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Cyprus

Auditors begin checking VIP tax returns

A TV boss told auditor-general Odysseas Michaelides about the bribes

A delegation from the audit service arrived at the tax department on Friday morning, requesting information on, among other things, whether politically-exposed people (PEPs) have filed their tax returns on time since 2008.
According to the Cyprus News Agency, the team has already started drafting a record with the names of such individuals.
Auditor-General Odysseas Michaelides appears to have ordered this audit following a series of conflicting claims by tax commissioner Yiannis Tsangaris.
Michaelides told CNA that he expects Tsangaris to hand over all evidence in connection with the procedures followed with regard to the people the commissioner termed “VIPs” in parliament.
“[Thursday’s] session of the House Watchdog committee once more showcased the problem with varying statements made by the Tax Commissioner,” Michaelides was quoted as saying.
“The evidence requested must answer the following questions: who is considered a VIP and why, which of the major taxpayers are classed as VIPs, and what particular special handling they are subjected to.”
The auditor-general said the information was requested in a letter dated November 28 and a deadline to furnish it was set for December 8.
“Responding to the request of the Watchdog committee, we have already started working intensively on preparing a record that will include information on presidents of the Republic, party leaders, government ministers and members of parliament since 2008, with a view to submitting it to parliament within the next four days,” Michaelides said.
“The record will reflect whether these people filed their annual tax returns during this period on time, and if not, when, whether they were fined for any delays, and what was the last year for which they were taxed by the tax department.”
The auditor-general said the service will retrieve this information from the department’s archives, access to which ‘we consider a given’.
“Preparing the list of these individuals started on Friday by listing the names and ID numbers of these people,” Michaelides said, adding that audit service officials tasked with drafting the record are already at the tax department.

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