Mystery hotel guests probing VAT dodgers
The General Secretariat for Public Revenue is investigating 1,545 hotels as regards their occupancy rates and prices. Where required, the inspectors will pose as guests to establish whether what hotels declare in terms of occupancy figures and the rates they charge are factual and whether the correct taxes are being paid.
An extensive check on accommodation booking websites such as Booking.com, TripAdvisor and others has already been carried out to monitor the hotels’ occupancy rates. The secretariat’s inspectors have also been calling ho- tels, posing as potential guests, and asking about available rooms to find out what the average prices are.
When the first provisional figures are all in, the inspectors will calculate the value-added tax due, and if any significant difference with the declared VAT is uncovered they will conduct immediate checks on the enterprise’s books. The inspectors will decide whether the right amount of VAT is being paid and whether the takings are justified by the bookings.
The Tourism Ministry is assisting the tax authorities and has sent them a list of 10,114 hotels. The secretariat’s risk analysis system selected 1,545 for monitoring and inspections have already started.
The monitoring process will be conducted in three stages, with the first starting today until the end of July, the second from August 1 to 15, and the third from August 16 to 31.
Risk analysis-based checks will expand to other sectors of the economy, such as construction, hospitals, insurance and car repair shops, among others, in the future.