Friday, February 27, 2009

SAT Puts Fraud and Tax Evasion at Q5.2 Billion

Customs fraud and smuggling resulted in Q5.2 billion in unpaid taxes, according to the Superintendency of Tax Administration (SAT).

Rudy Villeda said in Congress that that figure equals 26.1% of the evasion of Value Added Tax (VAT) during the same period. Mr. Villeda said that studies are in progress concerning the collection of the VAT last year and other indicators from the Banco de Guatemala to calculate the magnitude of the tax evasion.

"We hope that evasion has decreased in the past year and that revenue collection increases. That is our goal," Villeda said.

Among the cases reported last year include the entry of contraband fuel from Mexico, when the price of oil soared in Guatemala. Several cases of customs fraud were also detected in the country's ports.

Villeda announced the implementation of security arrangements at ports with more controls on imports and exports to improve detection. "These measures will help us to maintain tax revenue, which has slowed," he said.

These new controls seek to take an inventory of containers in ports.

The Ministerio Publico confirmed that during 2008 some 238 complaints of customs fraud and smuggling were made, mostly presented by the SAT.

As a result 15 people are being sought by police, said Oxon Fredy Paredes, head of Customs Anti-Smuggling.

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