Who is AFIP in Argentina?
AFIP in Argentina is the Government department that deals with Taxes, Imports and Social Security – officially known as Administración Federal de Ingresos Públicos. In short, AFIP is the watchdog in Argentina and believe me nothing escape their watchful eye. They have empty pockets that never seem to fill.
On-line shopping and international packages coming into Argentina.
Purchasing goods from China is very tempting for Argentines. Why? It is cheap (a lot cheaper than in Argentina) and many items are simply not available here. People love to troll sites like DHgate, Ebay, AlsoTao, Alibaba, Deal Extreme and Alieexpress, in search for a bargain or necessity.
Finding items are easy but after you have made payment, that is where things get confusing. AFIP has recently introduced restrictions in terms of purchasing goods from another country and then bringing it into Argentina. How do these restriction affect the consumer?
AFIP and restrictions. What is being restricted?
AFIP has restricted the number of orders that a person can place in Argentina to two a year. In other words, you are allowed to purchase two items per year from merchants and then bring it into the country. If you want to bring in a third item, then you need to register as an importer.
Import taxes and other fees.
AFIP allows you to spend 25 USD per year for two packages. Anything above that is subject to a 50% import fee. They calculate the value of the package plus shipping fees and a 50% tax is levied on this.
What if I use a Courier service like DHL?
If you order the goodies from a Chinese site and ask DHL to deliver it, then technically it shouldn´t be subject to the tax. The reason being that the items is delivered to your door. However, AFIP got clever and these packages are now also subject to tax. In this case the tax on the shipping fees will incur a much higher cost than the normal postal service. (DHL is expensive).
Foreigners with a tourist visa bringing packages into Argentina.
Foreigners living in Buenos Aires still need to go to AFIP to claim their packages. They levy a fee to claim your package. Call it a handling fee if you want. What if you live in the “interior”? You should receive notification from the local Postal Office that a package is waiting for you. There you will have to pay the same fee before you can claim your package.
Argentines or people with permanent residency,need to complete forms that is available on the AFIP webpage. Here you need to provide either your DNI (Social security number), CUIT or CUIL.
The good news!
If you live in Argentina and your family send you care packages, then you will be pleased to know, that there is a different rule. In terms of the Argentine law, packages of 10,000 USD are allowed PER MONTH!
The sad reality in Argentina.
Each case in Argentina is different. You might receive your package at home without any problems or you might have problems every time. Be prepared for the worse case scenario. Also keep in mind that if you pay with your Argentine credit card, you will be levied an additional 35% tax. This is because Argentina has currency restrictions as well and you pay an additional tax to be able to “purchase” foreign currency. Consider all the costs before you are making an on-line purchase. It could cost you a lot more.
Receiving packages in Argentina is a complicating matter and the restrictions are not helping. Let´s hope things will improve in the future.