09 July 2003

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Nearly Lm150,000 in VAT fine rebates

By Julian Manduca
The government let 553 people off the hook and forgave them Lm144,703 in VAT fines between January and April of this year, Finance and Economy Minister John Dalli has said.
Among the lucky people to benefit from the scheme was one person that enjoyed a rebate of Lm44,970, with the next highest figure a mere Lm 8,779.
Most of the rebates on the fines were for much smaller amounts. Persons who for one reason or another failed to fill in their VAT forms were among those benefiting from the scheme.
Finance minister Dalli was replying to a Parliamentary question put to him by Labour MP and EU spokesperson Evarist Bartolo.
A budget promise had been made to forgive 90 percent of VAT fines to those that applied for rebates in last year’s budget and government kept its promise.
The measure, which was announced in November’s budget, comes as a result of requests from the constituted bodies during pre-budgetary discussions with the Malta Council for Economic and Social Development and is now seeing the light of day some four and a half months later.
Speaking to The Malta Financial and Business Times in an interview earlier this year, then Finance Minister John Dalli explained the rationale behind the measure: "The constituted bodies expressed the amount of hardship and harassment these outstanding VAT penalties were causing and how people were finding them a burden to pay. The situation was also found to be clogging up the administrative system at the Department."

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