Mexico may need more tax reform, central bank chief says: report

MEXICO CITY Fri Oct 18, 2013 10:02am EDT

Mexico's Central Bank Governor Agustin Carstens tests a microphone during a forum organized by Mexico's Central Bank in Mexico City October 14, 2013. REUTERS/Tomas Bravo

Mexico's Central Bank Governor Agustin Carstens tests a microphone during a forum organized by Mexico's Central Bank in Mexico City October 14, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Tomas Bravo

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico's government may need to propose a further fiscal reform after lawmakers revised President Enrique Pena Nieto's tax plan and reduced the scope of potential receipts, Excelsior TV quoted central bank governor Agustin Carstens as saying.

Mexico's lower house of Congress on Thursday approved a revised government tax plan that aims to boost receipts by nearly 3 percent of GDP by 2018.

However, the bill was revised to roll back plans to apply sales tax to rents, mortgages, property sales and school fees, while raising the top income tax rate on a sliding scale to 35 percent from 30 percent.

Finance Minister Luis Videgaray has estimated the revisions would leave the government with a revenue shortfall of 55.7 billion pesos ($4.4 billion), which the government is expected to seek to plug by raising its oil revenue forecast.

"Perhaps collecting less (tax) will eventually oblige the finance ministry to come back with another proposal during this administration," Excelsior TV cited Carstens as saying in an interview posted on its website on Friday.

"It is a good move in several directions, for instance I think generalizing sales tax on a national level is crucial," Carstens said. "I also think it is a good move because it will ensure spending discipline."

The reform must still be passed by the Senate, which is expected to approve the bill by the start of November. It is tied to the 2014 budget, which must be approved by mid-November.

(Reporting by Michael O'Boyle Editing by W Simon)