I landed in Aeroparque yesterday morning and the AFIP button was gone. Provided the pole was still there, the push-button was replaced by a steel door with a locker (suggesting that the button could still be there, just hidden). Instead, a lady from AFIP next to the pole was asking individually something, which determined which bag scanning machine you had to go through.
I didn't understand the question and said in English "I am sorry?" to which she changed faced and told me to just go. Likely, she was either asking for your nationality or where you were traveling from (this is what I was asked last yeast after putting my luggage on the scanner belt).
So, for the first time ever I haven't been scanned when entering the country, for the mere fact of being taken for a tourist. A strategy not guaranteed to work, of course. This was a great relief for me, as my mother had given me as a gift a new smartphone which alone is worth well over the 300USD AFIP threshold, despite my plead to not do so because of the AFIP draconian rules. My mother seems unable to understand this thing and just ignores it, offering to buy me stuff while I am in Italy because "they are my gifts to you". On the last leg of my trip I was anxiously sweating over my mother's gifts, which prompted me in a very red area (I had other purchases done abroad, such as a hard disk, memories, protective screen films etc).
Besides, the paper slip (declaración jurada) still reported 300 USD as the limit for tax-free duty free purchases, which was raised to 500 USD last year. At the AEP duty free at arrivals, there were three JVC TVs for sales, the cheaper being USD599 and the most expensive priced at 899USD.
This 500 USD increase was officially made to align with the limits in force in other Mercosur countries, but I have been trying to corroborate this information to no avail. I would be curious to know if also other Mercosur residents/citizens are scanned and taxed for their purchases abroad.
Anyway, I don't understand why the duty free purchases have a higher threshold and I do not understand where the 300 USD limit comes from... this is well below an average salary, especially the average salary of an Argentinian who can take vacations abroad.
Argentina: aumenta a 500 dólares el límite de compras libres de impuestos en free shops
La AFIP explicó que la nueva medida "apunta a equiparar la franquicia libre de impuestos con los valores vigentes en el Mercosur".