Fabian Demicoli

GRTU issues a clear warning to Government on Ex-Officio Tax Assestment

The evasion of tax by the self-employed and owners of small businesses cannot be condoned by either GRTU or anyone else. GRTU members are trained to fulfill their fiscal duties correctly. GRTU members however, feel great pain to understand the government’s attitude towards notorious tax abusers as these people offer the most serious competition challenge to legitimate businesses represented by GRTU. But GRTU insists that schemes aimed at solving the tax evasion issue should never cause government to revert back to the old hated system of ‘ex-officio assessment’. Only a government that is tired of governing picks up again this dirty tool.

The evasion of tax by the self-employed and owners of small businesses cannot be condoned by either GRTU or anyone else. GRTU members are trained to fulfill their fiscal duties correctly. GRTU members however, feel great pain to understand the government’s attitude towards notorious tax abusers as these people offer the most serious competition challenge to legitimate businesses represented by GRTU. But GRTU insists that schemes aimed at solving the tax evasion issue should never cause government to revert back to the old hated system of ‘ex-officio assessment’. Only a government that is tired of governing picks up again this dirty tool.

The old Labour government used ex-officio assessments years ago and they have regretted it ever since. Dr. Fenech Adami when still leader of the Opposition promised GRTU that there will never be a Nationalist Government that will again revert to ex-officio assessments. When the Tax Compliance Unit was heralded, Dr. Fenech Adami as Prime Minister again assured GRTU that TCU will never, become an ex-officio assessor. Dr. Fenech Adami, as President of Malta has again confirmed to GRTU that he has never, and will not, change his mind on this matter.

GRTU contends that what TCU does today is to issue ex-officio assessments under other names. Every businessman and every politician and administrator know that ex-officio assessments represent a political suicide for any politician in Government who fools around with this most unjust form of tax collection. Ex-officio assessments lead to corruption, hatred and abuse. The pain, anguish and injustice loaded on the victims are never ever forgotten either by the victim, his family or his employees. The only people who rejoice are those who spitefully instigate government to use such schemes.

That is why Ministers today are so frightened to use the term ex-officio assessment and instead use all the terms and phrases for which TCU today is well known. But GRTU members are not fooled. What TCU is doing is propagating the ex-officio doctrine. The truth is that Government is once again resorting to ex-officio assessments and no form of euphemism convinces anyone that what is happening today is not a revival of the past.

GRTU will not fail to call a spade, a spade. Our warning to government is very clear: back off! The political responsibility for what TCU is doing is squarely on the shoulders of the Prime Minister and Leader of the PN. The self employed and small business owners are sending government a very clear warning.

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