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Treasury Announces Tax Buster, Enforcer To Go After Tax Evaders, Not Tax Filers


February 21, 2002
Copyright © 2002 CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. All Rights Reserved.

Treasury Secretary Juan Flores-Galarza has his agency’s sights set on unearthing the underground economy. And his creation this week of a new senior-level post at the agency–Assistant Secretary for Tax Evasion and Corruption–is designed to help him make sure that the job gets done.

The new Assistant Secretary for Tax Evasion and Corruption is attorney and CPA Eduardo Martinez, who previously served as Assistant Secretary for Administrative Appeals.

"This new post represents a change in terms of our priorities," Flores-Galarza told CARIBBEAN BUSINESS in an exclusive interview. "It reflects this administration’s conviction that we need to put more resources into going after tax evaders, not against those who are filing taxes," Flores-Galarza emphasized.

As of this week, Flores-Galarza has transferred a virtual army of auditors–100 total–to the newly created Office of Assistant Secretary for Tax Evasion and Corruption. Previously, these auditors had worked in the Bureau for Fiscal Auditing–the Treasury Department office in charge of auditing current tax filings.

The Treasury Secretary said he plans to augment the size of the Department’s new anti-tax evasion arm even more in the months ahead. Explaining the rationale behind the move, Flores-Galarza said that when he arrived to the Treasury Department last year, he found that the Department’s Bureau for Tax Evasion had a staff of only 25 auditors–17 of whom were assigned to a host of different federal agency task forces. "Needless to say, not enough was being done with only eight people to go after the problem of out and out tax evasion in Puerto Rico."

On the other hand, the Bureau for Fiscal Auditing, had 450 auditors dedicated to auditing and investigating current taxpayers. "It should almost be the other way around," Flores-Galarza said. "Now, we’re going to have the balance and the resources we really need to go after the underground economy, which is our real target," said the Treasury Secretary.

Flores-Galarza said the new Treasury arm would also work closely with federal agencies and the local Department of Justice in cracking down on tax evasion related to corruption. "It’s typically a lot easier to prove the fact of tax evasion than to prove the other elements that go along with corruption schemes," Flores-Galarza observed.

This Caribbean Business article appears courtesy of Casiano Communications.
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