Venezuela Collects US$465mn in Higher Taxes for 2001-04

Venezuela's tax authority Seniat has collected 1tn bolivares (US$465mn at official rates) extra from oil companies for 2001-04 due to retroactive tax increases, state news agency ABN reported.

Seniat obtained the extra by retroactively increasing the tax rate for oil companies from 34% to 50%. A Seniat official confirmed the news over the phone but declined to comment further.

US oil company Harvest Natural Resources (NYSE: HNR) failed to pay an extra 33bn bolivares from the retroactive increase, BNamericas reported this week, quoting a Seniat spokesperson.

The company will be given a "reasonable" amount of time to pay the back taxes, Josť Cedillo, Seniat general manager for special taxpayers in the capital region, said in the statement.

No sanctions are foreseen unless talks with that company break down, the official said. The 33bn bolivares correspond solely to the 2005 fiscal year.

Over the last few years, Venezuela has moved to increase royalties and tax rates for oil E&P projects to a combined 83.33% of profits.

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