İrem UZUN -TDO- A one-off tax on Argentina's richest people comes into effect to help pay for medical supplies and relief for businesses struggling due to COVID-19. Those with assets of more than 200 million pesos ($2.3m) will have to pay on assets declared within the country and held abroad. It will apply to around 12,000 people. More than 40 per cent of the country's population lives under the poverty line.

A law passed by the Senate in December by a vote of 42-26 approved. The center-left government of President Alberto Fernandez hopes to raise about US$3 billion from taxing the richest 12,000 of Argentina's 44 million inhabitants. Under the law, those who are taxable will pay up to 3.5 per cent on assets declared within the country, and up to 5.25 per cent on assets held abroad. The proceeds will be used to buy medical supplies, aid small and medium enterprises, fund social aid, and to provide natural gas to people off the energy grid.

The tax has been criticized as “confiscatory” by members of the center-right Juntos por el Cambio opposition coalition, while the Argentine Rural Society – which advocates for large farmers, upon whom Argentina’s economy is heavily dependent – reportedly fears the tax becoming permanent. However it was heavily praised by Oxfam, global anti-poverty charity, which cited the “practical and necessary” levy as having “shown the way” for other countries to follow.

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