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Online tax evasion worth billions

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Online tax evasion worth billions
09:33 CEST+02:00
The Internet has enabled many companies to operate outside the purview of public authorities. The Swedish Tax Authority (Skatteverket) estimates that online tax evasion amounts to around 5 billion kronor ($638.7 million).

Large amounts of cash are circulated in e-commerce and in various types of Internet companies. Skatteverket is reviewing Internet commerce in a national project that will be completed at the end of the year. Since 2007, the project has led to 670 million kronor ($85.6 million) in back taxes, of which 350 million kronor ($44.7) were related to various poker websites, reported Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper.

“Within the poker industry, this is often related to 'fake traders'. You have a foreign server and pretend that the company has operations in the Virgin Islands, but it's in Sweden the whole time,” project manager Dag Hardyson told DN.

According to Skatteverket, examples of e-commerce that should be taxed are when someone sells an avatar via an online advertisement. In the last 14 months, there have been 12,000 advertisements for avatars placed by around 7,000 private inviduals for a total estimated value of 662 million kronor ($84.6 million).

In 2007, companies and individuals paid 420 million kronor ($53.7 million) in back taxes, in 2008 140 million kronor ($17.9 million) and thus far in 2009 the figure is 110 million kronor ($14.1), reported DN.

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