Cargill Inc. and Bunge Ltd. are among grain exporters that allegedly owe the Argentine government 951 million dollars in taxes and won’t be eligible for a reduced interest rate under a payment plan unveiled by the government this week.
Argentina will reduce monthly interest charges to 1.35% from 2% for some unpaid taxes that were due Feb. 28. The payments can be made in as many as 120 monthly instalments, the government said.
“Grain exporters have been excluded as they were disingenuous and therefore don’t deserve a plan to regularize their situation,” Ricardo Echegaray, head of Argentina’s Federal Administration of Public Revenue, known as AFIP, said at a press conference in Buenos Aires.
Argentina has boosted federal tax collection to 31.8% last year from 16.5% of GDP in 2002, according to the Buenos Aires-based Centre for the Implementation of Public Policies Promoting Equity and Growth.
The tax man office nation is seeking full repayment with interest from Cargill (228 million), Bunge (126.3 million), Molinos Rio de la Plata (197 million), Louis Dreyfus Corp. (141 million), Nidera SA (132 million), Vicentin SAIC (62 million), Aceitera General Deheza SA (48 million) and Oleaginosa Moreno Hermanos Sacifia (17 million).
Andres Alcaraz, a spokesman for the Argentine (cooking) oil industry chamber, Camara de la Industria Aceitera de la Republica Argentina, the nation’s association of grains exporters, declined to comment on Echegaray’s statement, but anticipated a release in coming days.
The local unit of HSBC Holdings Plc, which last week was accused of tax evasion of 224 million pesos (44 million dollars), won’t be allowed to apply either as it faces a criminal case for alleged money laundering, Echegaray said.