ATHENS, BRUSSELS and the fiscal evasion


This weekend I went to Athens to participate in some meetings about the crisis. I was in Brussels and took a taxi to the airport. On paying, I asked for a receipt and the driver gives me a small paper, with no name, no fiscal identification, no VAT number. I could have made it myself on my home printer. I explain him the receipt is completely illegal, it is a fraud and a fiscal evasion. But I don’t insist. I know very well that all taxis I have ever used in Brussels do exactly the same. What is weird about this is that they do it in the capital of the European Union. They do it when they transport the politicians and the officials of the Commission, of the Council and of the European Parliament. Who say nothing about this fiscal fraud, perhaps because they don’t want to bother the Belgium authorities, which are too important to be bothered with such details.


To tell you the truth, I don’t much really care about the Brussels’ taxis fiscal evasion. But I do care about the massive evasion and money laundering perpetrated at the offshores and fiscal paradises, more than enough to bailout all of us. And if you still think about fiscal paradises as exotic islands with coconut trees and nice beaches, it’s time to change your mind. The great majority of them, even if measured by amount of assets managed, are inside Europe, and namely in the EU territory. The problem is that the attitude of EU politicians and officials towards European offshores is exactly the same they have towards the taxis in Brussels: it’s under their nose, but they can not see. They have a sharp vision for the long distance, but they see nothing that is too close. Close to their hearts or close to their interests? I don’t know. What I know is that this is the kind of people that will now fly more often to Athens, after the EU bailout plan has been approved, in order to control the behaviour of the Greek people, their fiscal discipline in respecting the austerity plan and avoiding tax evasion, presented in the "civilized non-piggean" Europe as a real popular sport for the Greeks. However, when they arrive to Athens, they will still probably have on their pockets an illegal taxi receipt issue on their journey's first step.

However, on my return journey, when I took a taxi to the Athens airport, what I got was a formal receipt, with full identification of the tax payer citizen that owns the taxi. And a better price than in Brussels, although the airport is substantially more distant from the city centre.



To add, I must mention that I have posted this text through the free internet access the Athens airport provides for passengers, something I never saw in Brussels airport.

Not to mention the fantastic weather in Athens, this weekend, compared to the May Winter in Brussels.

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Publicado em: O Gaiense, 22 de Maio de 2010

Bruxelas, Atenas e a evasão fiscal

No fim-de-semana fui a Atenas participar em várias reuniões sobre a crise. Estava em Bruxelas e apanhei um táxi para o aeroporto. Ao pagar, pedi um recibo e o taxista dá-me um papel sem nome, sem identificação, sem número de contribuinte, sem indicação de IVA. Um recibo que eu poderia ter feito na minha impressora caseira. Expliquei-lhe que o recibo era completamente ilegal, uma fraude, um acto de evasão fiscal. Mas tinha de apanhar o avião e não insisti.
Sei bem que são deste tipo quase todos os recibos que me foram passados por táxis em Bruxelas. Estranho é que isto se passe na capital da União Europeia, que isto se passe quando são transportados os políticos e os eurocratas da UE, que nunca ouvi dizerem nada sobre esta questão, talvez para não aborrecerem as autoridades belgas, demasiado importantes para serem incomodadas com detalhes desta insignificância.
Para dizer a verdade, estou-me nas tintas para a evasão fiscal dos táxis de Bruxelas. Mas não para a massiva evasão e lavagem de dinheiro que é feita nos offshores e paraísos fiscais, em valor suficiente para pagar os planos de auxílio a todos os países em dificuldade. E se o leitor ainda imagina os paraísos fiscais como ilhas exóticas, com uns coqueiros em praias de sonho, é tempo de actualizar esta imagem. A maioria deles (mesmo medidos pelo montante de activos) situa-se na Europa, nomeadamente no território da União.
O problema é que a atitude dos decisores da UE face aos offshores europeus é a mesma que têm face aos táxis de Bruxelas: estão mesmo debaixo do nariz, mas não conseguem ver nada. E não deixa de ser irónico que, nas viagens que se vão suceder destes políticos e especialistas financeiros para controlarem o comportamento dos gregos e a sua disciplina fiscal, quando chegarem a Atenas terão certamente na pasta, entre complexos documentos e rigorosos planos, aquele bocado de papel sem valor a fazer de recibo do táxi que os levou para o aeroporto de Bruxelas. E provavelmente, no fim da viagem, a sua instituição vai-lhes pagar o valor correspondente.
(Permitam-me uma nota final: na viagem de regresso, o táxi grego que me transportou para o aeroporto de Atenas passou-me um recibo em conformidade com as elementares regras de contabilidade. Registe-se.)

1 comentário:

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