▲ Branch of the chain in the country’s capital.Photo Yazmín Ortega Cortés

Braulio Carbajal

La Jornada newspaper
Tuesday May 26, 2020, p. twenty-one

Walmart reported yesterday that after reaching an agreement with the Tax Administration Service (SAT) it paid 8,779 million pesos for back taxes.

On April 8, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador reported that 15 large companies had tax debts of 50 billion pesos, an amount that the SAT seeks to recover. Subsequently, the collecting agency explained that the debts corresponded to fiscal years from 2018 backwards.

In a statement sent to the Mexican Stock Exchange, the country’s largest retail chain explained that this amount is to conclude substantial tax matters.

These, he detailed to his investors, include the review of the sale of the Vips restaurant chain, previously disclosed, and other essential issues.

He added that the aforementioned payment will be recorded in its consolidated income statement for the three months that will end on June 30, 2020, that is, during the second quarter.

During the first quarter of 2020 Walmart de México y Centroamérica reported a net profit of 9 thousand 997 million pesos, a figure slightly higher than what was paid to the Mexican treasury.

On February 18, the SAT required Walmart de México y Centroamérica to pay back taxes of more than 10.5 billion pesos.

At that time the collecting agency explained that the amount owed to the treasury was due to alleged differences in the payment of taxes for the purchase operation of the Vips restaurant division by Alsea carried out in 2014.

In that year, the retailer sold 362 units to the restaurant and cafeteria operator, of which 263 were Vips, 90 El Portón, seven Ragazzi and two La Finca, all for an approximate amount of 8,200 million pesos.

The figure claimed by the SAT is for that operation between both brands, to which it added update, surcharges and fines generated from 2014 to date.

In response, Walmart assured at the time that it was not creating a fund to make the payment, since its lawyers considered that they had the elements to sustain the validity of the operations it carried out with Alsea.

Also last February, the SAT demanded that Alsea pay 3,881 million pesos in taxes. This, as a result of the same operation with Walmart.

To the foregoing, the restaurant operator assured that he was in the process of challenging the resolution of the collection agency of the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit, either through administrative or judicial channels.

The company and its external attorneys consider that Alsea has sufficient elements to demonstrate that the settlement made by the SAT is inadmissible and to demonstrate that Alsea has complied with its tax obligations in time and form with respect to the aforementioned sale transaction, and therefore a provision is not being created in this regard.

So far, Alsea has not disclosed the progress of the challenge against the SAT lawsuit, nor has it reached an agreement with the body such as Walmart.