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Covid-19: Argentina Passes ‘Millionaire’s Tax’ To Pay For Virus Measures

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Argentina

Argentina on Saturday, 5 December, passed a new tax on its wealthiest people to pay for medical supplies and relief measures amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, France 24 reports.

Senators passed the bill of the millionaire’s tax by 42 votes to 26, those with assets worth more than 200 million pesos ($2.5m, £1.8m) will have to pay.

Argentina has recorded close to 1.5 million infections and almost 40,000 deaths from the coronavirus.

The country has been hit hard by the pandemic, becoming the fifth country worldwide to report one million confirmed cases in October despite only having a population of about 45 million people, making it the smallest nation at the time to surpass that figure.

Lockdown measures have further dented the economy struggling with unemployment, high poverty levels and massive government debt because  Argentina has been in recession since 2018.

One of the law’s authors said it would only affect about 0.8% of taxpayers and those affected will pay a progressive rate of up to 3.5% on wealth in Argentina and up to 5.25% outside the country.

According to reports, out of the money raised 20% will go to medical supplies, 20% to relief for small and medium-sized businesses, 20% to scholarships for students, 15% to social developments and the remaining 25% to natural gas ventures.

Centre-left president Alberto Fernandez’s government hopes to raise 300 billion pesos.

But opposition groups fear it will discourage foreign investors and that it will not be a one-time tax.

Centre-right party Juntos por el Cambio reportedly described it as confiscatory.

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