On Friday, a one-time tax in Argentina went into effect in order to finance the purchase of medical supplies related to “Covid-19”, as well as help small companies affected by the epidemic.
The Senate passed a law in December with a majority of 42 votes to 26, imposing a tax on people whose assets exceed 200 million pesos (about $ 2.3 million).
The center-left government headed by Alberto Fernandez hopes to collect about $ 3 billion from this tax, which will affect 12,000 wealthy people of Argentina’s 44 million people, 40% of whom live below the poverty line.
Starting from Friday, the national tax authority can calculate the amounts owed by taxpayers and claim them.
Under the law, those subject to tax pay 3.5% on declared assets in the country, and 5.25% on assets abroad.
The proceeds will be used to purchase medical equipment, aid small and medium enterprises, finance social assistance, and provide gas for people not connected to the network.
The opposition center-right parties criticized this measure, describing it as a “confiscation” of funds, while other sectors expressed their fear that the tax would become permanent.
Argentina is one of the countries most affected by the Coronavirus, with 1.9 million infections and more than 47,000 deaths.
The epidemic has exacerbated poverty in a country that has been stagnant since 2018, with an unemployment rate of 11.7%.
And on Monday, Oxfam said, in its annual report on economic inequality, that the world’s 10 richest people “compensated for their losses from (Covid-19) in 9 months, while the poorest may take more than a decade to recover.”
The report said, “The 10 richest people in the world have collectively increased their fortunes by half a trillion dollars since the start of the epidemic, which is more than enough to secure (Covid-19) vaccines for everyone.”
Oxfam believed that “progressive taxes” on the rich are the key to a fair recovery from the crisis, noting that Argentina “paved the way” through the temporary solidarity wealth tax.