By Sun’s Dragon
There have been some wacky tax laws in history, and the taxmen can be wily and cunning - and some tax dodgers even more crafty - but now you must be polite as you fight the system! Ranting and raving about perceived injustices will get you nowhere except maybe a cell in an overcrowded jail.
The worldwide recession has caused mayhem and misery to so many, what with banks failing and being propped up by the taxpayer. Governments everywhere jumped on the gravy train of making a fast buck and allowing their economies to be placed in precarious positions. But who paid the piper at the end of the day?
The long suffering and often innocent taxpayer of course.
Well it seems that the worm turned and some people got pretty upset when facing a tax official, and vented their anger on the poor joker who was taking their hard-earned dosh. It can’t be much fun to sit behind your desk doing your job to the best of your ability, only to be abused by a very irate person having to comply with the rules.
Of course, in many cases I’m sure, the poor tax collector agreed whole heartedly with rage of the payee about some of the outlandish taxes being inflicted - but rules are rules.
Who makes these rules and the legislations that drive ordinary people to such abusive lengths? Why the governments of course, the very people who made the rules that got the world into such a pickle in the first place.
And now, here in Portugal, they have proposed another rule: a possible prison sentence for abusing a tax collector!
Did they announce this new rule with a fan fare and dire warnings? No, they snuck it into the small print of the proposed 2015 budget.
“Harming, insulting or simply disobeying the orders of tax office staff will lead to punishments of a fine or prison term that can go to five years,” is how they worded it. The proposal within the State Budget for 2015 has even gone so far as to say that “tax office workers [are] to be invested with the powers of public authority, as per the terms of the Penal Code”.
So it would seem that the poor joker who has had abuse hurled at him or her for their whole working life now has the power of a police officer? The power to prosecute any person who ‘abuses’ them? I can just see those tax collectors at their staff meeting, plotting their revenge on Joe Public for all the hurt and misery they have endured. The mind boggles.
Since the legislation may not clearly define what constitutes harm, insult or disobedience, who knows how little it will take for some jobs-worth to invoke his new powers?
Meravista.com has been unable to confirm if this ‘investment of power’ was ratified and is now in effect. The Portuguese press seemed to think that it was pretty much a done deal, so it’s probably best to err on the side of caution and not go around calling your local tax rep names – or worse!
So be aware, the person behind the counter who is taking your money on behalf of the Government may no longer be a hapless individual but a powerful Government tool who can take your freedom as well as your money!
In the meantime it seems clear that there are issues on both sides. A few days ago, the Tax and Customs Authority (TA) emailed all staff requiring them to sign a ‘guarantee of impartiality’ statement. Possibly a hint at some corruption or favouritism taking place within the tax calculations?