Huge tax fraud

ACCORDING TO a report in the Jornal de Negócios business newspaper, more than half of Portuguese companies declared a zero or negative balance in 2002 in order to avoid paying IRC (company tax) – a situation described by the newspaper as a “huge fiscal evasion”. Official statistics revealed that 56 per cent of registered companies didn’t pay income tax and that only 133,000 businesses out of a possible 366,000 paid their IRC contribution. A total of 37 per cent of those who didn’t pay claimed that their business had lost money and 12 per cent declared their business hadn’t earned any money that year.

The newspaper states: “These numbers prove once again that this is a huge fiscal evasion. It is not credible for this amount of businesses to claim they have not earned any money for the last three years.” The statistics also reveal that, on average, those businesses that did pay IRC paid under 5,000 euros. The total amount collected by the state came to 2.864 million euros, 12.5 per cent less than in 2001.