Zappers, Phantomware and Tax Evasion.


Who knew?!

I certainly was blissfully ignorant of the slew of sales suppression software employed by some retail businesses to evade (illegal) and not avoid (legal) taxes.

Apparently, under-reporting is increasingly being facilitated by software and other devices that alter the equipment used to record sales volume at points-of-sale like the ubiquitous and now rather hi-tech cash register.

According to the OECD the use of this software presents a MAJOR risk to ALL countries and as a result governments are losing BILLIONS of dollars in tax revenues.

A sweeping somewhat melodramatic generalisation I know……but…….perhaps understandable given the fact that this MarshallPlan+ grouping often forgets that the world is larger than the countries in this ‘closed’ club.

Nonetheless spurred on by the OECD’s work in raising public awareness about the dangers of electronic sales suppression some countries have already adopted programmes to strengthen voluntary compliance and improve the audit and investigative skills of its tax collectors.

Others have gone as far as criminalising the provision, possession or use of this type of software.

As a legitimate concern about an illegitimate means of reducing tax liability, certainly this issue deserves the attention of the OECD especially since its members are most likely to be the source and the victims of such sales diminishing software.

I rather suspect though that such exotic ‘tools’ are not so readily available in the rest of the world – still starved as it of the basics of 21st century technology.

I also don’t imagine that ‘realworld’revenue departments will be soon swelling their ranks with anti-Zapper or contra-Phantomware specialists!

More probable perhaps is that the problem of sales ‘subtraction’ may become the basis for a new addition to the Nintendo or Playstation repertoire; finding a ready market for would be taxdodger- busters eager to wield in the cyber world the power they cannot exert elsewhere.


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