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Two multinational firms reach tax deals with Mexico for $300 mln

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico has reached deals totaling around $300 million with two multinational companies following a probe into possible tax avoidance, the head of Mexico’s tax authority said on Monday.

Last year, Mexico said it had launched an “informal audit” of 270 companies for allegedly exploiting loopholes that authorities have starved the country of much-needed tax revenue for years.

In September, Reuters revealed that two companies at the heart of the probe were world No. 2 toymaker Hasbro Inc and No. 1 household product maker Procter & Gamble Co.

Earlier this month, Reuters reported that Mexico’s tax collection agency SAT had reached a deal with Hasbro for $65 million to resolve outstanding tax assessments from the years 2000 to 2013.

But on Monday, Aristotles Nunez, head of SAT, said the agency reached deals with two other companies last year and was in negotiations with a fourth. He did not name the companies.

“We are in talks with another and we still have not determined how much it will have to pay to correct itself, and we are still in talks with the other companies,” Nunez told reporters on the sidelines of an event in Mexico City.

Mexico’s finance ministry announced last month that it was cutting over $8 billion from its 2015 budget, as oil prices have plunged, putting new pressure on authorities to boost the country’s weak tax take. The government uses oil revenues to fund about a third of its budget.

(Reporting by Alexandra Alper; editing by Gunna Dickson)

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