Argentina hikes taxes on dollar savings and bank card purchases ahead of Milei taking power

(Reuters) – Argentina on Thursday raised taxes on U.S. dollar purchases destined for savings or made with bank cards to protect the central bank’s limited reserves, weeks before President-elect Javier Milei assumes office on Dec. 10.

The measure was announced in Argentina’s Official Gazette and stated that the advance payment of income tax increased to 100% from 45%.

The change means that Argentines using dollar credit cards or buying foreign currency for savings will pay rates closer to those in alternative markets.

The decision was guided by considerations of tax management and fairness, the statement said.

This change comes after libertarian Milei, who proposes dollarizing Argentina’s economy and eliminating the central bank, defeated the Peronist Economy Minister Sergio Massa in a presidential run-off on Sunday.

The Argentine currency market is strained due to expectations of the peso’s devaluation. To safeguard its limited foreign currency, Argentina set multiple exchange rates under strict controls in 2019.

(Reporting by Walter Bianchi; Writing by Natalia Siniawski; Edited by Eliana Raszewski and Marguerita Choy)