ECONOMY

In Brief

Internet tax statements to be checked more thoroughly Thousands of taxpayers will have to visit the tax authorities by July 30 to prove and submit documents about their spending in the years 2003, 2004 and 2005. A number of taxpayers who submitted their statement through the Internet showed a moderate rise in expenditures, which has resulted in a drastic cut in their taxes. Data show that spending on medical and hospital care in TAXISnet electronic statements appears on average 11.3 percent higher than that in handwritten tax statements. The Finance Ministry has ordered all tax offices to monitor local taxpayers whose sincerity in the data stated is questionable. The main criterion for locating suspicious statements is expenditures, which may have been manipulated for tax exemptions. The cases particularly monitored are taxpayers whose tax returns were at least 270 percent higher than the returns they would have had without tax exemptions and reductions, and all taxpayers with tax returns of at least 500 euros will be chosen by the tax authorities for further investigation. Paris Club, FYROM agree on $104 million debt payment PARIS (Reuters) -The Paris Club of official creditors said yesterday it had agreed to accept the offer by the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to make an early repayment of $104 million of debt it owes to the club. The debt had previously been rescheduled by the club in negotiations in 1995. «This offer reflects the strong financial recovery of Macedonia in recent years,» the Paris Club said in a statement after a meeting with Finance Minister Trajko Slavevski. «The principle of a prepayment at par as proposed to all Paris Club members was accepted.» The payments would take place on a voluntary basis between January 31 and April 30 after bilateral agreements with each creditor country has been worked out. Twelve Paris Club member countries plus Kuwait took part in the negotiations because they are FYROM creditors. Slavevski has forecast economic growth of 6-8 percent this year and the government has adopted a budget for 2007 with a deficit of 1 percent of gross domestic product. Online charges Consumer association EKPOIZO called on the Hellenic Telecommunications and Post Commission (EETT) to act on illegal charges that Internet users face. Many of them are automatically directed to special high-charging websites (3 euros/minute) through a dialer installed permanently without the user being aware of it. The consumers’ group is asking EETT to impose heavy penalties on service providers Tellas and MAKNAN for this practice. Lan-net cut out OTE telecom pulled the plug temporarily yesterday on 85 percent of service provider Lan-net’s connections due to its failure to produce a letter of guarantee of 3 million euros for the company’s outstanding debts, according to OTE. Lan-net responded accusing OTE of monopolistic practices and threatening with resort to court to secure its own and its subscribers’ rights.