“Suspicious bank balances” won’t be accessible to ‘just any tax inspector’

Initially threatened for January 1, 2018, (click here) the dreaded moment the tax man is allowed access to bank accounts holding more than €50,000 is almost upon us.

All that’s stopping AT (tax authority) inspectors from getting a bird’s eye view of ‘suspicious accounts’ now is the President’s signature.

Says Público, that’s almost certainly a given, and then any account holder with more than €50,000 in his or her account will be targeted for ‘increased scrutiny’.

Constitutionalists are reportedly ‘divided’ over the new law, but in reality it arrives so forewarned that it may be hard to find any bank customer unwitting enough to have left €50,000 in any one account to ‘swoop down on’.

The ‘fear’ that the law will open bank accounts up to “just any tax inspector” has also been assuaged by sources within the tax department.

Thanks to data protection legislation, overblown accounts “will not be accessible to everyone”, Paulo Ralha, President of the Syndicate of Tax Employees, told Público.

The rules restrict access to “authorised personnel” who will “keep (the data) secret” albeit that they may well decide to ask uncomfortable questions.

As a previous story in Público explained, the law only applies to an account/ accounts in the same bank.

“If someone has money in two banks, and each balance is below €50,000, the values will not be communicated to AT ”.

This law, ‘blocked for eight months’ last year due to President Marcelo’s initial veto, is designed to “reinforce mechanisms considered internationally necessary as forms of combating fraud and fiscal evasion”.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com