Mayweather-Maidana Bout Used by Argentina to Uncover Tax Dodgers

Argentina’s tax agency said it used the May 3 fight between Argentine boxer Marcos Maidana and world welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather to uncover tax dodgers.

The tax agency, known as AFIP, said it removed 17 Argentines from a low-tax-bracket system after finding they had spent as much as 60,000 pesos ($7,500) with travel agents to see the fight live in Las Vegas. The travel costs exceeded what the taxpayers declared in their returns, the AFIP said in an e-mailed statement titled “A knock-out for taxpayers.”

“The AFIP carries out constant checks with travel agencies that sell expensive packages for international sporting events and with credit cards that show spending abroad,” the AFIP said.

Argentina is trying to close loopholes and increase tax collection in a bid to narrow the largest fiscal deficit in more than a decade as President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s government subsidizes utility bills and transport among other things. Argentina spent 184.9 billion pesos in the first two months of the year compared with tax revenue of 171.5 billion pesos in the same period.

Mayweather took home $32 million and retained his title on points after a 12-round match in which Margarita, Santa Fe province-born Maidana threw more punches. Mayweather won by 117-111 on one scorecard and 116-112 on another. A third judge said scores were even at 114-114.

South America’s second-largest economy after Brazil posted its largest primary budget deficit in 21 years last year and the widest current account deficit since 2000 as debt payments and energy imports drained reserves by about $12 billion to a seven-year low.

Among the low-tax-bracket Argentines who traveled to the fight were the owner of a Porsche Carrera and a lawyer who traveled abroad 10 times last year, the AFIP said.