3 OCTOBER 2001
By Ray Abdilla
There are some 60 VAT inspectors checking business operations around the island, but the main thrust of their duties is encouraging compliance, not solely enforcement.
Speaking in a wide-ranging interview in todays edition of The Malta Financial and Business Times, VAT chief Joe Portelli, stressed that a VAT inspector has a number of duties.
"These include the regular auditing of business records in connection with any under declaration of output VAT or over declaration of input VAT," he said. "During 2000 alone, the number of cases covered by VAT Inspectors alone was over 4000, resulting in more than 1,400 assessments together amounting to Lm1.06 million. Needless to say, there is a whole spectrum of tasks connected with such work, ranging from the regular monitoring of tax returns and the sifting of cases where tax is suspected to be at risk, to defending the Department's decisions before the VAT Appeals' Boards or at Court."
Mr Portelli explained that a group of inspectors are assigned outside duty regarding the proper issue of fiscal receipts, the proper functioning of fiscal devices and the proper keeping of tax records by businesses.
"Another group is engaged in conducting audit investigations and
raising the relative assessments," he said. "Other inspectors
are concerned with the registration of businesses, the maintenance of
the taxpayers' register, the sifting of suspected cases, customer service,
the review of objections regarding assessments and procedures concerning