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Lisbon Tax authorities impound property

IN ONE of the largest operations of its kind ever carried out in Portugal, the tax authorities have seized and impounded thousands of buildings, properties and offices from debtors who owe them millions in back taxes.

Now the Lisbon District Tax Office (Serviços de Finanças do Distrito de Lisboa) is to hold a massive public auction to sell off commercial and private properties, cars and other goods before the end of the year.

The list of properties and items to be auctioned off was publicised on Monday last week on the Ministry of Finances website with bids open from the general public up until the end of November.

According to the Direcção-Geral dos Impostos, the national tax authority, some 15,000 buildings, cars and two large commercial establishments within the Expo site are up for grabs.

All of the tax payers owing monies to the government have been informed in recent months that their properties would be seized by the government’s bailiffs if serious attempts to pay off their debts were not made.

In many cases, buildings were transferred electronically from the private owners to the ownership of the state via land and property registries (registos prediais).

During the next week, the first list of properties seized by government bailiffs, which will include 150 properties, will be published on the internet and prepared for public auction.

A source within the Lisbon tax office guaranteed that tax payers who had their properties and goods seized “have already been advised at least three times of the fact of not having complied with their fiscal duties” and that the authorities had no other option open to them to claw back monies owed.

The Lisbon District represents no less than 30 per cent of the total debt being called in from around the country, representing some 600 million euros, from a total government debt amounting to 1.6 billion euros.

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