Mondelēz faces US enforcement action for $57m Indian tax bill

By Oliver Nieburg contact

- Last updated on GMT

Mondelēz accused of unlawfully claiming tax benefits when setting up Himachal Pradesh plant. Photo: iStock - SIphotography
Mondelēz accused of unlawfully claiming tax benefits when setting up Himachal Pradesh plant. Photo: iStock - SIphotography
The US Securities and Exchange Commission has filed enforcement action against Cadbury maker Mondelēz International for allegedly dodging tax in India.

It relates to tax exemptions of 3.7bn Indian rupees ($57m) claimed when Mondelēz established its factory in Himachal Pradesh.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued Mondelēz a ‘Wells’ notice on February 11 2016, telling the firm it faces SEC enforcement action for alleged violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

“We intend to make a submission to the staff of the SEC in response to the notice,” ​said Mondelēz in its annual report published last Friday.

SEC initially issued Mondelēz a subpoena in 2011, calling on the firm to supply information on its dealings with Indian government agencies.

Tax authorities in India

Mondelēz has also appealed a decision in India ordering it to pay 5.8bn Indian rupees ($88m) for purportedly unlawfully claimed tax benefit on the Himachal Pradesh factory and penalties.

“We believe that the decision to claim the excise tax benefit is valid and we are continuing to contest the show cause notices through the administrative and judicial process,”​ said Mondelēz in its annual report.

The Indian Central Excise Authority has been pursuing the company for alleged unpaid taxes since 2013.

Internal review

Mondelēz said in the latest annual report it undertook an internal review when its former entity Kraft Foods acquired Cadbury in 2010

“…our preliminary findings indicated that Cadbury’s overall state of compliance was sound,”​  it said.

“Nonetheless, through our reviews, we determined that in certain jurisdictions, including India, there appeared to be facts and circumstances warranting further investigation.”

It said it was continuing its investigations and will continue to cooperate with government authorities.

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