21 MAY 2003

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Number of VAT inspections down in 2002

Julian Manduca

Although I have never in my life had the pleasure of encountering or even seeing a VAT inspector, inspections continue apace to ensure that VAT is collected.
It is my experience that unless I ask for VAT receipts about 30 percent of the retailers I buy from do not offer them.
Commissioner of VAT Oliver Vassallo has assured me that VAT inspections are very regular: "Inspections are carried out regularly to check abuses. The scope of such inspections has in the past years been widened to include checks other than that concerning the issue of VAT fiscal receipts to customers and clients. These inspections cover all business sectors and are spread throughout all localities in Malta and Gozo."
"In 2001, just under 14,000 inspections were carried out. In 2002, the number of inspections made was about 13,000. In both years, a total of 3,122 cases were referred to Court mainly for failing to issue fiscal receipts to clients and the taxpayers concerned were fined a total of Lm111,353."
Vassallo did not make it clear how many cases were referred to court in 2001 and 2002 respectively and my attempt to elicit the total value of VAT collected yearly and refunds given also proved unsuccessful.

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