Simple Tax Guide for Americans in Argentina
At Taxes for Expats we have been preparing U.S. tax returns for U.S. Citizens and green card holders working in Argentina for over 5 years. Our clients hail from all parts of the country - Buenos Aires and Cordoba, Rosario and Mendoza, La Plata and Tucuman.
As a U.S. Citizen or green card holder you are legally required to file a U.S. tax return each year regardless of whether you already pay taxes in your residence country.
We offer professional tax services. That means we figure out the best and most optimal way to file your U.S. tax return and avail you of all possible exclusions and deductions. But just as importantly - avoid the errors that would allow IRS to disallow your return and levy fines & penalties on top. You can also do them yourself - not that we recommend it. For more information please see IRS.
The expatriate Foreign Earned Income Exclusion can only be claimed if you file your tax return on a timely basis. It is not automatic if you fail to file and can even be lost.
We have many clients living in Argentina and know how to integrate your U.S. taxes into the local income taxes you pay. Any Argentinean income tax you already pay can be claimed as against the tax liability on your U.S. return on the same income.
As an expat living abroad you get an automatic extension to file until June 15th following the calendar year end. (You cannot file using the calendar year as is standard in Argentina for U.S. tax purposes). You must, however, pay any tax that may be due by April 15th in order to avoid penalties and interest. You can get an extension to file (if you request it) until October 15th.
There are other forms which must be filed if you have foreign bank or financial accounts; foreign investment company; or own 10% or more of a foreign corporation or foreign partnership. If you do not file these form or file them late, the IRS can impose penalties of $10,000 or more per form. These penalties are due regardless of whether you owe income taxes or not.
We have helped hundreds of expats around the world catch up with their past U.S. taxes because they have failed to file U.S. tax returns for many years. This is, in fact, our specialty and we offer a 10% discount to clients to wish to file multiple tax returns at once and get in full compliance with the IRS.
Work with a recognized expert to help you prepare your American tax return. We can also provide tax planning and advice with other expatriate tax; we look forward to working with you.
Below we include information on the Argentinean Tax System for the American Expatriates.
In Argentina, 2 types of taxes are currently levied on individuals:
1) Personal Income Tax
2) Personal Assets Tax (Wealth Tax)
1) Argentina Income Tax Rates
Argentina residents are liable to a progressive tax on their worldwide income ranging between 9% - 35%. There are 7 income tax scales:
|Taxable Income (ARS)||Tax Rate %|
|ARS 0 to 10,000||9%|
|ARS 10,001 to 20,000||14%|
|ARS 20,001 to 30,000||19%|
|ARS 30,001 to 60,000||23%|
|ARS 60,001 to 90,000||27%|
|ARS 90,001 to 120,000||31%|
|ARS 120,001 and above||35%|
Non-Taxable income is ARS 10,800 / year.
Income tax is levied on income earned in Argentina and abroad by individuals residing in Argentina.
Argentina Income Tax is payable on an annual basis with five advanced payments (every two months). Any expenses incurred in generating such income may be deducted from gross income. The law establishes fixed deductions: non taxable minimum, special tax free amount, dependant allowance, etc.
Capital gains not related to income-generating activity are not subject to tax. In the case of the disposal of real property not assigned to such activity, a 1.5% real estate sales tax is charged on the selling value of the property, regardless of whether a loss or a profit is made.
Under the Income Tax Act, some exemptions are provided for the financial and capital markets, whereby interest on time deposits, government securities, and income from stocks and bonds that are quoted on the Stock Exchange are not subject to tax. Similarly, the sale of stocks (issued by an Argentine company) is not levied with income tax provided that the activity of buying and selling stocks is not performed on a regular (trading) basis.
Employees are subject to withholding tax at source, for which the employer is responsible (withholding agent).
Basis â€“ All individuals earning income in Argentina, whether or not resident, are subject to income tax. Residents are taxed on worldwide income and nonresidents are taxed on Argentine-source income.
Residence â€“ For tax purposes, an individual is resident if he/she lives in Argentina (an individual with Argentine nationality is deemed to be a resident although residence status can be lost if the individual lives abroad). Argentine individuals who have not lost their residence status, foreign individuals that obtain their permanent residence status or stay for a 12-month period in Argentina (temporary absences do not count) and undivided estates of resident individuals are considered to be Argentine residents.
Filing status â€“ Each individual must file a return; joint returns are not permitted.
Taxable income â€“ Employment income, including most employment benefits, is taxable. Rental and interest income also is subject to tax. Profits derived from the carrying on by an individual of a trade or business organised as an enterprise are generally taxed in the same way as those of a corporation.
Most Argentine-source financial income is exempt (e.g. dividends, time deposits on local banks, sale of shares or bonds, etc.).
Capital gains â€“ Exempt
Deductions and allowances â€“ Subject to certain restrictions, deductions are granted for medical expenses, certain donations, mortgage interest, retirement annuities, etc.
Rates â€“ Rates are progressive from 9% to 35%.
2) Argentina Personal Assets Tax (Wealth Tax)
Argentina Personal Assets Tax (Wealth Tax) is levied on:
- all assets located in Argentina or in foreign countries that belong to individuals resident in Argentina
- all assets located in Argentina that belong to individuals resident in foreign countries
- shares issued by Argentine companies. In this case, the company pays the tax on behalf of the shareholders.
Individuals residing in Argentina
This tax is levied on all assets located in Argentina and in foreign countries. Similar tax paid arising overseas in respect of assets located in foreign countries is creditable against personal assets tax.
The only deduction allowed is the amount of liabilities arising from the purchase or construction of the taxpayer's home.
Investments in shares issued by an Argentine company are not to be included in the taxable base because the company pays this tax on behalf of the shareholders (a situation that does not mean shares are exempted).
The tax is assessed on the value of property that exceeds the tax free amount of $305,000. If the taxable base is higher than $ 305,000, the tax is assessed on the total and it is calculated on a progressive tax-rate-scale basis. The applicable rate ranges from 0.5% to 1.25% on the taxable base.
Individuals and companies residing in a foreign country
Personal Assets Tax (Wealth Tax) tax is also charged on assets located in Argentina and owned by individual foreign residents at a 1.25% rate. Neither deductions nor taxable minimum are allowed.
In the case of certain assets (i.e. securities, non-exploited real estate property, etc) located in Argentina and owned by foreign companies, these are deemed to belong to individuals and are levied with personal assets tax at a 2.50% rate.
Shareholders of an Argentine company who reside in foreign countries are liable to personal assets tax. The tax liability is not assessed directly but is paid by the company on behalf of its shareholders (see the next paragraph).
Shares issued by an Argentine Company
Shares whose holders are foreign resident companies are deemed to belong to foreign resident individuals and the tax is levied on those shares. The taxable base is the Argentine company's equity value assessed in the company's last financial statements. The tax rate is 0.5%.
In all such cases, the tax is assessed and paid by the Argentine company on behalf of the shareholders. The tax paid is not deductible for income tax purposes because the company is allowed to claim the tax paid to the shareholders.
A foreign company's branch (a permanent establishment in Argentina) will be levied on personal assets tax in respect of the capital assigned to the branch.
For foreign companies' shareholders of an Argentine company who reside in Treaty Countries (for the avoidance of double taxation), it is important to analyse each Tax Treaty to understand whether shares are levied in Argentina or in the country where the holder has their fiscal residence.
Argentina Corporate Tax
Argentina corporate income tax rate is 35%.
Companies domiciled in Argentina are subject to income tax on all their income, whether sourced in Argentina or in a foreign country. Non-resident companies are subject to tax on Argentine source income. Income from export of goods situated in Argentina is deemed to be fully taxable and, for other specific international activities (e.g. new agencies, insurance, commercial use of films produced abroad, international transport etc), the tax law establishes a certain percentage as presumed income.
The tax rate for corporations (Sociedades AnÃ³nimas, Sociedad de Responsabilidad Limitada â€“ Limited Liability Corporation â€“ en Comandita) and branches of foreign companies domiciled in Argentina is 35%. For other partnerships, the tax is charged to each partner according to a progressive tax rate scale ranging from 9% to 35% depending on the amount of the taxable income.
Foreign recipients not qualifying as a permanent establishment in Argentina are subject to withholding tax at source. The rate is 35% on the applicable presumptive net income percent, depending on the type of payment made (i.e. interest, fees, royalties, rentals, etc). For companies organised or incorporated in Argentina, any income tax (or similar tax) paid abroad on a foreign source income is creditable against Argentine income tax, up to a limit.
Company income is taxed on an accrued basis during the company's business year. The tax is assessed annually within five months after fiscal year end. Advanced payments must be paid monthly on the basis of the tax amount paid the previous year. Moreover, the AFIP (Tax Authority) has enforced several withholding tax regulations that involve almost all kind of activities. The income tax withheld during the fiscal year is creditable against the income tax assessed, as well as the advanced payments. The balance can be paid at due date or filing an instalment plan (up to 12 instalments) accruing interest at a monthly 2% rate.
Residence â€“ An entity is resident if it is incorporated in Argentina. A branch also is deemed to be tax resident.
Basis â€“ Argentine corporations are subject to tax on worldwide income, but they receive a tax credit for foreign income tax paid. Capital gains are normally included in regular income. Nonresidents pay tax only on Argentinesource income.
Taxable income â€“ Income tax is imposed on the profits of an entity. Expenses related to obtain taxable income are generally deductible.
Taxation of dividends â€“ Dividends received by an Argentine resident entity from another Argentine entity are exempt from income tax.
Dividends received from a foreign corporation are subject to income tax in the period the dividends are paid, but a credit for underlying corporate tax and withholding tax is generally available for foreign tax paid on the dividends.
Capital gains â€“ Most capital gains are included in taxable income and subject to the normal corporate income tax. Gains derived from the sale of shares by an Argentine entity are subject to income tax, whereas gains derived by nonresidents on the sale of shares of Argentine corporations are exempt. Gains on the sale of SRL quotas are taxable both for local entities and nonresidents.
Losses â€“ Net operating losses may be carried forward for 5 years, but carryback is not permitted. Certain losses (i.e. the sale of shares, foreign-source losses) may be set off only against profits of the same kind.
Tax Rate â€“ 35%
Surtax â€“ No
Alternative minimum tax â€“ A 1% minimum presumed income tax is applied to assets located in Argentina. The presumed tax, imposed annually, applies only in excess of income tax. The excess may be credited against income tax in the next 10 years.
Foreign tax credit â€“ A foreign tax credit may be claimed for foreign tax paid up to the Argentine tax liability computed with respect to foreign-source income. Withholding taxes incurred are creditable, as are underlying direct and indirect income taxes paid under certain conditions.
Participation exemption â€“ No
Holding company regime â€“ No
Tax Incentives â€“ Tax incentives are available for certain activities (including mining, forestry, biotechnology and software production) and there is a tax-free zone (Tierra del Fuego).
Dividends â€“ Dividends are subject to withholding tax only if they exceed accumulated taxable income with certain adjustments. If applicable, the withholding tax rate is 35%.
Interest â€“ The rate is 15.05% where the lender is a bank or financial institution located in a non-tax haven country and in certain other circumstances. The rate is 35% for interest paid on loans other than from non-tax haven banks (with certain exemptions).
Royalties â€“ Royalty payments to nonresidents for the exploitation of copyrights in Argentina are subject to a final withholding tax of 35% on 35% of the gross payment (effective rate of 12.25%), provided the works are registered with the National Copyright Bureau and other conditions are satisfied.
Patent royalties and fees for technical assistance, engineering or consulting services paid to nonresidents are subject to a final withholding tax of 35% on a prescribed percentage of the gross payment, which varies according to the type of payment. The effective withholding tax rates are 28% (35% x 80%) on patent royalties and 21% (35% x 60%) on fees for technical assistance, engineering or consulting services, if the agreement under which the royalties or fees are paid is registered by the National Institute of Industrial Technology (INTI) and, in the case of fees, the services cannot be obtained in Argentina. If these conditions are not satisfied, the effective rate on the royalties or fees is 31.5% (35% x 90%).
Branch remittance tax â€“ Profits remitted by branches to their head offices are subject to the same regime as dividends.
Other taxes on corporations:
Capital duty â€“ No
Payroll tax â€“ No
Real property tax â€“ Real property tax is levied annually by the provincial authorities. The tax is deductible for income tax purposes.
Social security â€“ Both the employer and the employees must make social security and health care scheme payments. The company must pay between 23% and 27% of the salary depending on the activity and size of the company. In certain provinces, part of the social security payment is creditable against VAT.
Stamp duty â€“ Stamp duty is levied on the formal execution of public and private instruments. Documents subject to stamp tax include contracts, notarised deeds, invoices confirmed by a debtor, promissory notes and negotiable instruments. The rate is 1% but there are exceptions, such as real estate sales, where the rate can be as high as 2.5%.
Transfer tax â€“ No
Other â€“ The tax on financial transactions is levied on debits and credits in current accounts at a rate of 0.6% per transaction. Of the amount levied on credits in the accounts, 0.2 percentage points may be taken as an advance payment of income tax or minimum presumed income tax, resulting in an effective rate of 0.4% and, therefore, 1% on a complete collection/payment cycle. There are some exemptions.
Transfer pricing â€“ Transactions between related resident affiliates must be at arm's length. The following transfer pricing methodologies are authorised: (1) comparable uncontrolled price; (2) costplus; (3) resale price; (4) profit split method; and (5) transactional profit margin. A "sixth" method, which is a variation of the comparable uncontrolled price method, must be used in some circumstances and for certain products (mainly commodities).
Argentina also imposes documentation requirements. The tax authorities may request information on transactions with affiliated companies if the arm's length nature of a transaction is not sufficiently documented.
Thin capitalisation â€“ An interest deduction will be disallowed if a company's debt-to-equity ratio exceeds 2:1 and the interest is paid to a controlling financial institution or other controlling creditors applying reduced withholding rates. The excess interest is reclassified as a dividend.
Controlled foreign companies â€“ The CFC rules require resident shareholders to include in their taxable income the taxable profits derived by a company resident in a low-tax jurisdiction from dividends, interest, royalties, leases and other passive income.
Current taxation will not apply if at least 50% of the profits of the low-taxed company are related to active income. Foreign partnerships and branches are taxed on an accrual basis.
Other â€“ Statutory GAAR (economic reality principle) also applies.
Disclosure requirements â€“ Except for documentation requirements under the transfer pricing rules, and certain shareholding matters, there are no special disclosure requirements.
Administration and compliance:
Tax year â€“ Fiscal year
Consolidated returns â€“ Consolidated returns are not permitted. Each company must file a separate return, and there are no provisions for relief of group losses.
Filing requirements â€“ Companies must make 10 advance payments of income tax during the year, with the first instalment, equal to 25% of the previous year's income tax liability, paid by the 20th day of the sixth month after the start of the company's fiscal year. The other 9 instalments must be equal to 8.33% of the previous year's income tax liability.
Penalties â€“ Interest is imposed for late payments (2% monthly), plus fines from 50% to 100% of the tax omitted (reductions available). Tax evasion is subject to higher penalties and possibly imprisonment.
Rulings â€“ No
No tax is levied specifically on fringe benefits, since they are levied with income tax and social security contributions.
MINIMUM PRESUMPTIVE INCOME TAX (MPIT)
This tax is levied on all assets located in Argentina or in foreign countries owned by companies domiciled in Argentina or branches of foreign companies located in Argentina. The Tax Act sets out how to value the assets to which, in general, the current market value must be given. Some assets are not levied, e.g. shares of other companies domiciled in Argentina, dividends earned, investment in constructions (for two years), and new personal property purchases (for two years). Companies having less than $200,000 of assets are not levied. Field Real Estate property is levied allowing a special deduction of up to $200,000.
The tax rate is 1%. Financial institutions and insurance companies, subject to the control of state entities, are subject to MPIT on 20% of their assets value.
Although this is an 'assets tax', the spirit of the law is to set a company's minimum income tax liability (for example, in the case of tax losses). Income tax assessed by the company may be creditable against MPIT for the same fiscal year.
If, in the same fiscal year, the income tax assessed is higher than the MPIT assessed, the net will not generate a tax credit. On the other hand, if in the same fiscal year the MPIT assessed is higher than the income tax assessed, the net of the MPIT may be carried forward and offset against income tax in the following ten fiscal years.
Despite this tax credit, the company must pay effectively at least the amount of MPIT assessed every fiscal year. Therefore, every year the company must assess both taxes, yet pay either income tax or MPIT, whichever is the higher.
SINGLE SIMPLIFIED TAX
Single simplified tax is a volunteer tax applicable to individuals and small partnership that perform little activity and where income does not exceed a threshold set by the Act. The taxpayer can choose whether to pay income tax and VAT or substitute both by paying a monthly single simplified tax. The tax is determined considering a scale of income.
The different Provinces and Jurisdictions within the territory of Argentina apply local taxes. A brief description is provided as follows:
Turnover tax: This is a provincial tax levied on the various stages of production and selling processes but no input tax is deductible from the tax amount of the immediately preceding stage (waterfall effect).
In general, it applies to gross revenues accrued during each fiscal period (month). The tax rate is approximately 3% - 3.5% for commercial activities, 1.5% for industrial activities, and 1% - 1.5% for primary activities, according to the regulations enforced by each provincial Tax Act.
Under an agreement signed between the National Administration and the Provincial Administrations, several exemptions to some productive activities have been established and the tax scheme will be reshaped gradually until this tax becomes ineffective and replaced by a 'neutral' tax. In general, small industrial activities are not levied in the jurisdiction where the factory is located.
Stamp tax: The duty is levied in each of the country's jurisdictions on juristic acts and instruments entailing a flow of wealth between the parties involved in the legal relationship.
Thus, stamp tax is applicable inter alia to acts whereby for profit transactions on Real Estate, personal property, services rendered and civil, commercial or financial obligations are documented. Rates vary according to the jurisdiction and the type of instrument involved, the most common one being 1.00% of the contract value. Under the aforesaid fiscal agreement, stamp tax is also to be phased out in the future but it currently is still in effect.
Land and car taxes: These taxes, typically 'ad valorem', are levied on land and automobiles located or registered within any of the country's 24 provinces. The fiscal assessment value of the assets and the applicable tax rate vary according to each jurisdiction.
Rates: These are municipal levies applied on a range of taxable bases in the various jurisdictions, in consideration of services provided by each township. The taxable event is the performance of an activity for profit in a town. The tax rate, set by each Municipal Act, is applicable on the turnover and depends on the activity performed.
Argentina Value added tax (VAT) Rates
The standard rate of Value Added Tax in Argentina is 21%.
VAT is assessed on a monthly basis. The inception of the taxable event is to issue the invoice, deliver the goods, and render the service or the receipt, whichever is the earliest.
The standard tax rate, currently 21%, is charged on the net price of the transaction. There are some leases and services levied at 27% (electricity, telecommunications, etc). Some goods and services are levied at 10.50% (bovine meat, fresh vegetables, lodgings, interests on loans received from Argentine financial institutions, property plant and equipment as specified in a list provided, newspapers and magazines, transportation for individuals etc).
Exports are levied at a zero rate (destination country method). Exporters can apply input tax (incurred in making exports) against output tax arising from other taxable transactions. In case of a net input tax (internal charge), exporters are entitled to a refund (under a special procedure established by the tax authority). Foreign tourists are also entitled to a VAT refund (cash or in credit card account) included in personal property purchases and lodging services in some tourist areas.
There are several withholding and 'collection at source' regimes in force. The VAT withheld or collected at source is creditable against the internal charge. In case of a reminding tax credit, it can be offset against any other federal tax liability.