So you may have dreams of buying up some rental property in the historic San Telmo district of Buenos Aires, renting to foreigners coming to learn tango in one of the most cosmopolitan, colorful cities on earth. Perhaps you want to buy some property in Mendoza and convert it to a place where wine lovers from all over the world can rest after a day of drinking endless Malbec in the Andes. Maybe Patagonia has your eye, either something on the ocean for whale and penguin watching, or something more remote and mountainous towards Chile – a fly fisherman’s dream. The vision is great – but the real question is, can it hold up under the intense frustration of bureaucracy to which any foreigner who has tried to do business in Argentina can attest?
Let’s just put it this way…after more than 3 years of living in Argentina, I still do not have a bank account there. If it were as easy as walking in, showing some ID, giving an address and some personal info – trust me, I would have one. There is a reason that I choose to pay astronomical ATM fees to take money out of my US bank account every time I need money. The money I spend is WELL worth the hassle of avoiding the bureaucracy of the Argentine banking system.
Trying to set up a rock solid entity for doing business legally in Argentina? I can only imagine the migraines (good thing Argentina happens to be a country of phenomenal wine – you would need it!).
Unfortunately, I have seen too many foreign investors give up on an amazing project or opportunity just because they did not factor in the time, energy and money it takes to make the most seemingly straightforward things happen in Argentina.
What’s the answer – besides lots of money, connections, and being blessed with the patience of a saint? Buying an already formed shell corporation, one that is ready to do business in Argentina.A shell corporation is a company that serves as a vehicle for business transactions without itself having any significant assets or operations. Considering that it takes time and money to obtain the benefits of the shell, a shell has significant value even if it does not currently have any assets. Basically, you are paying for the convenience of someone else already having done the work to set it up. Another benefit of a shell is that it provides anonymity within certain parts of your business, which is important for liability or if you just do not want the entire world knowing where you invest your money.
And in case you are wondering, yes, shell corporations are legal, by both US and Argentine standards.
If you are wanting to do business as a foreigner in Argentina, I urge you to look into buying an already formed shell corporation. There are websites you can go to (some more legit and credible than others), and you can see your options, or you can put the word out on expat forums.
If real estate is what you are looking to buy, I know of a shell company presently available. The legal work to form the company entity was done by Marval, O’Farrell and Mairal, a top Buenos Aires law firm, so you know that the paperwork was not just thrown together by a previous frustrated expat who did not know what he or she was doing. It has zero corporate activity, zero transactions, and is in good standing (incredibly important when you are doing your due diligence on which shell to buy). This particular shell comes with an already set up HSBC bank account and a website all ready to handle the short-term rental of properties, http://mstreetrentals.com/.All you would have to do is swap out the old photos and info on the website for yours and you could be up and running in no time.
This company took almost 11 months to form. Just the bank account itself took nearly 6 months to open. The people who set the company up already sold the real estate that it was created for, so it is not needed any longer. It is worth approximately $8000US (they have over $10,000 and almost a year of time and energy into it), but are willing to look at offers. Serious inquiries can contact David Garrett of http://stonesentinelcapital.com/by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.