Work Abroad but earn in USD

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Getting Stuff Into Argentina Tax Free

I received a comment today from a reader asking more about the import tax situation, so I want to respond to that for today's issue. The questions are below:

Reader's Comment

Do you know what the rules are on import duties for people who bring personal property into Argentina with them? Say a family moves there, intending to stay several years, but only brings what they can take on the plane with them. Would they have to pay the 50% tax on electronics & other goods brought in?

Importing Personal Goods At The Airport

When you arrive in Ezeiza International Aiport, you clear immigrations first and then go to customs to pick-up your bags. As you depart the airport, customs will x-ray your bags. It seems to me that the best way to approach this would be to act like you're a tourist and just try to clear customs without payment of any tax. If they know you're a resident, things are going to get a lot more complicated. They're going to try and tax you -- and then you're stuck arguing with a customs officer in Spanish about the value of your goods. Not fun.

Importing Personal Goods By Container

If you have a lot of stuff to bring into the country, you can send it in a shipping container. The good news is that if you have a temporary residency visa, you will be able to bring in personal goods tax free. The bad news is that you will need to purchase an bond from an insurance company which costs about 10% of the goods' declared value. But, this will let you ship in a whole lot of stuff via a container. Worse, is that you have to pay this 10% bond each year that you live in Argentina until you get your permanent residency visa.

What I Decided

Since I'm not shipping my whole house, I decided not to go the container route. I'm going through the airport and I'm bringing a ton of electronics into the country in my suitcases, but its all stuff that is reasonable for a traveller to bring. Here's some of the stuff I'm going to try and get away with bringing in tax & bond free:

  • Camera, Camcorder, Accessories
  • Laptop Computer, Accessories
  • Digital Projector (since I can't bring a TV, I'll use a projector to get my big screen)
  • Video Converter For Projector (allows it to work on Argentina TV signals)
  • MP3 Player, Portable DVD Player, 200+ DVDs/CDs in a CD Binder
That's it! I'm going to buy the rest of my electronics there. The big issue for me was getting a big screen TV without spending $10,000 in Argentina. With a digital projector ($2000-$3000), I'll be able to setup a dedicated home theater in one of the rooms in my apartment. That'll give me a 100+ inch screen and I'll be a happy camper. My family is also planning on visiting me a few months after I move down there, so you better believe that each time I have a visitor, I'm going to have a shopping list of stuff I'll ask them to bring me.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi..first of all I'd like to say thank you for all the priceless information you provide here on moving to Argentina. I will be moving to Argentina soon, but will be splitting my time between my job in Miami and my home in Buenos Aires that I will be setting up shortly. My question to you is about electronics such as VoIP systems and wireless equipment. I'd like to set up a VoIP system at home in Argentina but do you know if it will work on the electrical current there? The same goes for the telephone...if I bring one will I be able to plug it in or if I buy one in Bs As will it be compatible with the VoIP system? What about my Linksys wireless router? Can I use that there or I do I need a local one? Can I get away easily with bringing these small items in to the country? Any info you can provide me will be greatly appreciated...thanks!

6/04/2005 10:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes!great post, so usefull!!!
I've been searching this kind of information for a long time...
When you say "have to pay the 50% tax on electronics & other goods brought in" what do you mean by "other goods"?books?CDs?
Is there a place for me to look for more info?
Thank you really very much!


10/15/2008 09:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey, i am currently studying in buenos aires for 4 more months. my mom wants to send me an iphone from california to me here. whats the best way to do that? first lowering costs and if thats not possible whats the safest surest way?



9/30/2010 08:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My advice, do not send anything in the container. It is better to pack everything even if it is going to be 5 suitcases and pay for the extra language. I just moved to BA from London and I decided to ship everything. I spent months trying to get my used clothes, books and other crap which turned out to be worth 5x less then all those final charges asked by the aduana.

5/23/2012 08:24:00 PM  

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