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'Insulting a tax official' soon to be a crime

financasInsulting a tax official in Portugal for some may be justified, cathartic and satisfying but now is illegal and attracts a fine or a prison term of up to five years.

The 2015 State Budget comes with some interesting nuggets hidden in the small print as next year’s increasingly uncompromising plans for the collection of taxes from everything in Portugal with a pulse comes with some heavyweight powers for those who have chosen to toil in the tax department’s customer-facing offices.

Assaulting, insulting or merely 'disobeying orders' from tax office staff is going to be punishable with a fine or imprisonment, starting when the legislation is passed next year.

The draft laws are unlikely to contain a section on justifiable provocation of the customer by rudeness, smirking, ignoring sensible proposals for repayments and indifference. There are no guidelines proposed for which orders from Finanças staff are acceptable and which are not.

The proposed State Budget for 2015 merely states that the criminal code will invest tax officials with public authority, ‘Any offense against an employee of the Tax and Customs Authority shall be a public crime.’

The move comes at a time when the government is planning to maintain and raise its tax collection game of cat and mouse while seeking to protect employees from assault, a phenomenon that has increased in line with the growing financial crisis.

The president of the Syndicate of Tax Workers, Paulo Ralha, welcomed the new police like status for his members, but believes that "people will continue to be aggressive, as because of the government "we are collecting some debts that we should not be in charge of collecting.”

Ralha refers to the collection of unpaid toll fees and fines, and to fines incurred by fare dodgers on public transport which he sees as civil matters and nothing to do with the State’s coercive collection systems.

In the meatime many tax departments continue to offer self defence courses, maybe as part of employees' continued professional development.

Comments  

+1 #7 Charles Small 2014-10-25 19:26
When Tax officers are involved in side deals to obtain and sell on at a considerable profit property confiscated by the Finanças and receive commissions on top -I think insults are the very least they should receive.
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+2 #6 Ed 2014-10-19 19:17
Quoting George:
Attack on "freedom of speech" !

(This site is stifling also free speech, they continue to delete my posts) im sure they delete this too.

George

Hi George.
I read that you think that algarvedailynews is 'stifling free speech.'

In truth I do remove racist, sexist and derogatory remarks but 99% of comments are published in full and unaltered representing probably the freest speech platform available for the Algarve.

If there are lots of comments on one particular news item they do run on to a second page which you can access by clicking the page number at the end of the comments section.

I am guessing this is what has happended in you case.

Keep them coming!
Ed
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+3 #5 Daphne 2014-10-19 10:52
We all need to stress just how backward Portugal is and how 'anti-EU'.

Certainly these public officers have every 'right' to not be abused. They perform, when doing it correctly - a valuable job for the EU as much as Portugal.

But the point is that only the elite and the criminals trying to cover their tracks would feel any need to 'insult' a lowly tax officer.

And this law will not therefore change anything as - if taken seriously - it will strike at the very heart of the status quo.

Someone 'important' - even the criminals - expect to be treated specially.

Hence the general ineptness of the judiciary and forces of law and order.

Next some idiot will be proposing 'Hey Portugal. I've had an idea. Lets stop - after x hundred years - facing the Maghreb and start facing Europe. Trying to take this EU business more seriously'.
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+4 #4 RCK 2014-10-19 09:57
Quoting mm:
will it be a crime if they insult the taxpayer :-*

Not a chance. "Don't do as we do, do as we tell you to do....... etc etc". Same the world over I guess. Ruling classes v's all the little people; like you and me. The ruling classes will always win because they make the rules and we don't. Power always corrupts. The rules are ultimately never going to be for our benefit are they. Government by the people, for the people? All bullshit if you ask me.
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+4 #3 George 2014-10-18 14:03
Attack on "freedom of speech" !
The marxists use this as a new pre text to criminalise people!
So youll all be in fear now when you meet anyone from the portuguese tax dept!
If they dont like your tone of voice, face or you, call gnr thugs to come and cart you away go the nearest gestapo center, where your likely to be give a good kicking and beating, if they dont like your tone either.
Its time to realise there are other countries in europe where the sun shines and the sea breeze blows.

This is a big wake up call, welcome to marxist portuguese police state.

(This site is stifling also free speech, they continue to delete my posts) im sure they delete this too.

George
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+8 #2 Plain Speaking 2014-10-18 09:46
Portugal - Rapidly returning to the PIDE era.
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+12 #1 mm 2014-10-17 18:44
will it be a crime if they insult the taxpayer :-*
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