23 May 2007

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Government “actively considering” extending hoarded cash amnesty

Karl Stagno-Navarra

Government is reported to be “actively considering” extending the recently launched Currency and Banks Deposit Registration Scheme to company shareholders who re-invested undeclared income back into their own firms.
The issue was raised with government a few weeks ago by the GRTU’s Building Contractors and Developers section who proposed extending an amnesty through the scheme for those who applied undeclared funds to shareholder loans.
Speaking to BusinessToday, Parliamentary Secretary Tonio Fenech explained that though it is almost impossible to estimate the touted Lm100 million undeclared cash that has been reinvested into companies through shareholder loans, he anticipated what he defined as “an extension that would be limited to audited financial statements filed at the MFSA according to practice.”
Government and the Central Bank are regarding the scheme as a “one-time opportunity” for individuals to regularise their position in respect of their holdings of eligible assets in those cases where the associated income has not been declared for the purposes of the Income Tax Act.
However, as government is making it clear that no decision has yet been taken over the matter proposed by GRTU, Contractors and Developers section president Sandro Chetcuti argued that as far as he knows, “government has accepted that shareholders loans which had previously been undeclared will now be eligible to qualify under the Currency and Banks Deposit Registration Scheme.”
Asked to confirm if the total amount of loans was close to the rumoured Lm100 million, Chetcuti could not confirm but added that the amount involved was “substantial.”

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