Spain seeks to recoup 8.17 bn euros in tax fraud plan

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Spain aims to recoup 8.17 billion euros ($10.5 billion) in 2012 by fighting tax fraud, the new right-leaning government announced Thursday.

The government is drawing up an anti tax fraud scheme to include boosting the number of inspectors and limiting the size of cash payments, Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said after a cabinet meeting.

The government will "limit the practice of paying in cash in certain transactions to fight the underground economy," she told a news conference.

Last week the government announced a hiring freeze on civil servants but excluded tax inspectors and emergency services workers from the measure.

New Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's team is taking quick action because it has vowed to meet an increasingly difficult target of slashing the public deficit to 4.4 percent of gross domestic product in 2012, come what may.

The government has acknowledged Spain will miss its goal of reducing the public deficit to 6.0 percent of GDP in 2011 from 9.3 percent the year before. The 2011 deficit may even top 8.0 percent, ministers say.

© 2012 AFP

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