Portugal’s super rich are “evading hundreds of millions in taxes”

Former director general of taxes, Azevedo Pereira, is being called to parliament this week to give more details on the recent interview he gave to SIC television in which he explained that more than 1,000 super-rich Portuguese families are not paying the correct amount of taxes.

His insinuation was that there has been high level political collusion – given that the department monitoring these families was “dismantled” in 2014 by the former PSD-led government.

According to Jornal de Notícias, Pereira’s information suggests that Portugal’s multimillionaires pay 500 times LESS than they should be paying.

“In any country that takes taxes seriously this group of privileged individuals would habitually guarantee around 25% of IRS receipts per year (the words of Azevedo Pereira), writes JN. “But our multimillionaires only assure 0.5% of the total in personal tax receipts. In other words (our conclusion) as we are in Portugal, where things like equality before the law and tax equity are applied with some flexibility, multimillionaires pay 500 times less than they should”.

The situation has understandably irked the Left Bloc firebrands, who are now demanding that Pereira give more specifics to parliament, as a matter of urgency.

The party wants “clarification on the dimension of this reality, the mechanisms that sustain it and the existence of a group formed to study it that was then dismantled”, reads the official request for parliamentary hearing.

The lack of adequate taxing could be due to a number of phenomena, the head of Portugal’s accountancy authority, Domingues de Azevedo, has explained: “The lack of exchange of information between countries with favourable tax regimes, like Thailand, financial engineering and a degree of laxity on the part of the taxation authorities.”

JN’s story, headlined “The thousand families that are in control of all this” – making fun of the “boss of all this” nickname of disgraced BES patriarch Ricardo Salgado – suggests it is more a case of the tax authority “continuing to be an opaque structure that silences fundamental statistical information” so that a “privileged handful of taxpayers” ends up having the “power to distort democracy and divert millions from State coffers”.

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