The “grey zone” left by the AFIP and a conflict defused

There is an area of the new regulation published yesterday by the AFIP regarding the PAIS tax that will surely generate controversy: during the 16 days between December 23 and Monday, the Government not only did not deny, but implicitly encouraged people to buy their tickets abroad through Aerolíneas Argentinas, or through the other airlines based abroad: LAN Argentina, and the “low cost” Flybondi and JetSmart.

It was the Chief of Staff, Santiago Cafiero himself, who on the morning of December 24, a few hours after the law was published in the Official Gazette, gave the impression that Aerolíneas and its local competitors were going to be exempted from the tax: “Tickets in pesos are in pesos. Current expenses made in dollars carry 30%, but those that are not in dollars do not carry it”.

The new government of the Fernandez family, under the magnifying glass of Ignacio Miri.
Now it turns out they do. The airlines confirmed to Clarín that all “non-land” tickets to destinations outside Argentina pay the PAIS tax. The same happens with those purchased from other airlines that fly abroad with locally registered planes.

“We will have to be attentive to what is resolved, since not only can it generate conflicts between the airlines and the clients, but there can also be lawsuits,” said Sandra González, from the consumer defense organization Adecua. In principle, the AFIP’s resolution does not establish any exceptions: all tickets issued abroad as of Dec. 23 pay 30% tax.

On the contrary, the Government’s decision to make a clean sweep of all air and river tickets abroad defused a potential conflict with foreign airlines. Yesterday afternoon, lawyers and accountants from these airlines based in the country had met at the headquarters of the chamber that groups them, Jurca, to analyze the impact of the AFIP regulations. As they entered the meeting, in the office located in Carlos Pellegrini and Santa Fe, they learned through Clarín.com the news that the tickets of airlines abroad will also pay 30%. Three of the attendees assured this newspaper that they would pay 30%.

“From Aerolíneas they confirmed that Aerolíneas will be in charge of presenting the tax system, on behalf of Argentina, to the International Airline Association (IATA),” said one of them. “The systems will be loaded in 72 hours maximum”, they added.

Another of the attendees at that meeting, an old acquaintance of the new head of airlines, Pablo Ceriani, said that the decision of the flag carrier was to save himself headaches. “The U.S. airlines were already putting together a claim for unfair treatment. But they didn’t need to go that far. Can you imagine (Jair) Bolsonaro missing such an opportunity?

Andrew Francis

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