International
support

In more than 90 countries

The consumer

Consumer Profile

In 2020, the population of Argentina was 45.48 million inhabitants, with a ratio of 0.98 male/female. The median age in Argentina is 32.4, with 24% aged between 0 and 14, 15.2% between 15 and 24 years, 39.6% between 25 and 64, and 12.1% 65 or older. Most households consist of two or three people, with one-person households representing 18% of all households, while two or three people households account for 42% of them, 29% of them have four or five people, and 11% have six or more inhabitants. With a literacy rate of 99%, the same rate of children enrolled in primary education, Argentina has high education levels. Additionally, 90% of those with primary education degrees go on to enroll in secondary education. However, only about 21% of Argentines completed a tertiary degree. More women than men attain a tertiary degree in the country. Roughly 22% of women earned a bachelor’s degree, while only 15% of men did so. Argentina's population is mainly urban, as 92.1% of Argentines live in cities, with the 10 largest metropolitan areas accounting for nearly half of the population. One-third of the population lives in Buenos Aires alone, and pockets of agglomeration occur mainly throughout the northern and central parts of the country.

Purchasing Power

GDP per capita has been fluctuating for years; in 2017, it increased and reached USD 22,947 PPP (World Bank), with the average yearly salary is estimated at USD 9,450. The concentration of wealth is very high in Argentina, as the country’s richest 10% control more wealth than the poorest 60% of the population. Furthermore, Gini index coefficient in Argentina was reported at 41.4 in 2018 (World Bank, latest data available). Additionally, the wage gap between men and women reached 25% in 2020 (Statista). However, it is possible that the wage gap is much larger than that, given that salaries for domestic work are not taken into account, and 12.3% of women in the country work in domestic services. Out of all registered workers in the country, 41% are women and 59% are men. Additionally, 79% of the population works in the services sector, 21% in industry, and 0.1% in agriculture (World Bank, 2020). The highest wages in the country are in Buenos Aires, followed by Córdoba, then Corrientes.

Consumer Behaviour

Consumption preferences in Argentina tend to be closer to those of European countries than those of its Latin American neighbours. Given that the country went through a few crises over the past two decades, Argentine consumers have become quite frugal and consumption shifted towards value for money. Argentinian consumers tend to be rational and conservative with their money, buying only what is strictly necessary, prioritising price, not wasting, walking instead of driving, and acquiring new brands when cheaper. As a result, purchasing tends to orient itself around sub-brands and special offers, and household spending has decreased. Consumers have also become more selective and more reticent with regard to new products. Moreover, Argentine consumers tend to favour national rather than imported products, especially as the latter can be up to three times more expensive. According to Nielsen, over the past year consumers have changed their spending habits to save on household expenses, have cut down on takeaway meals and alcohol, and have switched to cheaper brands when shopping for groceries. In the food sector in particular, consumers tend to buy whatever is cheapest and are not loyal to brands. They also search for the best prices and special deals before buying a product, even if that means going to several different shops in one day. However, they tend to choose healthy but flavoursome products that are practical and easy to prepare, while looking for a bargain at the same time. They are also not loyal to specific retail chains, and are constantly looking for better service, less time waiting at the till and an overall better shopping experience, wherever that may be. Therefore, shops are constantly battling each other to attract consumers, which forces retail chains to invest in mass media advertisement, announcing discounts, great deals and special offers. On the other hand, wealthier consumers accept the higher prices of major brand names, because they perceive these brands to guarantee safer products and higher quality. Furthermore, younger consumers are more brand conscious than older consumers, and, even though price is still a concern, they usually do not mind paying more for a brand-name product. Even though on-line shopping has been growing in the country - especially among the younger generations - consumers still prefer to do their shopping in person. When shopping on-line, after sales service and delivery play a considerable role in purchasing decisions among the majority of Argentines. The household appliances sector is particularly interesting, as there is an overall preference to repair, rather than replace, older goods, so there is a flourishing market for household appliance spare parts in the country. Consumers are highly attracted to collaborative platforms such as Uber in Argentina. Nevertheless, except Mendoza province, use of such platforms are considered illegal, pushing consumers to use public transportation or licensed taxis.

Consumer Recourse to Credit

Consumers avoid resorting to credit and tend to see it as a last resort when covering unexpected expenses or making ends meet when facing a temporary income shortfall. Given the instability of the peso, Argentinians usually do not purchase their own home. When they do so, they often pay for their homes in cash upfront, and most of the time they do it in dollars. As a result, mortgage loans are practically non-existent. However, the government strongly encouraged the granting of mortgage loans to be paid in 20 or 30 years. Therefore, there has been an increase in mortgages in the country over the past two years, albeit little. On the other hand, car loans are one of the most common forms of credit in Argentina, and they have been growing lately. Additionally, most hypermarkets offer consumer credit on their products, so purchases paid over monthly instalments are increasingly popular all over the country.

Growing Sectors
Banking, insurance, real estate, transport, communication, tourism, agriculture, infrastructure, healthcare, agriculture, information technology, energy, creative industries, food processing, mining, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals.
Consumers Associations
Consumidores Argentinos
Unión de Consumidores de Argentina
 

+

Importing & Distributing

Import Procedures
Import procedures have changed several times in recent years, so it is advisable to contact a local customs broker before starting any import process. As it stands currently, an importer or exporter must be registered with Argentine Customs in order to carry out international trade transactions. There are certain products with automatic licence procedures (formulario informativo), which officially allow Argentine Customs authorities to identify possible problems when they are imported. This licencing scheme encompasses about 600 products of different kinds.

Argentine Customs, which is affiliated with the Ministry of Economy and Public Finance, has a three-tiered classification system related to goods inspection (Comprehensive Import Monitoring System - SIMI):

  •  Green: customs clearance takes place without physical inspection
  •  Orange: only documentation is inspected
  •  Red: both goods and documents are inspected.

A form declaring quantities and composition of goods must also be provided to the Ministry of Industry ten days before clearing Customs. All documents presented to Argentinean authorities must be in Spanish or be accompanied with a translation from a certified translator.

As a member of Mercosur, Argentina applies the common external tariff (CET), which is between around 0 and 20% for most products. Some automotive goods face a tariff up to 35%. Information technology and capital goods are temporarily exempt from the CET.

In addition to import tariffs, there are other fees, including:

  • VAT of 10.5% or 21% on CIF. If imported goods are for resale, the rate is 5.5% or 10% VAT on CIF
  • Though there are some exceptions, there is a 0.5% statistics fee on CIF
  • A 3% of anticipated profit tax for retail goods
  • And a 1.5% gross income tax.

Some products such as tobacco, soft drinks, alcoholic beverages among others, fall under the domestic tax regime.

For more information, please visit the website of the Argentine Federal Administration of Public Income.

Specific Import Procedures
A preliminary import authorisation license is necessary for 9 nomenclature numbers in the automobile domain, and these products are also subject to relatively low quotas. However, these quotas do not apply to imports from Brazil. A very strict certificate of origin (authenticated by the Argentine Consulate in the exporting country) is required for textiles and articles of clothing.
For maritime shipments, the following documents are required:

  • Three copies of the commercial invoice
  • A negotiable copy of the Bill of landing
  • Insurances certificates
  • A packaging list


Air cargo shipment must present the following documents:

  • Three copies of the commercial invoice
  • A packaging list
  • An airway bill


All commercial invoices must be in Spanish. An English version could be presented with a certified translation. Only originals are accepted. In all cases, the following text must be in the invoice:

"DECLARO BAJO JURAMENTO QUE LOS PRECIOS CONSIGNADOS EN ESTA FACTURA COMERCIAL SON LOS REALMENTE PAGADOS O A PAGARSE, Y QUE NO EXISTE CONVENIO ALGUNO QUE PERMITA SU ALTERACION, Y QUE TODOS LOS DATOS REFERENTES A LA CALIDAD, CANTIDAD, VALOR, PRECIOS, ETC., Y DESCRIPCION DE LA MERCADERIA CONCUERDAN EN TODAS SUS PARTES CON LO DECLARADO EN LA CORRESPONDIENTE SHIPPER'S EXPORT DECLARATION."

Distribution channels
Argentina is the second-largest economy in South America in terms of nominal GDP, with 45.4 million inhabitants, and a GDP per capita (PPP) estimated at 22,947 USD in 2020 (World Bank).
According to the latest data published by national statistics organization INDEC, in the first seven months of 2020 supermarkets recorded a 2.6% year-on-year increase in sales (constant prices), as a consequence of continued urbanisation of the population (92.1% in 2020, according to CIA's Factbook) and of the lockdown adopted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Recently, Argentina's retail formats under 500 m2 performed slightly better that the larger ones.
In recent years, nearly all retail formats are increasing in number: supermarkets, wholesalers, traditional grocery stores, and shopping malls. However, the Argentinian retail market continues to face certain challenges such as high operating costs, inflation, bureaucratic barriers, and high taxes. Furthermore, the supermarkets channel has been affected by the economic recession, resulting in the closure of branches. As a response to consumption contraction and the decrease in consumers' purchasing power, bigger chains have been further developing private labels, which is expected to boost their sales, especially for food products.
Distribution market players
A significant number of consumers prefer hyper and supermarkets, as they find them more convenient in terms of time passed on shopping and prices. During the last couple of years, traditional stores have continued to lose market shares to hyper and supermarkets as a consequence of their highly competitive prices and discounts.
Hypermarkets, superstores, and warehouse stores account for approximately 35% of the Food and Beverage market (which accounts for approximately 72% of total sales). The biggest retailers are Carrefour, Coto Supermarkets, Dia, Jumbo (hypermarket), La Anonima, Disco (supermarket chain), Supermercados Llaneza, Walmart.
Retail Sector Organisations
Camara Argentina de Supermercados
Argentinian Confederation of Medium-Sized Enterprises (CAME)

+

Operating a Business

Type of companies

La Sociedad Anonima Unipersonal (SAU): Individual Businessperson
Number of partners: Only one shareholder.
Capital (max/min): Minimum capital: ARS 100,000, entirely subscribed and paid-up.
Shareholders and liability: Liability is limited to the amount of capital contributed/subscribed shares.
The Sociedad Anonima (SA): Public Limited Company
Number of partners: Minimum 2 partners/shareholders; no maximum.
Capital (max/min): Minimum capital: ARS 100,000.
Shareholders and liability: Liability is limited to the amount of capital contributed/subscribed shares.
The Sociedad de Responsabilidad Limitada (SRL): Limited Liability Company
Number of partners: Minimum 2 partners; maximum 50 partners.
Capital (max/min): No minimum capital, the capital must be appropriate with the corporate purpose of the company.
Shareholders and liability: Liability is limited to the amount of capital contributed.
The Sociedad en Commandita por Acciones (SCA): Limited Joint-Stock Partnership
Number of partners: Minimum 2 partners; maximum 50 partners.

There are two types of partners, active partners and silent partners.
Capital (max/min): No minimum capital.
Shareholders and liability: The liability of the active partners is unlimited.

The liability of the silent partners is limited to the amount of capital contributed.

Sociedad por Acciones Simplificada (SAS)
Number of partners: Minimum one shareholder, no maximum.
Capital (max/min): Two minimal wages (25% paid-up).
Shareholders and liability: Liability is limited to the amount of capital contributed.
The Sociedad en Commandita Simple (SCS): Limited Partnership
Number of partners: An association of companies or individuals to carry out particular economic activities in Argentina or in other countries having Argentina as its operation's base. This structure does not have enterprise status.
Capital (max/min): No minimum capital.
Shareholders and liability: The liability of the active partners is unlimited.

The liability of the silent partners is limited to the amount of capital contributed.

 
Setting Up a Company Argentina Latin America & Caribbean
Procedures (number) 12.0 8.0
Time (days) 11.5 25.2

Source: Doing Business - Latest available data.

 

Cost of Labour

Minimum Wage
ARS 16,875 as of October 2020, according to the Argentine Ministry of Labor.
Average Wage
According to the Argentine Ministry of Labour, the gross average monthly wage was ARS 78,801 per month in the third quarter of 2020.
Social Contributions
Social Security Contributions Paid By Employers: Previously, employers contributed 18% or 20.4% of payroll (for employers active in the services or commerce sectors, unless they are considered a SME) to social security, with the first ARS 7,003.68 per month per employee being exempted. Concerning the national health care scheme, the contribution is at 6%.
Social Security Contributions Paid By Employees: Employees contribute 14% of wages to social security and 3% of wages to the national health care scheme.
 

Intellectual Property

National Organisations
The organisation in charge of trademark and patent protection in Argentina is the National Institute for Industrial Property (INPI). The organisation in charge of intellectual property is the "Registro Nacional de la Propiedad Intelectual" (the National Register of Intellectual Property). Other organisations are also involved in intellectual property include the: Ministry of Justice, National Directorate of Royalties, Argentine Society of Authors and Composers (SADAIC), General Society of Argentine Authors (Argentores), Argentine Association of Interpreters (AADI), Argentine Chamber of Producers and the Argentine Chamber of Music Editors (CAEM).

Argentina has signed the Paris Convention for the Protection of Intellectual Property, but is not a signatory to the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). A company wishing to use a patent is obliged to make a direct request in Argentina within a maximum time limit of one year after the registration of the initial request.

Regional Organisations
Each of the member states of Mercosur has its own body (or bodies) tasked with protecting intellectual property rights; however, the Mercosur Standardisation Association is working on fostering cooperation among these institutions to achieve harmonisation within Mercosur.
International Membership
Member of the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization)
Signatory to the Paris Convention For the Protection of Intellectual Property
Membership to the TRIPS agreement - Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS)
 

+

Tax Rates

Consumption Taxes

Nature of the Tax
Impuesto al Valor Agregado or IVA (Value Added Tax or VAT, in English)
Tax Rate
The general VAT rate stands at 21% and is charged on the net price of transactions. Certain public services such as electricity, water, and sewage disposal or telecommunications companies are subject to an increased rate of 27%.
Reduced Tax Rate
A reduced VAT rate of 10.5% applies to interest and commissions on loans made by banks; sale, preparation, manufacturing or construction and final import of certain capital assets; long-distance passenger transportation (more than 100 km); sale or import of newspapers and magazines; construction of housing; supply of publicity and advertising (conditions apply); certain medical services, etc.

Exports of goods and services are treated as zero-rated transactions, with the input VAT that can be used as a credit against output VAT or refunded following a special procedure.

Other Consumption Taxes
Import duties vary between 0% and 35%. Excise duties apply to tobacco, wines, soft drinks, spirits, gasoline, lubricants, insurance premiums, automobile tyres, mobiles services, perfumes, jewellery, and precious stones. From 1 January 2021 through 31 December 2025, a 17% tax applies to certain electronic products.

Export duties are imposed on goods and services with general rates of 5% for manufactured goods and services, 8% for hydrocarbons and mining products, 15% for agribusiness products, and 33% for soybean. Furthermore, a 30% solidarity tax applies on all purchases of foreign currency by Argentine individuals for investment purposes, or by companies and individuals for payment of foreign expenditure.

 

Corporate Taxes

Company Tax
30%
25% (from fiscal years beginning on or after 1 January 2021)
Tax Rate For Foreign Companies
The permanent establishment has been defined according to OECD's model; however, the Argentinian legislator broadened its content to include also the performance of services by a non-resident provider, including services rendered by consultants, within the national territory, for a total length greater than six months within any 12-month period.
Capital Gains Taxation
Most capital gains are included in taxable income and taxed at the normal corporate income tax rate. Gains derived from the sale of shares, bonds, and other securities are tax at a rate of 30% (which shall be reduced to 25% as of fiscal years beginning on or after 2021). Gains derived by a non-resident from the sale of equities of an Argentine corporation or other participation in the capital of an Argentine entity that is not publicly traded are subject to an effective rate of 13.5% on gross proceeds or, alternatively, a 15% income tax on the net gain if the seller’s tax cost basis can be duly documented for Argentine tax purposes.
The sale of corporate bonds placed by public offer, government bonds and notes issued by financial trusts are generally exempt.
Main Allowable Deductions and Tax Credits
Expenses are deductible if incurred for obtaining and preserving taxable income, as well as for taxes paid, depreciation or amortisation, reserves, directors' fees, wages and donations of up to a maximum of 5% of net taxable profits. Interest is generally deductible, provided it is incurred on loans taken out for business purposes. R&D expenditures (for the development of intangible assets) may be deducted when they are incurred or amortised over not more than five years, same as for start-up expenses. Bad debts can be deducted only in specific cases (like bankruptcy) and if supporting documentation is provided. Representation expenses are deductible up to 1.5% of the amount of salaries accrued during the fiscal year.
Net operating losses may be carried forward for five years, whereas loss carrybacks are not allowed. The amortisation of goodwill cannot be deducted for profits tax purposes.
All deductions are subject to review by the tax authorities.
Other Corporate Taxes
Sales taxes are levied at jurisdictional level, generally at a rate of 3% to 5% of gross revenue from the sale of goods and services. Higher rates may be imposed on certain services in some provinces. Industrial activities usually are exempt or subject to lower rates (between 0 and 2%). Jurisdictions also levy a real estate tax, with rates varying according to the location and the property’s fiscal value.

A financial transactions tax of 0.6% is levied on deposits and withdrawals in current accounts; as well as a 1.2% tax on any transactions made in a bank without using a bank account. 33% of the aforementioned taxes is creditable against profits tax and minimum notional income tax and/or respective tax advances.

A stamp duty of 1% is levied on the formal execution of public and private instruments including contracts, notarial deeds and promissory notes. Special rates of 0.5%, 1.2%, 3%, and 3.6% apply in certain cases.

An annual wealth tax is levied on the shares or holding in the capital of local companies owned by individuals or undivided estates domiciled in Argentina or abroad, and/or companies and/or any other type of legal person domiciled abroad. The tax rate is 0.5% of the value of the participation. Such tax does not apply to foreign companies' branches in Argentina.

Employers contribute to the national unemployment fund, family allowances fund, and social services institute for pensioners at a unified rate of 18% (20.4% for companies who mainly render services or commerce and are above the SME's threshold); plus 6% for the social health care plan. Argentine employers are exempt to pay social security contributions for the first ARS 7,003 per month/employee (plus an additional allowance of ARS 10,000 for small employers with no more than 25 employees). The exempt amount is increased to ARS 17,509 for employers in the textile, leather goods, and agricultural industries, and healthcare services sector.

An “emergency wealth tax” was introduced as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic. It concerns Argentine resident individuals and undivided estates with worldwide assets valued at more than ARS 200 million as of 18 December 2020, and non-resident individuals with assets located in Argentina valued at more than ARS 200 million as of that date. Tax rates of 2% to 3.5% apply to assets located in Argentina, and rates of 3% to 5.25% to foreign assets.

Other Domestic Resources
Federal Administration of Public Revenue (AFIP)
Doing Business: Argentina, to obtain a summary of taxes and mandatory contributions
 

Double Taxation Treaties

Countries With Whom a Double Taxation Treaty Have Been Signed
List of Double Taxation Treaties
Withholding Taxes

Withholding tax rates are:

  • Dividends: 0% resident company - 7% resident individual, non-resident company and non-resident individual for income obtained in fiscal years beginning on or before 1 January 2021; 13% for income obtained in fiscal years beginning on or after 2 January 2021
  • Interest: 0% resident company/individual - 15.05%/35% non-resident company/individual
  • Royalties: 0% resident company/individual - 21%/28%/31.5% non-resident company - 12.25% (copyrights)/17.5% (film and television, image or sound)/28% (patent)/31.5% non-resident individual

+