Friday, April 17, 2009

How Do You Say AIG in Portugese?

Reuters reports that yesterday Portugal's Council of Ministers gave a preliminary nod to legislation that would lift bank customer's privacy rights and impose a special tax rate of 60% to "especially grave, unjustified enrichment" in a customer's account.

Under the proposed legislation, upon "well-grounded suspicions" of tax fraud and a "well-justified resolution by the General Tax Directorate," the government can access a taxpayer's banking information without court order. If the tax authority finds a difference of more than than 100,000 euros ($131,813) over previously reported income that the taxpayer cannot explain, the difference is subject to a 60% tax rate. If it exceeds 100,000 euros, the government gets direct access to the taxpayer's bank account.

The Portgugese Parliament has already approved a similar bill, introduced by the ruling Socialists together with the Left Block coalition party, the Portuguese Communist Party, and the Greens. The last opposition to encroachment of customers' bank privacy rights, President Anibal Cavaca Silva of the conservative Social Democrat party, apparently has folded. Yesterday, he reportedly endorsed the Council of Minister's plan to lift bank secrecy protection.

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