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A pair of reporters for Bloomberg.com report that tax evasion assistance is a booming business in Mexico:

In a cramped family printing shop tucked behind a taco stand in downtown Mexico City, a worker named Antonio stacks fake sales slips from popular eateries on an October afternoon.

“We’ve got them for McDonald’s, Burger King, all the restaurants anyone wants,” says Antonio, who declines to give his last name as he shows off the phony papers that smell of fresh ink.

Like many shops that line Santo Domingo Square, the store sells the slips, bogus receipts from hotels and retailers and phony invoices for 20 pesos, or about $1.50, apiece. Customers use them to reduce their tax bills by writing off business expenses they never incurred. Or they file false invoices that show they paid tax when they didn’t.

The Tax Administration Service, Mexico’s equivalent of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, says such maneuvers cost the country 13 billion pesos ($1 billion) in tax revenue in .

Mexico’s cash-based and unregistered businesses further plague tax collectors. The so-called informal economy was about 28 percent of the legitimate economy in , according to a International Monetary Fund study. Instead of going after scofflaws, the government has chosen to tax 58 percent of Pemex’s total revenue.

Benjamin Gonzalez, who teaches English in a small office in Monterrey, pays taxes. He’s angry that Congress is increasing his income tax and the value-added tax on his service as he struggles to keep his startup going. He says he may look for customers who don’t require a receipt and underreport his income, which would add him to the pool of tax evaders.

“I’m worried as a taxpayer,” Gonzalez, 30, says, pulling out one of the official documents he has to file. “It’s going to force me to look for activities that aren’t regulated by the tax authority.”

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