Final Word from Wednesday, January 4, 2017

There was never any question that the matching of invoices would lead to a rise in VAT collections. Repression usually does lower crime. The issue with the invoice-matching system is different. Finance Min. Andrej Babiš promised that this form of repression, where every company is considered a potential criminal and is required to give up confidential information to the country's most acquisitive businessman, was needed to tackle the Kč 80bn in annual VAT fraud. Yet VAT receipts rose last year by only Kč 17.9bn (5.4%), including 2% growth in GDP and 3% higher household consumption. The ministry attributed Kč 10-12bn of the extra VAT revenue to invoice matching. If we subtract Kč 10-12bn in new invoice-matching revenue from the total, it means that VAT from non-fraudulent activity didn't keep up with GDP and household consumption. Strange. More likely is that the invoice-matching figures are purposely being overstated to justify the system. [Czech Republic domestic]

Glossary of difficult words

acquisitive - (in this context) active in the purchase of companies;

to tackle - to make a determined effort to deal with (a problem or difficult task);

to overstate - to exaggerate.

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