Bulgaria Revenue Agency Probes Bring in BGN 24 M

Business » FINANCE | March 9, 2010, Tuesday // 14:19
Bulgaria: Bulgaria Revenue Agency Probes Bring in BGN 24 M Bulgaria's Revenue Agency has collected significant addtional revenue from carrying out checks of pop stars, rich car owners and football clubs, Krasimir Stefanov, head of the agency, has announced. Photo by BGNES

Bulgaria's National Revenue Agency has collected an extra BGN 24 M as a result of its investigation of football clubs, pop stars and owners of expensive cars.

Krasimir Stefanov, Head of the Revenue Agency (NRA) has announced the results of their successful probe into suspect Bulgarian companies and individuals. He reported that the Agency had retrieved BGN 24 M in unpaid revenues.

"If the overhauls and audits, apart from a revenue effect, also have a disciplinary effect, that means we have achieved our objective," said Stefanov, giving the example of the entertainment business, where "some popular people suddenly began to insure themselves for salaries of BGN 20 000 per month".

Stefanov revealed that during a visit to Germany last week, he received confirmation that Bulgarians held significant assets in Switzerland , saying that "this was another occasion to launch investigations by the NRA".

The operational agreement between Bulgaria and Switzerland provided procedures for sharing information on specific individuals where there is a suspicion that a Bulgarian has committed a tax-related or other crime.

Stefanov confirmed that the NRA has data about the bank accounts of Bulgarians abroad, and if he can prove, together with the prosecution, that a tax offense has been committed, there would be sufficient grounds to ask for confirmation from the Swiss tax authorities.

The Agency Head declined to divulge the number of Bulgarians who, between them, hold deposits worth BGN 400 M in Swiss banks, saying that this information was confidential. He did, however, say that he expected the results of investigations of these account holders in about a month's time.

Stefanov confirmed that he had information, though entirely unofficial, that Bulgarians with accounts in Switzerland have begun to transfer them to the Isle of Man and to the so-called tax havens in Asia.

He explained that NRA has the power to demand clarifications on an account, even though it may have been closed or moved elsewhere

He added that the NRA did not expect "repentant taxpayers" to appear, given the existing criminal laws and sanctions that apply to state budget debtors, even those who voluntarily confess.

"40 people have already called NRA in order to ask about 'friends of theirs' with accounts abroad. With the current criminal law, it is unlikely that anyone would voluntarily admit to unpaid taxes because, in addition to paying the interest due, they run a real risk of being sentenced and being jailed," said Stefanov.

The Head of the Revenue Agency stated his support for mitigation of the law so as to remove punitive actions if a non-compliant taxpayer were to beging to assist the authorities and to confess the financial amounts previously concealed from them.

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Tags: NRA, Krasimir Stefanov, football clubs, pop stars, swiss banks, state revenue
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