The Argentine executive branch has established new export duties applicable to goods and services. These new export duties were established by a Decree of the Executive Power (Decree No. 793/2018) issued on September 3, 2018 and published at the official Gazette on September 4, 2018, with immediate effect for the export of goods.
The effective date for the application of export duties on services is expected to be January 1, 2019, as the government would need Congress to enact a law providing for such export duties.
The new export duties on goods and services are among the measures being applied by the Macri Administration with the goal of reducing Argentina’s fiscal deficit.
The new export duties, which amount to 12 percent of the value of the exported goods and/or services, include a cap of AR$3 or AR$4 for each US dollar of exports, depending on the kind of exported good or service. These new export duties apply in addition to any other export duties already in force.
The authority of the executive branch to create or impose taxes or import/export duties without Congressional approval is questionable. Although the Argentine Customs Code provides the executive branch with wide power to establish import/export duties, such delegation has been challenged before the federal courts on constitutional grounds.
The Argentine Federal Supreme Court, in its ruling in Camaronera Patagónica, dated April 15, 2014, established that the executive branch is not entitled to create or impose taxes or export duties, even when reasons of urgency, crisis or financial needs are invoked, claiming that, pursuant to the Argentine Constitution, taxes fall under the scope of the legislative branch’s authority, not the executive’s.
DLA Piper Argentina’s tax team has initiated a protective action (amparo) and requested an injunction before the federal courts, in order to challenge the constitutionality of Decree No. 793/2018.