Portugal’s taxman confiscates 3,000 homes

In a year where tax receipts have hit an all time high, the government is reported to have seized and sold over 3,850 goods and property belonging to Portuguese people who could not pay their dues.

According to a shock report in Correio da Manhã today, more than half the sales at public auction have involved people’s homes.

Since 2013 to the middle of October this year, the State tax department (Finanças) “has sold with success more than 15,000 seized goods and properties”, writes CM.

This year, 2,195 families have had their homes sold over their heads, adds the paper, and 1,160 more are in the State confiscation pipeline, waiting to find buyers.

“In total, more than 3,355 homes have been confiscated,” CM affirms, adding that since 2013, the number corresponds to “almost 10,000”.

As for cars, this year has seen almost 600 removed from their owners.

The figures have been taken from data just published by the AT tax authority which currently has a list of goods and properties for sale that includes industrial ovens, coffee machines, fork lift trucks and even a pearl necklace – starting price at auction: €9,240.

But if this was not bad news enough, CM stresses that many people who do clear their tax arrears with the Finanças have to wait years for their confiscated goods and/or property to be returned.

In the case where bank accounts are frozen, these too take far too long to be unfrozen.

The reason, explains a tax source, is that there are “various departments” through which these kinds of cases have to be processed, and only when they reach the end of the line can confiscation orders finally be lifted.

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