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Tax authorities and maritime police vow to “check Algarve beachside businesses”

In a statement that will leave few regional businesses and entrepreneurs smiling, the country’s tax authority along with maritime police have vowed that they mean to “fiscalise” beachside enterprises.

Considering “fiscalise” runs hand-in-hand with “fine” – and many feel the summer is the only opportunity to make any serious money – the news comes as a seasonal kick-in-the-teeth.

It’s not really unexpected, but that doesn’t make it any the less palatable.

Even more upsetting, is the fact that those being targeted appear to be “donut sellers and massage concessions”.

As leader writers have pointed out, why aren’t the authorities going after politicians receiving freebie trips on chartered planes (click here)?

Needless to say, Operation “Foot in the Sand” (Pé na Areia) is going ahead in earnest – principally in the areas of Albufeira, Portimão, Quarteira, Armação de Pêra and Manta Rota – until the end of the month, and woe betide anyone found delighting in a cream-filled donut (Bola de Berlim) without having requested a receipt!

Says AT regional director Carlos Dias fines for businesses failing to issue receipts can vary between €150 to a dizzying €3,750 – and that’s just for ‘single person concerns’.

Companies, or businesses involving more than one person, can expect fines to multiply by two, Dias told Lusa.

And this is where entrepreneurs need to take note. Maritime police chief Paulo Isabel chipped in at this point to say in “all his years service”, he had never seen a donut seller, a masseur or masseuse, or even surf rental businesses issuing receipts.

As far as Commandante Isabel is concerned, he is not even aware these traders furnish their clients with complaints books, adds Lusa.

It is a situation that Isabel maintains has elicited ‘complaints from people’ – though who and how many is not explained.

Suffice it to say, donut sellers, massage businesses, surf rentals and anyone else trying to earn a crust on the beach this year, will need to stay vigilant.

The combined forces of the tax authority (70 inspectors) and maritime police (85 agents) say they will continue their fight against “fiscal evasion” until the end of September.

And just in case the message is not already loud and clear, the AT said in a statement that this is “just one of the actions underway and programmed” to “guarantee the scrupulous compliance with the law, the reinforcement of fiscal equity and reduction of situations of unfair competition” in order to show zero-tolerance in the “combat of fraud, tax evasion and the parallel economy”.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com