A couple of days ago the Argentinian government imposed a 20% tax on every ticket or vacation package purchased within Argentina, or on the web from within Argentina, if the destination is outside Argentina. It's part of the government's efforts to keep Argentinians at home, which is part of the effort to conserve Dollars within the Argentinian banking system. If you pay income taxes in Argentina, you are (supposedly) going to receive (eventually) a credit for the travel tax paid, against your income taxes. What about if you are a foreigner buying such a ticket or package, for example a ticket on the Buquebus ferry to go to Colonia or Montevideo?
I bought such a Buquebus ticket today, as a foreigner, in person at a Buquebus office in BA. The sales agent told me the 20% tax is being added automatically to every ticket, no matter the nationality of the purchaser, and that there's supposed to be some kind of procedure (eventually) for foreigners to get the tax back (maybe). She told me the price of my ticket, supposedly with tax included, and sent me to the cashier to pay. The cashier asked me for identification showing I was a foreigner, then pulled up the price on his computer, and it was less than the agent had told me -- about 16% less. I did not ask him why, not wanting to raise any flags. With ticket in hand, I went back to the sales agent to ask why the cashier might have charged me less than she, the agent, had told me. She said it was because her system just gave an "approximation," while the cashier's system was "exact." She assured me the 20% tax was included in the price the cashier had charged me.
So I'm not sure what to tell people here: Maybe you have to pay the tax as a foreigner, maybe not. But it appears sales agents at Buquebus, at least, think you do.
By the way, the cashier was asking Argentinians for their Argentinian identity number (DNI), and entering that number in his computer and waiting for some kind of "response," presumably from the tax authorities, before selling the tickets. That slowed things down for everyone in line. So, be prepared for that.
Maybe someone else has good information on whether foreigners in fact have to pay this tax.