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Spain mulls releasing names of biggest tax cheats

Posted on Dec 14, 12:35PM | IANS

Spain's government is considering publishing the names of the country's "biggest tax dodgers and delinquent taxpayers", Finance Minister Cristobal Montoro said Thursday.

Legal changes would be necessary before such a list could be made public, he said.

During debate in the Senate on a bill containing measures aimed at fiscal consolidation, Montoro said name-and-shame lists have already used in other European countries such as Britain and Ireland.

The goal in making the names public is to induce tax evaders to make good on their outstanding debt to the Treasury, he said.

"It's so they pay up. I can't say it more clearly. The fight against tax fraud lies in good measure on voluntary compliance with fiscal obligations and social awareness of the damage caused by tax fraud," the minister said.

Montoro said enhanced transparency in public administration also must be extended to taxpayers, irrespective of what kind of economic activity they perform or whether they are individuals or companies.

Separately, the minister defended other measures in the bill including the creation of a new national tax on bank deposits and a new fiscal regime to penalize the exorbitant severance packages paid out to some executives.

In recession for the second time in four years, Spain has suffered a sharp drop in tax revenues stemming from numerous businesses failures and sky-high joblessness.