Walmart Mexico pays the Mexican government over MXN$8 billion in back taxes

Walmart de Mexico paid billions in taxes for its 2014 sale of the Vips restaurant chain to Alsea

Walmart Mexico pays the Mexican government over MXN$8 billion in back taxes
Photo: José Cabezas/EL UNIVERSAL
English 26/05/2020 14:24 Newsroom & Agencies Mexico City Antonio Hernández/EL UNIVERSAL & Newsroom/AP Actualizada 13:42

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Walmart de Mexico said Monday it has paid the Mexican government about MXN $8.079 billion in taxes for its 2014 sale of a restaurant chain known as Vips after tax authorities demanded it.

The payment appears to mark a victory for President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who has railed against what he claims is tax evasion by big companies.

Walmart confirmed Monday it had paid the tax bill, but it was unclear if Alsea, the buyer, would have to pay anything as well. Alsea, which operates restaurant chains, claimed it had paid all its taxes.

López Obrador has played hardball with companies before. In 2019 he forced gas pipeline companies to renegotiate contracts he said cost too much.

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López Obrador forced companies from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico to restructure fees and accept about 30% lower profit margins.

Walmart de Mexico said in a statement addressed to Mexico’s Stock Market that “The payment will be registered in our consolidated three months results status that will end on June 30, 2020.”

On February 18, Walmart informed that tax authorities demanded MXN $10.5 billion for taxes, fees, and penalties that resulted from the sale in 2014.

“Tax authorities reviewed the sale operation of the Vips restaurants division to Alsea and issued a jeopardy assessment in which they demand payment for alleged differences in tax payment which, until December 31, 2019, represented MXN $10,559,000,000.00, including taxes, penalties, and update,” Walmart said on February.

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Back then, the firm said it was in a revocation process and that there had not been actions to comply with the authorities’ requirement.

Also in February, Alsea informed that the SAT asked for MXN $3,881,000,000.00 in taxes for purchasing Vips restaurants from Walmart de Mexico.

Alsea informed that its external lawyers consider the firm has enough elements to show that the SAT’s requirement is unfounded and they will prove the firm has properly complied with the tax liabilities related to the purchase of Vips.

Alsea is currently assessing the legal alternatives it has to challenge the resolution through administrative or judicial means,” said the company.

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