The government is aiming at putting an end to the loss of billions of euros in state revenues due to illegal trading, mainly in the fuel sector, through a bill that will reach Parliament next month.
The draft law of the Finance Ministry will be put up for public consultation in late February and will contain clauses concerning beating tax evasion and the illegal trade of fuel, tobacco and alcoholic beverages. Sources say it will incorporate tougher penalties for anyone who attempts to obstruct inspections by the monitoring mechanisms of the Independent Authority for Public Revenue, and after no less than a decade the system of fuel inflows and outflows will be put into full operation and GPS systems will be installed on tanker trucks. The online system for monitoring tanker trucks has already been delivered to the tax administration and it is just a matter of time before it is put into productive operation.
Ministry officials say that the aim is for the systems to finally become fully operational as they can contribute toward the reduction of smuggling. It appears that at this stage the leadership of the ministry is focusing on the illegal trade in fuel and tobacco, which will be able to generate additional fiscal space so that the government's election program can be implemented more rapidly.
Losses to the public coffers from cigarette smuggling are estimated at 700 million euros per year, while illegal fuel trading costs some 300-500 million euros. Evasion of value-added tax (VAT) payments costs some 6 billion euros every year.
In fuel trading the key lies in the inflow-outflow system, with a senior ministry official admitting that the system’s data are currently going to waste.