Bringing Money Into Argentina
A reader recently left a comment on a discussion about bringing money into the country. There was some confusion over this, so I wanted to try and clear things up.
So, it seems no one has a solution [to the problem of bring money into Argentina] besides bringing in cash under $10,000 [when traveling]? I am involved in a business that requires money to be transferd to Argentina. Money that can not go down with a person. Any suggestions, comments, contacts would be greatly appreciated.
This is really sad for Argentina.
You Can Bring Money In
There is no problem bringing money into the country. If you're a legal resident you can transfer money to your bank account. The problem is that property here is priced in dollars and that's what people are usually bringing the money in for.
This presents a dilemma. The Argentina Central Bank converts all incoming wires into pesos. You can't wire-in dollars. That means when you convert the pesos back to dollars, you've lost 7-10% of your money, depending on what rates you get. That's a huge sum of money to lose on a wire transfer. To further complicate matters, the central bank sometimes withholds 30% of the amount of the transfer for a year, to make sure you are not a speculator.
There are various financial firms, private parties, money brokers, etc. out there that will let you do a wire transfer in dollars. They maintain a bank account in the U.S. and let you make a transfer into that account. After receiving the sum in the U.S., they give you cash in a bag here in Argentina.
Even though the financial firm you are dealing with may be a well respected legal entity here in Argentina, the operation they just carried out for you is extra-legal. The law of the land is that all transfers must go through the Central Bank. Someone told me the term for this is "blue money" -- not quite black money from drugs or something else illegal, but not exactly 100% legal either.
Despite this, virtually everyone transfers their money using one of these firms. But since this service is typically unadvertised, you'll need to have a contact or a referral. Usually this will come from your real estate agent or from your Argentine business parter (they all know someone), etc.
If you're operating a business, however, you should check with your accountant before using something like this. I've heard from people in the real estate industry here and they say that eventually the government may ask people to document the source of the income used to purchase the apartment. This would probably happen when you sold the apartment. They say there might be some hoops to jump through if you can't show that you transfered the money in a legal way, but no one really knows. Its all speculation at this point.