Business Taxes in Argentina

Information on the taxes due by businesses and legal entities in Argentina...

The Income Tax Law No. 20,628, as amended ("ITL"), establishes a federal tax on the worldwide income obtained by individuals, legal entities domiciled in Argentina and Argentine branches of foreign entities.

As regards income earned by Argentine residents from activities performed abroad, any payment of foreign taxes will be allowed as a credit against payment of the applicable Argentine tax. However, the credit may only be applied to the extent the foreign tax does not exceed the Argentine tax.

Non-resident individuals or legal entities without a permanent establishment in Argentina are taxed only on income from Argentine sources. Pursuant to the ITL, income arising from: assets located, placed or used in Argentine territory, the performance of any act or activity in Argentina that produces an economic benefit, and events occurring in Argentina will be considered Argentine-source income.

There are special rules regarding source of income in the case of certain specific activities such as international transport, telecommunications and in the case of foreign technical assistance.

Income tax is payable upon the net income obtained during a given fiscal year. As a general rule, income is allocated to the fiscal year in which it accrues. However, there are certain exceptions to the general rule, such as for example the interest paid on government issued securities and bonds, where the income is allocated to the fiscal year in which the interest becomes due.

Rates of Income Tax

The tax rate applicable in Argentina upon the net income of corporate entities domiciled in Argentina, such as SAs or SRLs, is thirty five percent (35%).

The net income of branches and other permanent establishments of foreign companies in Argentina are also subject to tax at the rate of thirty five percent (35%).

The distribution of dividends to shareholders in SAs, the distribution of income to partners in SRLs and remittances of profits abroad by branches or establishments are in general not subject to tax in Argentina. However, the distribution of dividends, income or remittances of profits may under certain circumstances be subject to tax.

Individuals are taxed upon a sliding scale ranging from 9% to 35% depending on the income subject to the tax.

Withholding Tax on Non-Residents

In principle, any income or gain, other than dividends, deemed by the ITL to be from an Argentine source, obtained by a non-resident individual or a foreign legal entity without a permanent establishment in Argentina, is subject to withholding tax.

There are different effective rates of withholding tax upon payments to non-residents. Should the local payer assume the obligation to pay the tax for the non-resident recipient, the net amount payable must be grossed-up in an amount equal to the tax assumed by the Argentine taxpayer.

Argentina, along with a number of other countries, is a party to tax treaties which impose ceilings on withholdings of certain taxable income, which may reduce the rates of the withholding tax.

Tax Exemptions for Foreign Entities

Non-resident corporations are entitled to all of the tax exemptions provided in the ITL, provided they file a certificate with the Argentine tax authorities evidencing that the exemption will not result in liability to taxation in a foreign jurisdiction. This certificate must be issued by the competent foreign tax authorities or by a certified public accountant.

One of the most important tax exemptions established by the ITL is that any interest accruing upon accounts and deposits made by Argentine and foreign entities in Argentine financial institutions is tax-exempt, provided the foreign beneficiary of the interest files the required certificate.

Decree No. 2,284/91, ratified by Law No. 24,307, exempts from tax, income or gains obtained by foreign individuals and entities from the sale, exchange, swap, or disposal of shares, bonds, and any other kind of security. In these cases, the above-mentioned ITL certificate is not required.

Tax on Presumed Minimum Income

This tax applies to all assets of Argentine companies and other entities, such as Argentine trusts (fideicomisos) organized under Law No. 24,441; common investment funds; and permanent establishments of foreign entities and individuals in Argentina.

The tax only applies if the total value of the assets exceeds A$ 200,000 at the end of the entity’s financial year. In this case, the total value of the assets will be taxed at the rate of 1%.

Normal corporate income tax is allowed as a payment on account of this tax.

Value Added Tax (VAT)

This tax is regulated by Law No. 20,631 and applies to the sale of goods, the provision of services and the importation of goods.

Under certain circumstances, services rendered outside Argentina which are effectively used or exploited in Argentina, are deemed rendered in Argentina and are therefore subject to VAT.

VAT is paid at each stage of the production or distribution of goods or services upon the value added during each of the stages. Thus, this tax does not have a cumulative effect.

The tax is levied on the difference between the so-called "tax debit" and the "tax credit".

The difference between the "tax debit" and the “tax credit", if it is positive, constitutes the amount to be paid to the Tax Authority. The present general rate for this tax is 21%. Sales and imports of capital goods are however subject to VAT at a lower tax rate of 10.5%.

Turnover Tax (Tax on Gross Income)

Turnover tax is a local tax levied on gross income. Each of the provinces and the City of Buenos Aires apply different tax rates to different activities. The tax is levied on the amount of gross income resulting from business activities carried on within the respective provincial jurisdictions. The provinces and the city of Buenos Aires have entered into an agreement to prevent double taxation of activities performed in more than one jurisdiction.

Stamp Tax

Stamp tax is a local tax levied on public or private instruments, executed in Argentina or, if executed abroad, when those instruments are deemed to have effects in one or more relevant jurisdictions within Argentina. In general, this tax is calculated on the economic value of the agreement.

Personal Assets Tax

The Personal Assets Tax Law No. 23,966, as amended, provides that all individuals residing in Argentina are subject to a tax upon their worldwide assets. Individuals not residing in Argentina are only liable for this tax upon their assets located in Argentina. Shares, negotiable obligations and other securities are only deemed to be located in Argentina when issued by an entity domiciled in Argentina.

In general, the tax applies when the value of the assets owned by the tax payer as of December 31 of each relevant fiscal year exceeds A$305.000. Depending on the value of the total assets, tax rates vary from 0,5% to 1,25%. Non resident individuals are subject to a fixed rate of 1,25%.

The tax applicable on shares and other equity participations in local companies is paid by the local company itself. The applicable rate is 0,5% on the net worth value of the company.

Certain conventions for the avoidance of double taxation may render this tax inapplicable in certain cases.

Tax on Credits and Debits in Bank Accounts

This tax is levied upon debits and credits in bank accounts and upon other transactions which, due to their special nature and characteristics, are similar or could be used in substitution for a checking account, such as payments on behalf of or in the name of third parties, procedures for the collection of securities (valores) or documents, drafts and transfers of funds made by any means, when these transactions are performed by entities regulated by the Financial Entities Law No. 21,526 of February 1977. Transfers and deliveries of funds also fall within the scope of this tax, regardless of the person or entity that performs them, when those transactions are made through organized systems of payment in substitution for checking accounts. The tax law and its regulations provide several exemptions to this tax.

The general rate of the tax is 0.6% over each credit and debit. An increased rate of 1.2% applies in cases in which there has been a substitution for the use of a checking account.

Tax Treaties

Argentina has tax treaties presently in force with the following countries: Australia, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, The Russian Federation and the United Kingdom. These treaties are based, other than those with South American countries, upon the OECD model and particularly seek to avoid double taxation. Presently, there is no tax treaty between Argentina and the United States.

Information supplied by Marval, O'Farrell & Mairal Av. Leandro N. Alem 928 piso 7, (C1001AAR) Buenos Aires, Argentina Tel: (011) 4310-0100, Fax: (011) 4310 0200 www.marval.com.ar