Tax agency seeks broad new powers in fraud bill

A proposed law to fight tax fraud seems to set up a judicial system within the Dirección General de Tributación.

The redone text of the bill contains many fines that can be imposed administratively. In addition, the tax agency would be given the power to embargo for two years properties of those who may be delinquent.

The embargoes that freeze bank accounts and properties could be renewed for an additional two years.

Some of the proposed fines include penalties for not showing up at meetings called by the tax agency or not providing all the documentation that is demanded.

A fine could be levied if an owner refuses to allow tax investigators to enter property even though they do not have a warrant.  Fines also are extended to third parties, who could be accountants who prepared tax returns, according to the bill.

The bill, No. 19.245, has drawn criticism from lawmakers and the technical staffer who review proposed bills.

Under the proposal if property is embargoed, it can be offered for sale to satisfy tax debts.

But the money received will go to first satisfy fines and other administrative charges before being applied to taxes.

The bill also seems to say that the agency can put its own representatives into the management of a company that is embargoed for tax reasons. That would happen if the company is likely to collapse taxes051515if its goods are frozen and seized, according to the bill.

The tax agency and its parent Ministerio de Hacienda has received extensive help from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Treasury in making plans for new taxes and systems to collect what is owed. There is no way to tell how much of that advice is in the current bill.

The tax agency has been known to make appeals by citizens difficult. Under the current rules, if the tax agency disputes what has been paid and seeks more money, the taxpayer must post that money before making an appeal.

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