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Argentinian Customs Duties To Shut Down E-Commerce

by Mike Godfrey,, Washington

29 January 2014

Through resolutions No 3,579 and No 3,582, Argentina's Revenue and Customs Authority (AFIP) has expanded customs duties on goods entering Argentina through postal services. E-commerce companies will be badly affected by the move.

Unless they fall within a specific exemption, Argentine consumers will have to register with AFIP as importers and pay a 50 percent customs duty. To this effect, payment must be made online through AFIP's central VEP system. Consumers will then need to show the payment receipt and a form No 4,550/T (purchases from overseas suppliers) to the Customs Subdivision (DGA) or the official postal service. In other words, consumers will be effectively treated as importers.

There are only two USD25 small value item exemptions allowed per calendar year and these can only be applied to drugs, certain works of art, and other DGA-approved basic items.

In fact, Argentina is looking forward to practically shutting down e-commerce transactions with Argentine consumers. This is not just about revenue protection, but rather about foreign exchange controls. Argentina is actively trying to protect the peso, which is currently under intense pressure. By making offshore e-commerce transactions so difficult, Argentina aims to reduce its currency outflows. Other similar restrictions recently imposed by Argentina include: taxation of overseas holidays, banning outbound dividends to overseas shareholders, import restrictions, and prohibition of many FX transactions.

As emerging currencies are having a hard time at the moment, Argentina is not the only country trying to reduce transactions with overseas online retailers. Russia and Australia are also reportedly considering taxing and/or restricting parcels from e-commerce companies. However, Argentina's rules are likely to be particularly tough, for there are virtually no meaningful exemptions.

TAGS: tax | commerce | offshore e-commerce | offshore | e-commerce | dividends | currency | retail | Argentina | services | Other

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