Argentina: Kirchnerism proposes paying the IMF with an “emergency contribution” from Argentine tax evaders | International

Posters against the IMF in Buenos Aires (Argentina).
Posters against the IMF in Buenos Aires (Argentina).REUTERS

Kirchnerism wants the 45,000 million dollars that Argentina owes the IMF to be paid by Argentines who have assets and money hidden abroad. The senators who respond to the vice president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, presented a bill that creates a so-called National Fund for the cancellation of the debt with the IMF that will be financed with black silver, product of evasion. A parallel rule speeds up and facilitates requests to banks and financial entities to lift the fiscal secrecy with which they protect their clients. The project added the support of the president, Alberto Fernández, and the rejection of the opposition, which considered it “unfeasible.”

In December of last year, during a rally organized in the Plaza de Mayo, Cristina Kirchner said that the dollars to pay the IMF were, but outside the country. “No, Argentina does not lack dollars, they have dollars abroad. They took them away. We need the Fund to help us recover them from the tax havens where billions of dollars have gone in evasion so that we can pay them,” said the vice president. According to the reading of Kirchnerism, those who took the dollars were those who supported the credit that Mauricio Macri requested from the Fund in 2018, once the world had closed the tap on private financing. During the opening of sessions of Congress, on March 1, the president, Alberto Fernández, recalled that there is an open court case against the alleged flight of capital that followed the entry of the dollars contributed by the multilateral.

Weeks later, Argentina agreed with the IMF to refinance the debt, a text that did not sit well with Kirchnerism. The deputies and senators who respond to Kirchner voted in Congress against the agreement and against the interests of the government they comprise. The fracture was consummated during the celebrations of the 46th anniversary of the military coup, on March 24. La Cámpora, the group led by Máximo Kirchner, son of the vice president, mobilized 70,000 people with slogans against the IMF and harsh criticism of Fernández. Now it has been the turn of the senators, with a bill in accordance with the Kirchnerist reading of the debt but difficult to specify.

“It is about creating a fund to pay the debt contracted by the previous government of Mauricio Macri of 45,000 million dollars; that those who historically benefited from it, or who escaped it, pay that debt and not the Argentine people. This does not affect the existing agreement between the Government and the IMF and has the collaboration and approval of the President”, explained Senator Juliana Di Tulio, who is very close to Cristina Kirchner. To find these funds, another law is promoted that enables “to have the information of those who took (currency) out of the country, opening secrets, what amount they took out and through what instrument,” added the senator in dialogue with Radio With You.

According to the text of the project, the contribution of those who have undeclared assets or currency abroad must pay the Argentine treasury 20% of the undeclared value. After six months of entry into force of the law, the contribution rises to 32%. The authors of the proposal estimated that as of December 31, 2021 “there are 417,507 million dollars of Argentines abroad and/or outside the institutionalized financial system of our country.” “Of them, only 69,000 million dollars are declared before the AFIP (the collection office), according to the personal property tax for the year 2020.” The recipients of the law are those who “benefited from IMF resources, leaked currency from Argentina and did not declare it.” It is they, says the text, who “must make the greatest tax effort and to whom this bill ultimately points to pay off the debt with the Fund.”

The law under study could be a tax amnesty, like the one that allowed Macri to detect 100,000 million dollars during his administration. But unlike the former, this one is only partially voluntary. If approved, the State will have more tracking power, with the participation, for example, of prosecutors, until now prevented from requesting the opening of a banking secret. The figure of the “collaborator” is also created, as those who facilitate the discovery of goods and undeclared money will be called. In exchange, the collaborator will receive up to 30% of what is obtained for his information. Another novelty is that payments must be in dollars and not in pesos, the local currency.

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Cristina Fernández de Kirchner has taken very seriously the possibility of a contribution from tax evaders. This was made known to the United States ambassador, Marc Stanley, during a meeting held last Monday in his office in the Senate. All in all, it is difficult for the law to pass the filter of Congress, where the ruling party does not have a majority in either of the two Chambers.

The opposition has already announced that it will not vote for what they consider a new tax. It also ensures that the State already has tools to pursue evasion and, above all, that it intends to collect on assets that it does not even know if they exist. “How are they going to tax assets that are not declared? The new tax that they seek to create is inapplicable,” summed up Deputy Mario Negri, president of the opposition bloc in the Lower House.

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