Photo via Marco Trade News

The day has come. “Door to door” shopping and shipping service — i.e. buying items online from abroad and having them delivered directly to your house —  is here. Cue the apocalyptic music of your choice. Carmina Burana is always encouraged. Get that toilet paper roll in you wrote all the things you really needed to buy on.

This is how you will finally get your hands on the full box set of Seinfeld’s season one.

The new system establishes that people will not be able to buy items for commercial purposes (i.e. re-sell them here in Argentina) nor will they be able to buy three of the same product, meaning that unless you are Mark Zuckerberg and your wardrobe is composed by 25 grey T-shirts, or relied on door-to-door to set up your illegal i-Phone selling business, you’ll probably be fine. However, there are little to no restrictions on what can be imported: iPhones, toys, food and textiles have all been authorized.

Items entering the country now can be delivered either by Correo Argentino (the official mail service) or by other couriers like DHL, UPS and Fedex. Though they all share similar characteristics, there are certain differences regarding weight limits and monetary value.

The new rules concerning online shopping in Argentina are:

  • Be registered in AFIP’s database: First and foremost, you must have a CUIT/CUIL and fiscal key including all your personal data (registered signature, photo and fingerprint)

  • Weight and price tag: for Correo Argentino, the limits are up to 2 kilos and US $200. If the product if heavier than two kilos, you will do have to go to the customs agency to get the package.For courier services, they’re set at 50 kilos and US $1,000.

  • Number of items: Correo Argentino places no limits on the number of items delivered, while private couriers have a limit of five deliveries per person per calendar year.
  • Items under US $25: if the item you purchase is valued at less than US $25, no charge is incurred. This benefit only applies to Correo Argentino, however.
  • Electronic payment receipt (VEP):  if the purchase was made via Correo Argentino, it is the buyer’s duty to obtain this receipt on AFIP’s website. If it was made via another courier, the company should provide the VEP.
  • Taxes: tax is set at 50 percent of the value of the goods if the product arrives via Correo Argentino. Private couriers do not apply the 50 percent.
  • Get a notification by AFIP: as of today, you will get a notification from AFIP when the product arrives to the country. If you’re using Correo Argentino, you will have to go to AFIP’s website and pay the 50 percent tax in order to get it green-lit. In this case, as mentioned before, the product will thus be delivered to your location if it weights less than two kilos.
  • Notifying AFIP: Regardless of whether you’re using Correo Argentino or courier service, consumers must notify AFIP within 30 days once they have received their items.

Correo Argentino authorities told Clarín they are all set up to face the challenge, with over 1,500 trucks especially tasked with delivering door-to-door products. Back in March, Alberto Abad, the head of the tax collection agency (AFIP), promised to reform the online purchasing system, saying he’d put an end to the “infamous lines of people” waiting to pick up items purchased from abroad at the customs offices in Retiro. Ever since, online orders went up by 30 percent and, according to postal service authorities, they expect a new boost now.

The trouble with package delivery dates back to 2014, when former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner decided to restrict the purchase of products from foreign websites in order to presumably prevent the flow of dollars out of the country. The new restrictions meant that customers could only purchase a maximum of two items a year, and effectively ended door-to-door courier services.

Times they are a-changin’.