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The taxi driver and the Double Dutch trip to the market

1 June 2019
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I’m well aware that Uber and similar services are “disloyal”, a clever tax dodge known as “double Dutch” as explained in this example from Malaysia:

Let say, the total ride cost was RM100. The total fare is credited and sent across national borders into the account of a company in Netherlands called Uber B.V. […]
This company collects the fare electronically, through Raiser Operations B.V. (another Dutch subsidiary), and … enters a complicated network of Dutch offshore companies.

[…]

Uber B.V. is not uber’s HQ in Silicone Valley, but a Bermuda-registered Dutch subsidiary. Is it Uber’s international arm? nope. That is another Bermuda-registered Dutch subsidiary called Uber International C.V.

[…]

The royalty income is now — legally — off the grid and is not taxed in Malaysia, in Netherlands or in the United States. This strategy of using two Netherlands companies connected by a license agreement is called the Double Dutch.

This strategy depletes governments off millions of dollars — Yet the move is legal and is decades old.

H O W E V E R

I was in a bad accident two years ago, the bone in my leg becoming hopelessly infected with a antibiotic resistant infection, and had a transfemoral amputation six months ago. Where before all this, I wouldn’t have thought twice about going anwyhere in the City… if not by bicycle then with the subway and metrobus maps carved in my brain, and humping it from wherever if I couldn’t find a ruta bus… I’ve come to accept some “lifestyle changes”: probably the biggest bwing having to plan my transportation ahead of time, and consolidating essential errands around town. In other words, calling a taxi or taking Uber. Usually the latter, since it’s a bit less expensive.

But is it, really?

I never have owned a car in Mexico City, nor would I want to… traffic is horrendous, parking is always a problem, and — most importantly — the public transportation system works. Surprisingly well for a coutnry where the financial resources for public accommodations are usually hard to come by. Uber and other “app” car services aren’t contributing their fair share (or is that “fare” share= to keeping the city moving.

I thought about this when I realized my once a week fetcher and carrying is coming Monday, and I planned my monthly supermarket run for the things I can’t easily pick up at the mercado (meat, fresh fruit and vegetables, cheese, etc.)… the “staples” that aren’t going to go off in a week or three, and the small luxuries like frozen vegetables that even after all this time I still find necessary. Sometimes my “sherpa” brings his car, but not always, and this Monday, there is a taxi strike. The 20,000 drivers in Mexico City, and 200,000 drivers throughout the country will be off the job Monday (and who knows how much longer?) protesting the unfair advantage not just that Uber and other app car firms have, but the advantages those app drivers have over those that pay more than “contractor” taxes.

Specifically, where all one needs to become an Uber driver (besides their own car) is a standard drivers’ license and 713 pesos. TO become a taxi driver in this city (usually a leased car) is a 1,635 taxi drivers’ license, proof of passing the 2,565 peso drivers’ class and … if for independent drivers… another 2500 pesos or so to have the car painted in the standard taxi colors (right now pink and white).

I’m all in with the taxistas… but then, I need my monthly supply of microwaved popcorn, frozen foods, crackers, canned goods, dish detergent.. too.

I don’t mind cooking and cleaning and housework, but to have time for writing Mexfiles, sometimes one needs the junk and convenience food…

Sources:

Gerardo Villafranco, “Taxistas anuncian paro nacional en junio“, Forbes, 29 April 2019

Sathyvelu Kunashegaran, “How Uber, Google, Facebook and Other Tech Giants Avoid Paying Billions in Tax?“. Medium.com, 30 April 2017

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Esther Klein Buddenhagen permalink
    2 June 2019 9:13 am

    So, Uber mañana but taxis otherwise?

    • 2 June 2019 3:26 pm

      Actually, it’s worked out. My sherpa is coming Wednesday instead of Monday… with his car.

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