Many taxpayers including large companies saw their names go public in the Fiscal Service debtors notice even though they had paid certain taxes in advance.
[This is a translation from Romanian. The original article is here]
On December 21, 2015, the State Fiscal Service released a new app on its website www.fisc.md. In the category “Public information / About taxpayers” anyone who introduces a taxpayer’s code number can immediately see if the respective taxpayer owes anything to the national budget.
Mold-Street has documented how this app works, which are the debtors, and – importantly- whether the information on the official webpage is true.
Small and big – all in the blacklist
We followed the instructions on the website and discovered that small and large companies, firms of millionaires, international giants, and public institutions and enterprises are among the debtors. For example, we found “sinning” internet providers and telecoms. Among the four big communication companies only Orange Moldova was debt-free as of January 13, 2016, according to the Fiscal Service report.
Moldtelecom, which is a state-owned company, does have debts, and so do Moldcell and Starnet. Alexandru Machedon, founder and manager of Starnet, told Mold-Street almost two weeks ago that his company had paid all due taxes and fees. In spite of his words, Starnet was marked red as a debtor on the Fiscal Service website on December 27, 2015.
Finance Ministry – on the blacklist, too
The largest banks in Moldova, too, have tax problems.
Moldova-Agroindbank, Moldindconbank, Victoriabank, and Mobiasbanca were reported as debtors by the tax authority. The big surprise is that the Finance Ministry, which is a supervisor of the Fiscal Service, is mentioned as a debtor towards the budget, though the size of debt was not disclosed.
Many companies controlled by Moldova’s richest business people are in a similar situation. It is the case of the companies which are part of the empire of oligarch Vlad Plahotniuc, including the famous Finpar Invest, Nobil-Club, Codru Hospitality, Argus-Teh and Argus-S.
It is curious that his media enterprises including General Media Grup Corp or Casa Media Plus were not among the debtors. Especially complicated are things around Argus-S, a security firm. According to a report released by the National Social Insurance Company (CNAS), this firm owed an additional 452,263 lei (more than 21,500 USD) in social fees.
"No, we don’t owe anything to CNAS or others. You can check with the Fiscal Service, where you may contact the person at the Big Taxpayers Department who is responsible for our company," said Ana Luca, chief accountant at Argus-S.
Fiscal Service not willing to share information
Galina Spânu, of the Big Taxpayers Department at the State Fiscal Service, refused to elaborate on the issue. It’s confidential and we are not going to give you such information, she said. A colleague of her, Eduard Balan, who is the head of the press relations unit, recommended Mold-Street to talk to the persons who manages the tax authority’s website.
The enterprise responsible for the website www.fisc.md is Fiscservinform. However, Fiscservinform directed Mold-Street to the Common Calls Center at 022 822222. For two days a robot answered our calls at these numbers. A secretary at Fiscservinform ädvised: “There are many calls there, therefore you must be more insistent.
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This material was produced as part of the project "Investigative business journalism for transparency and European integration,” which Business News Service (Mold-Street.com) is implementing with the support of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). The opinions expressed therein belong to their authors and do not reflect necessarily the stance of NED or the U.S. Government.