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English Editorial EL UNIVERSAL

Leveled playing field in taxes



02 July 2015

There are two reasons for which tax payers should care about convenience stores not taxing processed foods and not being audited for that.


First, because Mexico's Tax Agency (SAT) has become more strict with tax evasion. This, along with the increases approved as part of the tax reform, has been good for public finances. Until May this year Mexico had received 1.4 billion pesos in taxes, 28.8% more than in the same period in 2014.


However, it was the same old tax payers who contributed with the largest percentage via the income tax (ISR).


The second reason is the laxity with which tax authorities have taken the issue, because it turns out to be that convenience stores have evaded this tax for 15 years. And the SAT itself has said that it does not plan to audit the evading companies. Would they have the same tolerance with tax payers that fail to pay their contributions?


Collecting as many taxes as possible is especially important now because, until May 2015, oil sales -the main income source for Mexico- had dropped 40.6% compared to the same period last year. And specialists expect oil prices to remain low throughout the decade.


The alternative of fiscal deficit or debt is very risky, as Greece has proven. Therefore, tax collection and savings are the only tools for the federal government to cover the country's main needs.


Should we have special considerations with the producers of sandwiches and other kinds of processed food even if Mexico ranks second in obesity levels?


It could be argued, as it once said about sodas, that healthy food is not always available to all the population and, therefore, making this kind of food more expensive could affect the poorest people. Even if this premise was true, other measures could be adopted to compensate the lack of this kind of food in the Mexican diet.


In times of austerity the State should make an effort to level the playing field in taxes. 


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