45 minutes. That is the time the Spanish tax office Hacienda needs to detect tax fraud in the case of big fortunes thanks to the use of big data. From now on it will be a lot harder for Spanish business people, bankers, politicians, athletes and artists to stay under the radar if they don’t pay their taxes properly.
In 2018, the tax authorities established a new central unit for coordinating the control of relevant assets. This unit focuses on discovering and systematizing information through new technical developments and computer tools.
According to Hacienda, the group subject to analysis and monitoring by the unit consists of approximately 170,000 taxpayers, “who have relevant assets and exhibit certain tax risk factors”. Last year the unit already managed to raise 347.5 million euros as a result of the verification actions.
The tax authorities state that considerable progress has been made in detecting hidden assets, undeclared income and in the efficiency of large asset inspections. Thanks to the use of massive processing techniques on ‘big data’ infrastructures, the tax authorities can make calculations for wealthy taxpayers up to the very deepest levels. In concrete terms, Hacienda can use the available infrastructures to make a calculation at a depth of 20 levels in just 45 minutes.
Growing group of millionaires
On the one hand, the Spanish Treasury wants to increase the number of taxpayers analysed and, on the other, the inspections will take place more thoroughly. According to the Global Wealth Report of Credit Suisse from 2018, there are 852,000 people in Spain with assets of more than one million dollars, 2% of all the rich in the world. According to the prospects of this private bank, the group of millionaires will grow to 1.2 million people in 2023 (41% growth).
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