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Tax evaders have time to seek recourse in tax amnesty law

The Spanish government will enact the tax amnesty program outlined in its 2012 National Budget through a draft bill of a law against tax fraud. The taxes that tax evaders owe on foreign investments will never expire for those who do not participate in the program.

The Ministry of Finance is pressing tax evaders to take advantage of a tax amnesty program before November 30 (the amnesty dictates that evaders will pay 10% in taxes and 8% on dividends earned in foreign investments) and a boost to tax revenues is guaranteed, keeping in mind that the Executive estimates that the tax amnesty measure will result in 2.5 billion euros in tax revenues for the state.

Yesterday, the Spanish Cabinet approved the first formal steps of a plan designed to revitalize Spain's sunken economy. It will incorporate various new aspects: establish sanctions of 10,000 euros minimum for those who do not declare foreign accounts or assets, put a stop to self-employed workers who submit falsified invoices, limit cash payments to 2,500 euros for corporate cash transactions and impose penalties of between 1,000 and 600,000 euros on those who resist or refuse an audit. Further, the role of the National Tax Agency will be strengthened.

Spain's Minister of Finance, Cristóbal Montoro, refused to cite figures about how much additional tax revenue Spain could raise through this plan. She justified her reticence by saying that Spain needs to maintain credibility. Still, auditors from the Ministry of Finance did not hesitate to mention that the plan is the "most important anti-fraud plan of the decade."

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