“Explosive document” reveals tax authorities could lose €8.2 billion due to systemic weaknesses

An “explosive document” drawn up by the IGF (general inspectorate of finances) warns that the State could lose €8.2 billion in taxes owed by “large contributors” due to systemic weaknesses of Portugal’s AT tax authority.

Analysis of long-standing elevated tax debts detects that as much as 60% are “at risk of being lost” due to the fact that time simply gets the better of them, explains national tabloid Correio da Manhã this morning.

Money owed, for example, for the period 2012-2013 stands at €13.7 billion. But of that amount, €8.2 billion is “potentially unrecoverable” because either the companies involved are in the process of insolvency, or they “do not have sufficient assets that cover them”.

Indeed, the level of success in recovering taxes owed for 2012-2013 was only 15%, said the IGF report.

CM adds that almost half these billionaire tax losses come from large companies and financial entities in the Lisbon area.

In 2013, the AT tax authority created a special department with 32 inspectors “to closely accompany the payment of taxes by large companies, financial entities and multinationals”, says the paper, stressing that “regular tax inspections” by other AT personnel also went ahead.

What is even more worrying perhaps is that in 2013, secretary of state in charge of taxes was Paulo Núncio – the CDS MP who recently ‘fell on his sword’, taking responsibility for the enormous exodus of Portuguese money to offshore tax havens during the austerity years, without alluding to the fact that before he took up his government post, he actually worked as a legal advisor to a Venezuelan oil company which sent a significant part of over €7 billion in transfers out of former BES to the offshore tax haven of Panama.

Adding to the intrigue, Núncio’s ‘boss’ CDS leader Assunção Cristas recently told journalists that Portugal “has much to thank Dr Paulo Núncio for”. She was referring apparently to his efforts towards the combat of fiscal fraud and tax evasion.

The ‘falling on the sword’ showed “great elevation of character”, she said.

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