Juarez residents accuse local utility company of an alleged illegal tax bill

Juarez residents accuse local utility company of an alleged illegal tax bill
KTSM/Benjamin Zamora

POSTED: Monday, January 13, 2014 - 8:33pm

UPDATED: Thursday, January 16, 2014 - 5:24pm

An unexpected outcome came for thousands of Juarez residents after Mexican border states were forced to raise their sales tax this year.

On Monday morning, dozens of residents gathered to protest outside the Consumer Protection Agency (PROFECO) after they said a local utility company improperly charged them the recently approved 16% tax for the December gas bill although the new taxing law went into effect until January 1st.

"If you're not going to solve our claim leave, leave" protesters exclaimed.

Many residents joined forces after they say local gas company "Gas Natural de Juarez" charged a retroactive tax for the services provided in December.

"Everybody who came to get an answer left upset, this is the eight meeting we've had with them and we don't see results, that's why we need a stronger protest," Juarez resident Jose Luis Rodriguez said.

"We're receiving the claims of everyone who feels was a victim of the abuse, we will start the appropriate process to reach an agreement with the company and residents. “ Juarez PROFECO Delegate Gerardo Lara said.

As we've reported the Mexican congress approved a 16% general tax rate last year in the midst of controversy but residents said some companies and stores are taking advantage of the hike to fill their pockets.

"We can talk about other cases but the bigger one in the picture is this one of Gas Natural that affects thousands of residents in our city," Rodriguez added.

In a press statement company officials said that;

“Only Residents who file a claim with the Consumer Protection Agency will get a refund, and a correction will be made for those that haven’t paid.”

According to Federal Congresswoman Martha Cordova these new fees and increases came at the worst time and the effects could impact the entire borderland region.

"We're already feeling the effects of this waterfall of taxes but aside from the price increases, the electric bill went up, gasoline prices went up and people are telling us they're struggling even to buy food." Cordova said.

The legislator added that the battle to eliminate the tax increase is far from being over.

"We presented our case with the Mexican Supreme Court because we feel this law is unconstitutional we should get a response soon, a very large group in the senate is also supporting us.” Cordova concluded.

The group leaders said they would protest on Tuesday outside the gas company facility again to ask for an immediate refund, while Consumer Protection Agency authorities are still filing claims.

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