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1. Is perpetual fee simple ownership of real property permitted? If not, what are the principal forms of ownership, or other principal form of ownership, of real property?
Yes, perpetual fee simple ownership of real property is permitted.
2. What instruments are used to convey fee simple ownership, or other principal form of ownership, of real estate?
Although a private contract of sale of a property (“Boleto de Compraventa”) will contain valid and binding obligations as between the parties under Argentine law, it will not be accepted for registration in the relevant Land Registry (“Registro de la Propiedad Inmueble”), unless the terms of transfer have been included in a deed of conveyance “escritura pública” executed before a notary public.
3. How in this jurisdiction is the ownership of real property recorded or searched? Who generally performs the search?
In the City of Buenos Aires the deed of conveyance must be presented for registration at the Land Registry within a period of 45 days (40 days in the case of the province of Buenos Aires) after its execution before a notary. If it is presented later, it may be subject to any charges or encumbrances that have been presented in the meantime. In addition the notary is responsible for checking the title deeds to the property and ensuring that there are no charges or encumbrances over the property of which the purchaser is unaware. The customary time period of ownership that is searched in Argentina is 20 years.
4. What assurances of ownership are available to purchasers of real property (e.g., title insurance or title opinions)? What is the cost of obtaining such assurances?
There is no title insurance system in Argentina. The Land Registry registers ownership of real property, and such registration is effective vis a vis third parties.
5. What are the most common forms of investment vehicles? What are the most common entities employed to own investment real estate in a tax efficient manner?
An Argentine corporation (sociedad anónima), an Argentine limited liability company (sociedad de responsabilidad limitada), or an Argentine trust are the most common forms of entities used.
6. Has this jurisdiction adopted, or is it considering, legislation permitting the creation of real estate investment trusts or similar entities?
Although there are specific REIT regulations for publicly offered REITS, they have not been used in practice. However, several other Argentine entities may be used to form an entity similar to a REIT, such as an Argentine corporation (sociedad anónima), an Argentine limited liability company (sociedad de responsabilidad limitada), or an Argentine trust.
7. What state or local transfer, stamp or similar taxes are levied generally on sellers or buyers upon the direct transfer of real estate?
The provincial stamp tax (“Impuesto de sellos”) is a local tax levied on monetary acts, contracts or transactions which are evidenced in writing. While each provincial jurisdiction and the City of Buenos Aires has its own particular legislation, their provisions are very similar.
In principle, the tax is imposed on contracts executed in the relevant provincial jurisdiction. In the case of real estate, if the contract is executed in a different jurisdiction from the location of the real estate, in principle tax will be due both in the jurisdiction where the real estate is located as well as the jurisdiction of execution of the contract, unless there is provision for the avoidance of double taxation in the relevant provincial jurisdiction. Care must therefore be taken when dealing with real property to ensure that any contractual documentation is executed generally only in the jurisdiction where the property is located. In practice, provincial stamp tax is normally borne in equal parts by the parties, however in as far as the tax authorities are concerned they may claim the full amount of the tax from any of the parties to the transaction. The transfer of real property is subject to stamp tax on the higher of the values resulting from the value of the property in the deed of acquisition and the fiscal value as established in the provincial (in the City of Buenos Aires the municipal) cadastral records. The applicable rate in most provincial jurisdictions is 4% and 2,5% in the City of Buenos Aires (usually 1% is paid at the time the preliminary sale contract (“Boleto de Compraventa”) is executed and the remaining balance is payable upon the execution of the notarial deed of conveyance).
8. What state or local transfer, stamp or similar taxes are levied generally on sellers or buyers upon the transfer of interests in entities which own real estate?
As stated above, the provincial stamp tax (“Impuesto de sellos”) is a local tax levied on monetary acts, contracts or transactions which are evidenced in writing. While each provincial jurisdiction and the City of Buenos Aires has its own particular legislation, their provisions are very similar in many respects. However, no stamp tax applies to transfers of interests in entities which own real estate in the City of Buenos Aires.
9. How significant is local regulation and taxation of real estate? How significant is the variation of real estate law among political subdivisions of this jurisdiction?
The provincial stamp tax may be applicable. See prior answers for additional information.
10. Must ultimate beneficial owners of entities which own real estate be disclosed as a matter of public record?
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