A federal judge tossed out a new tax in Puerto Rico aimed at Walmart calling it “unlawful” and siding with the retailer on Monday (April 4) in the U.S. District Court San Juan, Puerto Rico.
U.S. District Judge Jose Antonio Fuste noted in his opinion that he was not happy to throw out the tax, considering the government’s dire financial condition. However, he said the tax was unlawful and the government has no excuse to solicit revenue it’s not entitled to just so it can pay for essential services.
“The new tax was more than triple the old rate, he said, “designed to capture Walmart Puerto Rico, the biggest fish in the pond.”
He said if Walmart had paid the tax on time and waited to get a refund, it most likely would never see the money again.
Walmart was pleased with the decision releasing the following statement: “Monday’s ruling is a victory not only for Walmart Puerto Rico but also for our customers, our more than 14,000 Puerto Rican associates, and the many Puerto Rican suppliers and farmers who depend so heavily on us,” said Lorenzo Lopez, corporate spokesman.
Walmart operates 48 stores in Puerto Rico and is the island’s largest tax payer in terms of revenue. Roughly $15 billion of Puerto Rico’s outstanding debt is backed by a dedicated sales tax the Walmart and other retailers collect on behalf of the commonwealth.