforced by Argentina in November
The currency in Argentina is
the Argentine Peso - $ - and it is
represented with the international
exchange acronym ARS.
After the end of convertibility on
January 6th 2002 the Argentine Peso
no longer pegged the US dollar at a
AR$1 = US$1.
Convertibility made possible the
Argentine Peso equal a United States
Dollar in AR$1 = US$1 rate until the
enactment of Law 25.561, Decree
214/02. Ever since then the Peso was
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different exchange rates – the official
exchange rate and the unofficial
rate. Since October 2011 General
Resolution 3210 of the AFIP - Federal
Administration of Public Revenues
– was the first resolution of many
to enforce the limitation of currency
purchases in order to avoid capital
flights. US dollar can only be acquired
in the official exchange market for
restricted reasons – tourism, real
estate purchases, and a few other
reasons that could only be justified
on an income basis. Anyone who
would not qualify to legally exchange
money at official rates is forced to
exchange US dollars at the unofficial
The official exchange rate for a US
dollar has reached AR$5.29 whereas
the unofficial exchange rate is of
AR$8.55 according to exchange rate
values measured in June 2013.
and Central Bank
The foreign exchange system in
Argentina is used as a way to control
the value of the Argentine Peso and
the US Dollar, which is the main
foreign currency, used for commercial
transactions influencing the flow of
Transfer of foreign funds into and from
Argentina is subject to recordings
of the Central Bank of the Argentine
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The currency exchange transactions
of individuals and artificial persons
are audited by the AFIP – Federal
Administration of Public Revenues,
that is, the entity in charge of
approving or denying currency
exchange purchases on a very strict
The following chronology outlines
the main resolutions that modified the
US Dollar purchase in Argentina in
order to prevent speculative currency
August 2011: AFIP begins to control
exchange purchase of US dollars.
Resolution 3210 of AFIP establishes
artificial entities and physical persons
a verification process to purchase
exchange depending on their
registration before AFIP through
their CUIT – or Tax Id. Exchange
transactions no longer available
through online banking or ATM.
November 2011: since AFIP’s criteria
were not consistent Resolution
3212 was released informing how
to get over inconsistencies related
to insufficient economical capacity.
Supporting documentation to justify
income could be submitted to AFIP
May 2012: AFIP Resolution 3333
was released informing additional
criteria to approve or deny exchange
purchases for tourism. Real estate
transactions were also affected by
the exchange restrictions.
June 2012: several resolutions were
released informing availability of
exchange purchases for tourism,
real estate, medicine, books, studies
scholarships. The contributor had
to oblige himself to return the US
dollars purchased in case his trip was
August 2012: Resolution 3356 stated
that in cases of tourism exchange
could only be obtained in the legal
currency in the country of destiny.
Resolution 3378 restricted credit card
purchases made outside Argentina
with an additional 15% charge.
Then, AFIP Resolution 3379 extended
such 15% charge to abroad online
transactions made with debit card.
March 2013: the BCRA limited the
use of credit card in casinos outside
Argentina to avoid chips purchase that
would enable US dollar exchange.
into and from
Argentina has a foreign exchange
system regulated by the BCRA the Central Bank of the Argentine
Republic. Currency transfer of funds
made in the Argentine exchange
system require a mandatory deposit
for a minimum term of 365 days
without accruing interest known as
The insertion aims to discourage
temporary funds transfer into
Argentina that may affect the Capital
Market exchange rates. It is meant
to prevent financial speculation by
foreign investors in the Argentine local
market for productive investments.
The regulations of Decree 616/05
established a system for:
(i) Registration of Foreign Exchange
Argentina by the BCRA;
(ii) Restrictions to transfer funds from
Argentina for a minimum term of 365
(iii) Fulfill the funds required in US
dollars for 30% of the amount to be
transferred to Argentina – mandatory
deposit without accruing any interest
for a minimum of a 365 days term.
There are some activities that are
excluded to comply with the encaje
mandatory deposit, such as:
• Foreign trade debts.
• Debt issuance and payables to
multilateral credit agencies.
• Loan repayment and creation of
• Investment in non-financial assets.
• Direct foreign investment in
Argentine companies, which include
at least a 10% in contributions for
capital stock increases, registered
within the IGJ.
• Repatriation of investments made
by residents with a maximum amount
of US$ 2.000.000 monthly.
• Non-residents funds transferred
to Argentina to purchase real estate
property under construction.
In order for foreign investors to qualify
for the insertion mandatory exemption
the following documentation needs
to be filed before the bank:
a) For capital contributions to create
new companies or capital stock
increases for existing companies – the
investor needs to provide supporting
documentation demonstrating he has
started the registration process before
the IGJ and the IGJ approval of the
capital contribution within the term of
250 days from the initiation process.
If the contribution is not capitalized
the investor has 10 business days to
make the mandatory deposit.
b) Stake-holding sales to foreign
investors provided the purchases
made comply with direct investment
criteria. The foreign investor needs to
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prove he has filed before the IGJ the
procedures to register the certificate
c) Equity reimbursements related to
capital contributions or funds transfer
to an Argentine subsidiary that has
no equity funds allocated to cover
negative equity. The foreign investor
will require audited balance sheets,
minute’s book, and a statementindicating destination of the funds.
The foreign investor has 90 days since
the transfer of funds to Argentina to
submit the required documentation.
d) External financial liabilities with
at least two years and non-financial
assets such as investment and
acquisition of exploitation rights
included in the balance sheet under
intangible assets among other
Unless proof is presented in a timely
manner, the foreign investor will have
to make the insertion mandatory
“A” 4672 provides the formal
requirements needed to apply for an
Public Support to
Argentina has many incentive
programs meant to foster internal
and foreign investment within the
Such programs are motivated by the
local authorities and are available to
almost every economic activity.
a) Investment incentives for capital
goods and infrastructure works as
per Law 26360. Such incentive is
meant to provide an accelerated
depreciation for income tax or early
refund of VAT.
b) Reduction of import duties
on capital goods as per Decree
1026/2012. Importers of new capital
goods may apply for this incentive
before the Customs Office.
incentive is meant to apply to extraMercosur capital goods with import
duties that go from 2% to 14% as
applicable according to the tariff
classification of Mercosur NCM.
c) National production of goods, IT,
Telecommunications and Agricultural
machinery enforced by the Ministry of
Industry. This incentive is governed
by Decrees 379/2001, 927/2010 and
362/2011 and is designed to provide
local manufacturers with a tax refund
of 14% of the values of the goods
produced. Such tax refund could
be applied against VAT, Income Tax,
Excise Taxes and Minimum Presumed
d) Reduction of VAT - Value Added
Tax - enforced by AFIP as per Decrees
733/2001 and 959/2001. Since the
standard VAT is of 21% a reduced
VAT of 10.5% is applied towards
the purchase of capital goods, IT &
Telecommunications products and
parts. Personal property imports VAT
is also reduced.
e) Import of capital goods for large
investment projects following the
regulations established by Resolution
256/2000 as amended and enforced
by the Secretariat of industry or
Ministry of Industry. This incentive
is meant to reduce to zero tariffs for
imported capital goods that make up
a complete and independent capital
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line. Replacement parts could be
imported up to a value of 5% FOB of
the production line.
f) Temporary import of capital goods
as per Law 22415, Decree 1001/1982,
Customs Office Resolution 34/1998,
Decree No. 142/2010. Such capital
goods may be temporarily imported
for a specific purpose and for a fixed
term. The capital goods are subject
to re-export for consumption before
the expiry of the term. In this way,
the capital goods enter the country
without being subject of import
duties for a maximum term of 3 years
that may be exceptionally extended.
The Argentine government offers
other sector-specific incentives.
• Automotive and auto-part industries
• Software industry
• Motorcycle and motorcycle
•Exploration and exploitation
• Public infrastructure works
• Use of renewable sources of
• Audiovisual industry
•Argentina Technology Fund FONTAR
Software Industry Fiduciary Fund FONSOFT
• Fund for Scientific and
Technological Research - FONCYT
• Argentine Sector Fund –
• National Science and Technology
Council – COFECYT
• Promotion and Encouragement of
With regards to Investment Financing
investors, credit may be requested to
each of the following banking entities.
BNA – National Bank of Argentina
BICE - Investment and Foreign Trade
CFI - Federal Investment Council
FonaPyme - National Development
Bicentennial National Program for
industrial park development
In terms of Export Promotion there is
a series of incentives audited by the
Customs Office available to exporters
of tangible assets.
• Draw Back
• Export refunds
• Inward Processing Relief
• RAF - Turnkey exports In-company
• In-house customs
• Under secretariat for Investment
Development and Trade Promotion
• Fundación Exportar
If you would like to read more about
each specific incentive program
please refer to the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs and Worship where you will
find detailed information on each
Argentina has Free Trade Zones
where goods are not subject to the
usual customs controls and duties
and taxes are not levied on imported
and exported goods. The aim of Free
Trade Zones is to promote trade by
reducing costs and tax procedures
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along with tax incentives.
Argentina has a total of eleven
Free Trade Zones in the following
• Buenos Aires: La Plata and
• Córdoba: City of Córdoba
• Chubut: Comodoro Rivadavia
• La Pampa: General Pico
• Mendoza: Luján de Cuyo
• Misiones: Puerto Iguazú
• Salta: General Guemes
• San Luis: Justo Daract
• Tucumán: Cruz Alta
• Entre Ríos:
Concepción del Uruguay
Since investment incentives are
modified constantly do let us know
should you have any inquiry regarding
any specific activity not mentioned in
Guide to Doing
How to Export from and Import to Argentina
The first step to be fulfilled in order to export or import
a product to Argentina is to register within the National
Registry of Importers and Exporters.
This is a mandatory one-time process that would allow
you personally or your business to export or import in
any customs office of the country.
Exports are defined by the Customs Code as the
withdrawal of goods from a national customs territory.
The withdrawn goods are assigned with an ultimate enduse. This end-use may be definitive or non-definitive
which may include temporary exports for goods in transit.
Exporters willing to export specific product from
Argentina need to be familiar with customs procedures,
refunds each product may have as established by the
Government and applicable export duties, among many
other details to take into consideration.
AFIP – the tax authority - sets forth regulations, tariff
schemes and audits the Customs Office in order to
prevent tax evasion.
There are also other agencies that may participate in
the process of controlling imports or exports such as
the Secretariat of Agriculture, Cattle, Fishing and Food;
the Industry under Secretariat; the Ministry of Public
Health and Social Welfare; the National Foreign Trade
In the past, the Argentine customs
procedures used to be lengthy and
required the physical submission
of paperwork. Today, the customs
procedure was improved to make the
necessary submissions through an
online system called Maria System
allowing payment of duties too.
When exporting the first characteristic
to take into consideration is
identifying the MERCOSUR tariff
classification or position in the
Common Nomenclature - NCM - of
the product to be exported. This
information will provide you with
applicable export refunds; export
duties, government incentives and
tariff or non-tariff barriers that may
exist in other destination countries.
It is also important to determine the
ultimate end-use of the product to be
exported. The exporter needs to fill
out a shipment permit. The shipment
permit will be accompanied by an
affidavit from the manufacturer
indicating details of the operation
and of the goods value for customs
purposes. The purpose is to define
the taxable base used to levy export
duties, establish an exchange rate
and apply export refunds if there
Once the shipment permit and
affidavit are approved the system
will automatically determine the
selection channel, that is, the control
applicable to the goods. There are
three different channels:
control of the goods is made by the
- Orange Channel – only the
documentation submitted needs to
be reviewed by Customs Office
- Red Channel – both documentation
and the goods are controlled by
The channels are assigned randomly
to some products that do not
necessarily require controls and
they may be assigned a specific
red channel for products that do
require a specific control such as
The legal conditions to be able to
export goods from Argentina are met
with the presentation of the end-use
application form and documentation
required for the operation. However,
the goods will only be released upon
fulfilling Customs requirements. The
release may depend on the payment
The following documents may be
required when exporting goods from
• Commercial Invoice
• Packing List
•Certificate of Origin - COV
• Bill of Lading - B/L
• Pre-shipment inspection certificate
Usually a knowledgeable dispatcher
who will set forth the necessary
submissions through Maria System
carries out this procedure.
documentation control nor physical
Guide to Doing
Export refund system,
export duties and VAT
The export refund system includes
total or partial refund on domestic
taxes that are paid during different
stages of the manufacturing process
of brand new products. The aim is
to deduct domestic taxes that have
already been paid from the export
value. In other words, the refund is
made on the value added in Argentina.
Export duties may vary from 5% to
40% on the product FOB value or
even more. Depending on the good
to be exported the duties may be
for a fixed amount or for a specific
percentage called ad valorem of the
With regards to VAT exemptions it
could be reimbursed in any of the
• Set off – this exemption takes place
when there are own debits from
previous operations in the domestic
• Credits – the exporter may use such
credit for other tax liabilities he may
have with AFIP
• Return – tax credit holder either
cash or bonds
• Transfer – the transfer of VAT credit
to another taxpayer.
Any of the VAT exemptions credits
may be used against tax liabilities of
Imports Procedure to
Imports are defined by the Customs
Code as the entry of goods into the
general national customs territory
from a destination outside such
territory. Hiring services abroad is
treated as goods if used or exploited
within the country. Copyright and
intellectual property follows the same
There are different types of imports
According to ultimate use, goods can
be definitive and non-definitive. We
have referred to definitive imports as
consumption goods and those that
may remain in the customs territory
indefinitely, which may be valued in
order to determine the corresponding
tax and duties to be levied.
With regards to non-definitive
imports, these include temporary
imports in transit and goods stored
in a warehouse. Temporary imports
are those where the merchandise
imported may remain for a specific
purpose and within a fixed term
in the customs territory, subject
to the obligation of re-export for
consumption before the expiry of the
term, which begins at the moment of
Also, we have imports of goods
meant to be stored in public-bonded
warehouses for a fixed period of time
until they are authorized to leave to
In order to be able to import goods
to Argentina an import license is
required called Non-automatic import
license. The Secretariat of Foreign
Trade of the Ministry of Economy and
Public Finances prior to the shipment
needs to issue an import certification.
This is an official approval certificate
authorizing the operation to take
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Also, a Sworn Affidavit Prior to Import
is requested. Usually, any Argentine
company willing to import goods to
Argentina will require such approval
before the purchase of the goods is
Not to forget that services provided
abroad will also require a Sworn
Services included are:
information and IT services, patents
and trademarks, royalties, copyrights,
payments under football player
transfers, business, professional and
technical services, personal, cultural
and recreational services, payment of
commercial guarantees for exports
of goods and services, acquisition
of rights to foreign movies, video
and audio, technology transfer
under Law 22426 (except patents
and trademarks), other profits paid
abroad, purchase of non-produced,
Furthermore, Argentine residents
hiring foreign services for USD10,000
monthly or USD100,000 per year also
need to file a Sworn Affidavit Prior to
With regards to tariff rates applied to
imports they vary from 5% to 35%
of the total value including the cost,
insurance and freight.
Other import taxes include 21% of
VAT. 10% of VAT needs to be paid
in advance when the initial import
submission is made except for capital
goods that are going to be imported
by end users.
As mentioned before, AFIP tries
to prevent tax evasion in the
Decree 618/1997 AFIP can enter into
collecting agreements with provincial
tax authorities and act as a collector
agent of local taxes levied on goods
1408/2003 establishes that importers
registered in jurisdictions that have
been collecting agreements with
the AFIP need to pay 1% of the VAT
There may be other specific taxes for
certain products such as alcohol and
cigarettes, among many other. In
any case, taxes need to be paid and
registered prior the Customs Office
grants clearance on the goods.
Foreign trade between Argentina
and other nations has expanded in
the last few years. Many businesses
have developed their own strategies
in order to motivate foreign trade
into their local markets. In some
cases, foreign trade has been much
more attractive than local prices in
As a result, antidumping laws have
been created to work a way out of
unfair pricing of imported goods.
If an imported product is found to
negatively impact the local industry
that produces such product in
Argentina import duties are meant to
compensate the level of dumping.
Argentina signed the General
Agreement on Tariffs and Trade in
1992. The Agreement was put into
effect with Decree 2121/04 and added
into the Argentine legal system with
Also, Decree 1219/06 determined that
authorities could go to a third country
market economy to verify prices.
This regulation aims to compare
prices between imports to Argentina
and imports to any other nation. The
same concept applies to exports.
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The authorities in charge of carrying
out investigations about dumping
- The National Foreign Trade
Commission or NFTC – its purpose is
to carry out investigations related to
injurious imports and damages that
may impact the Argentine economy.
- The Fair Trade Department or FTD –
it also investigates dumping practices
or subsides that may exist.
A local interested party - usually a
local producer or a trade association
representing at least 25% of the local
production - will file a complaint
within the authorities. Supporting
documentation that evidences the
dumping claim needs to be submitted.
Also, the FTD will determine the
admissibility of the case and then the
NFTC will carry out the investigation
to determine the existence of the
alleged damage. Both authorities
need to render an opinion about the
investigation in order to continue.
Provisional measures will only be
available if there is a preliminary
determination indicating dumping
practices have been taking place or
there is a connection between the
prices in effect and the damages
caused to the local market.
The NFTC will submit a report to
the FTD analyzing the necessary
elements that support the case.
The FTD will, in turn, render its own
conclusions, which need to be based
on the arguments stated by the NFTC.
Both conclusions are then submitted
to the Ministry of Economy and
Public Finance who will inform its
final decision in the Official Gazette.
Final resolutions may be appealed in
Guide to Doing
Tax system in Argentina
Argentina has three different levels of authorities that set
forth their own rules and regulations, and levy taxes:
(i) The Federal Government. Its tax authority is AFIP
(ii) The Provinces – 23 provinces plus the City
of Buenos Aires.
(iii) The Municipalities.
The main taxes determined by each authority are the
Real estate Tax
Corporate and/or Personal Income Tax
Minimum presumed income tax
Value Added Tax
Tax on bank accounts debits and credits
Federal Government taxes
Health and safety Tax
Sweeping and cleaning taxes
We will now outline the main aspects of
the taxes afore mentioned. However,
it is important to notice that new
rules and regulations are approved
constantly by the authorities.
Authorities have 5 years as of
January 1st of the year following the
income tax due date to claim any tax
We suggest an in-depth analysis
of your business with our Certified
Public Accountant prior carrying out
business in Argentina.
Income Tax - MPIT.
Income tax includes all income
from an Argentine and/or any
foreign source of income obtained
worldwide by an Argentine resident.
Non-residents are only taxed on their
Argentine source of income.
With regards to the income tax rate
applied to a business including local
companies and branches that belong
to non-residents it is 35% of the net
taxable income. Such 35% must be
paid by the end of the fiscal year.
Tax returns need to be filed and tax
must be paid within 5 months after
the fiscal year closing date. However,
prior to the fiscal year closing, ten
installments need to be monthly paid
in advance. New businesses are
not required to pay such advance
installments for the first fiscal year.
Furthermore, net-operating losses
of a net fiscal year can be carried
forward up to 5 years.
An Argentine business must pay the
minimum presumed income tax. This
annual tax of 1% is calculated on the
value of all corporate assets located
in the country and abroad.
A business must pay either the
income tax or the minimum presumed
income tax, whichever is larger.
Taxpayers with assets in the country
under AR$200,000 are exempt from
the minimum presumed income tax.
Shares and other participations in the
capital local market are exempt from
this tax too.
Tax paid on assets located abroad
could be computed as tax credit.
If the MPIT is higher than the income
tax, it may be used as a credit for the
next ten-tax period of the Income Tax
liability of the future tax period.
Value Added Tax – VAT.
Most of the economic transactions
that take place in Argentina are
affected by the VAT tax. VAT is levied
on taxable supplies of goods and
services plus imports of goods and
services too. Exports of goods and
services are not affected by tax.
The usual rate on VAT is 21%. However,
there may be some exceptions to this
rule. Some transactions like interests
to be paid to a local financial entity
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could have a 10.5% reduction on VAT
and some other public services like
energy and water supply may have a
27% VAT tax rate applied.
The VAT tax rate is applied to each
stage of production or distribution of
goods and services depending on the
value of what was added on each of
Goods and services that are not
affected by VAT include: newspapers,
magazines and books; natural water,
bread and milk; medicines for human
use; education services that follow
the official curricula; real property for
dwelling; life insurance; healthcare
services; international passenger
transport; financial investments.
The tax rate for excise will depend
on the value of each good or service
Tax on Bank Accounts: Debits and
This tax has a 0.6% rate on all bank
account debits and credits. Although
this tax is paid by the account holder,
it is the bank’s responsibility to
enforce such regulation.
Any transfer of money that is not
executed through a bank account
may be subject of a 1.2% tax rate.
The bank account tax can be
computed as income tax and MDIT.
purchases cannot be claimed when
a VAT-exempt activity is carried out.
However, VAT on purchases can be
credited on VAT on sales in order to
tax the value added to the taxpayer’s
Personal Assets Tax
Argentine individuals owning assets
over AR$305,000 need to pay
Personal Assets Tax which may vary
from 0.5% to 1.25% depending on
the amount of the assets owned.
Non-residents are applied the 1.25%
tax rate on Personal Assets.
Excise taxes are levied upon the
transfer and imports of certain goods
specifically detailed by law. Such
goods include tobacco, alcoholic
drinks, non-alcoholic drinks, extracts,
phone services, luxury objects and
Personal Assets Tax is imposed on
assets existing on December 31st
of each year owned by Argentine
residents located in Argentina and
abroad, and non-residents located in
Personal Assets value
AR$305.000 – AR$750.000
AR$750.000 – AR$2 million
AR$2 million - AR$5 million
Excise taxes are also levied on
electronic products such as GPS, IP
phones, air conditioning and heating
equipment, among others.
services are subject to excise taxes
Over AR$5 million
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It is important to consider that shares
and interest pay a Personal Assets
flat tax rate of 0.5%. This amount
is paid by the company that issued
Turnover Tax. For such calculation
the tax base is distributed among
the various jurisdictions and the
Multilateral Agreement is applied.
Turnover Tax is known as Impuesto
sobre los Ingresos Brutos, that is, tax
on gross income.
Turnover Tax levies tax on gross
income arising from the commercial
activity carried out by each business.
Its rate varies depending on the
activity itself and the jurisdiction
where the activity takes place. This is
the most important tax paid in Buenos
Aires and City of Buenos Aires.
For instance, non-residents that own
shares of a business in Argentina are
subject to pay Turnover Tax. The local
business will pay and has the right to
be reimbursed by the shareholders.
Applicable Turnover Tax rate in the
City of Buenos Aires may go from 1%
to 3% depending on the activity that
is being carried out. There are some
specific activities that have their own
Turnover Tax rate, such as real estate
agents that pay 6%, construction
pays 3% and financial activities 5.5%.
Some industrial activities may be
exempt of Turnover Tax.
Any entity doing business in more
than one province is subject to
Stamp Tax is levied on documents
incorporation of companies, corporate
capital increases, acknowledgement
of debts and transfer of real estate
Usually, the rate applied on Stamp Tax
is 1.5% of the value of the document
itself. There are some exceptions to
this rule such as real estate transfer
in the Province of Buenos Aires that
It is levied in the jurisdiction where
the transaction was instrumented.
However, it may be levied in the
jurisdiction where it causes its effects.
Real Estate Tax
This tax is levied on real estate in all
provinces. It is calculated based on
a fixed rate of the real estate value
made by the province. Municipalities
may collect Real Estate Tax.
Real estate tax does not consider the
ability of the real estate owner to pay
in its calculation rate.
Municipal taxes may include health,
safety, street lighting, sweeping and
cleaning taxes, advertising taxes,
granting permission for starting a new
economic activity, and taxes levied
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on the right of using public spaces,
among many others. Municipal taxes
are not relatively significant and
are based on net income from the
jurisdiction involved. Each municipal
jurisdiction has its own rules and
regulations to levy municipal taxes.
Denmark, Spain, Finland, France,
Germany, Great Britain & Northern
Ireland, Italy, Norway, Netherlands,
Russia, Sweden, Switzerland.
Argentina has subscribed several
agreements with many countries it
deals with. The aim of such treaties
is to avoid double taxation and fiscal
The enforcement of international
agreements would allow a nonresident of Argentina to reduce
Argentine withholding taxes such
as Income Tax. Also, shareholdings
from non-residents may be excluded
from Personal Assets Tax.
Agreements signed with Latin
American countries follow the
Andean Group model based on
territoriality whereas agreements
signed with European nations follow
the OECD and UN Model Convention
that increase the source-country
For instance, transfer-pricing rules
apply to transactions that involve an
Argentine and a foreign business.
Argentina adopts the OECD rules
based on the arm’s length principle.
Once per year, the Argentine business
needs to file a tax return and transfer
pricing report in order to account for
the price transactions that took place.
As of 2011, Argentina has signed
double taxation agreements with
the following countries: Australia,
Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile,
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Bankruptcy in Argentina
Insolvency and bankruptcy proceedings are ruled by Law
22.522 and contemplate three main insolvency proceedings:
(i) Out-of-court agreement
The general provisions apply to both individuals and entities.
There are a few exceptions of the Bankruptcy Law that do not
apply to financial institutions, pension funds and insurance
companies. Also, certain organizations such as banks are
excluded from the Bankruptcy Law.
To begin with, an out-of-court agreement allows a debtor
under economic and financial difficulties reach a repayment
plan agreement with his creditors and then submit it for
The debtor needs to fulfill certain requirements prior to
submitting the out-of-court agreement to the judge such
as authenticated documents by a CPA, statements of
assets and liabilities, a list of creditors, ongoing litigation
proceedings or proceedings with an unenforced judgment,
the commercial books of the company or corporation, the
amount of principal and the percentage it represents to all
Law 22.522 requires fulfilling the
necessary legal majorities, which
must be two thirds of the ordinary
creditors. This would allow the debtor
request approval of the repayment
plan to Court. Such approval has the
same effects as the effects obtained
a regular reorganization
Then, we have the reorganization
proceedings – or concurso preventivo
– initiated by either the insolvent
debtor or the creditors regardless of
their residence. Creditors that own
assets in Argentina and are domiciled
in Argentina or abroad may begin
reorganization proceedings. Abroad
creditors need to prove reciprocity
rules between Argentina and the
country where the credit is payable
in order to file a reorganization
proceeding in Argentina.
reorganization proceeding is initiated
by the debtor proof of his inability
to pay debts as they fall due and a
reorganization or repayment plan
needs to be submitted.
reorganization proceedings begins
the debtor or members of a company
with unlimited liability must comply
with the prohibition order of disposal
of property. Still, the debtor retains
his property administration under the
supervision of an appointed trustee.
Creditors need to prove their credit
before the appointed trustee who
will indicate the Court if their credit is
to be admitted in the reorganization
proceedings. The appointed trustee
will verify the books of the debtor
and confirm the existence of the
creditor’s claims. The Court has the
final decision in admission of credit.
The trustee needs to inform the
creditors about the initiation of the
creditors will have a deadline to
submit their filings. Creditors must
prove their credit and submit the
supporting documentation to the
trustee. Both, debtor and creditors
may challenge the filings of creditors
should they consider it necessary.
Just like the out-of-court agreement,
require a repayment plan from the
debtor that needs to be approved
by two thirds of each class of the
creditors. If the majorities are not
obtained to approve the repayment
plan and the debtor is a limited liability
company or corporation a new
special record opening is provided
for by the Law.
This special opening allows any
creditor or third party interested in
acquiring shares to file a repayment
plan too. There are no limitations of
the entities or individuals that could
register in the salvage proceedings.
Registered entities or individuals
may file a repayment proposal to the
same category of creditors that have
been submitted by the debtor. It is
possible to propose new categories
of creditors and their agreement is
required within twenty days of the
proposal in order to reorganize and
prevent bankruptcy. If there were
no interested parties or the special
opening majorities were not obtained
within five days the Court will declare
If the creditors plan is approved
then the debtor shares must be
transferred to the third party that
proposed the plan. The repayment
plan will have to be enforced by the
creditor. Usually, the creditor that is
transferred the shares is the first one
to obtain the legal majorities in the
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Finally either creditors or the insolvent
debtor could initiate bankruptcy filings
if the reorganization proceedings
Any creditors willing to
initiate the bankruptcy proceedings
must prove their debt was not paid
as it fell due. The debtor has 5 days
to prove that he is not insolvent.
The Bankruptcy Law indicates some
acts that presume there is enough
evidence to consider the insolvency
of the debtor. Unless the debtor
proves he is not insolvent bankruptcy
report occurs, the distribution to the
creditors takes place.
Finally, the debtor is discharged
and the bankruptcy proceedings
The creditor cannot
propose a repayment plan.
court carries out the bankruptcy
proceedings, although the courtreceiver and the creditors committee
play an important role too.
The debtor is forbidden to administer
most of his assets except those
specifically allowed by Law. The
trustee administers the assets of
the debtor in order to preserve the
property of the debtor. Payments
made to the debtor must be collected
in court. The debtor will have to close
down their premises and the trustee
will have to sell the assets of the
debtor to begin the distribution of the
proceeds obtained. Exceptionally,
the court may request the debtor
continue their activities in cases of
public utilities under the supervision
of the trustee.
Bankruptcy could be extended to third
parties that apparently administered
the debtor’s property as their own and
individuals or entities that controlled
the bankrupted company and abused
of their control.
Liquidation may occur with the
sale of the business, the sale of all
assets, or the sale of the assets in an
auction. Once the process comes
to an end the trustee submits his
report to the court. Such report must
include the proposal of distribution
of the proceeds. Any creditor may
submit their objections against the
distribution report of the trustee.
After the approval of the trustee’s
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Statistics taken from UIF Annual Report 2011, Ministry of
Justice and Human Rights.
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About Limeres, Barassi, Ves
Losada & Stanzione, Attorneys
Limeres, Barassi, Ves Losada & Stanzione, Attorneys,
specializes in offering a broad range of legal services in the
Argentine Republic. LBVL&S, Attorneys, represents high
net worth individuals as well as small, medium and large
Argentine companies around the world.
The firm has grown fast to become one of the most
prestigious and distinguished international boutique law
firms in Buenos Aires, engaged in the practice of law as a full
service law firm participating in some of the most important
domestic and international transactions involving Argentine
as well as foreign-international corporations.
Moreover, the firm was profiled as the number one option
for the foreign communities residing in Argentina and due
to this fact LBVL&S, Attorneys has been retained by clients
from diverse places around the world such as Russia, India,
China, Brazil, United Kingdom, Japan, Iceland, Scotland,
Wales, Switzerland, Ireland, Chile, Israel, Vietnam, Canada,
Mexico, Germany, France, Spain, Uruguay, Singapore,
Korea, Australia, Taiwan, New Zealand and Ukraine among
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Contact: Limeres, Barassi, Ves Losada &
Montevideo 513, Piso 1
Ciudad Autonoma de
+54 (11) 5239-0011
+1 (650) 690-7050
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