Political parties, governments and not civil society organizations, have been the beneficiaries of the multimillion-dollar simulated operations carried out by the billing companies, detected by the Tax Administration Service (SAT), said Jorge Villalobos Grzybowicz, president of the Mexican Center for Philanthropy (Cemefi).
In an interview, Villalobos said that the proposal of the authority to cleanse the world of corruption and abuse from authorized donees is “magnificent.” But the point is, he said, “that the data from which it starts is not correct.”
Villalobos pointed out that what worries most among the people of the “third sector”, regarding the most recent reform of the Income Tax (ISR), is that the grounds for revocation for authorized donees have increased enormously.
The authority argues that these grounds have increased just to, as the colloquial language says, have teeth and avoid abuse, in a sector in which they say there is. It doesn’t cost us, ”Villalobos said.
According to the head of Cemefi, one of the precursors of this civil society instrument, the matter comes from rule three ten fifteen, apparently caused by the mandate of the authority to go against the invoicing companies, that is, companies that carry out operations simulated, which means a damage of billions of pesos.
I can say that at Cemefi and in most of the entire sector, we are in favor of authority, it cannot be that there are simulated operations that detract and discredit the enormous work that thousands of Mexicans do in the sector of organizations and who donate to vulnerability or rights defense services, ”he said.
However, by extending these measures that go against billing companies and have surely seen it that way in the media, the main beneficiaries of billing companies have been governments and political parties. Not civil society organizations ”.
He pointed out that, if that is the reason, “it seems to us that they are, in some way, discouraging citizen participation in favor of the public good.”
Asked if these measures will restrict citizen participation to NGOs, Villalobos said that he hopes that will not happen. “There is the proposal for the initiative to reform the ISR law, we have already argued with the SAT, with the Finance Commission of deputies, of senators. It is very important to value the importance for society of the existence of a group of civil society organizations that contribute time, talent, resources for the public good, this is convenient for society, the government and everyone ”.
He recalled that for that reason, throughout the world governments encourage citizen participation with some type of tax deductions and that in the case of Mexico, donees are exempt from income tax and can also give deductible receipts for the donations they receive for purposes of the donor, “because it suits us all”.
Jorge Villalobos Grzybowicz, president of the Mexican Center for Philanthropy (Cemefi) / Photo: Archive
He said, however, that “it draws his attention, that contrary to the tradition that we had for many years, instead of encouraging, it would seem that with these reforms to the law participation is inhibited, it does not mean that it will end or much less, but there are two worrisome issues:
A new article, the 82 fourth, which now takes it to the level of the ISR law, that if you participate in a donee that was revoked and participate in another, either as a counselor, legal representative, or associate, you become an emissary cause of revocation of that other donee. Thing that lawyers explain to us is unconstitutional, because we are talking about a transcendent penalty. We have proposed that this is not going to help fight the billing companies. And if it is going to discourage you from participating voluntarily in organizations.
In other words, all the people who participate in foundations have no economic interest, there is no distribution of profits in a board of directors of a foundation or of a patronage; if there are remnants, they have to be reinvested in the corporate purpose of that grantee, “he said.
The proposal that Villalobos makes is to suppress the fifth section of article 82, in which that transcendent penalty is removed, “because that has generated a lot of concern and insecurity in the donee sector.”
The second of concern is a norm, another cause for revocation, which is that those donees who receive more than 50 percent of income not related to their corporate purpose, becomes a cause for revocation.
Well, I could say that in principle the SAT is right: an authorized donee does not have to receive more than 50 percent of income not related to its corporate purpose; There is a discussion internally in the sector, but I think that in principle it is fine.
But the SAT supports it by saying that in the authorized donee sector around 200 billion pesos are received per year, of which 47 thousand are for donations from companies and individuals, which is good data, because it has grown 6 years ago they were 34 billion.
Second data, 20 billion come from income related to the corporate purpose and then it gives an alarming figure, that 132 billion are from income not related to the corporate purpose.
We began to investigate where this data comes from and indeed it is from the transparency portal and the annual statement that we send to the SAT.
But there is a problem, those 20 billion related income refers to capital income, rental; and then there is no way to differentiate between related and unrelated income ”.
Villalobos gives an example: a hospital that is an authorized donee, all its health income, obviously related to its corporate purpose, but at the time of the annual declaration it cannot be differentiated because only one item of donations appears, another of Leasing interests and other income from other income, and in those other income, the donees have to put everything that entered, whether or not it was related to the corporate purpose.
He mentioned that it is the same case of the country’s large schools and universities, which are authorized donees, “and they cannot report in a differentiated way what is related or not. The 132 billion figure is very ambiguous, we do not know how many are related income and how much is unrelated. We already expressed this to the SAT and they responded that there was indeed no way to differentiate it and that they are doing a reengineering so that the donees can correctly report the related and related income. They say they are going to correct it ”.
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