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Hungary's FM on fighting the black economy

According to researchers, the “value” of black economy now equals 17%–18% of GDP, said Finance Minister János Veres at the government spokespersons' press meeting. 

Last year GDP was Ft 23,560 billion ($129,7 billion) so the estimated value of illegal economy approaches Ft 4,000 billion ($22 billion), he added. As the main areas of black economy, Veres listed smuggling, excise tax evasion, VAT-frauds, illegally hired workforce, fake products and violating consumer protection regulations. As a result of the measures taken during the past two years, the ratio of illegal cigarettes dropped from 30% to 10% and the ratio of illegal fuel dropped from 50% to 5%, Veres said.

Customs officers have found Ft 25 billion ($137 million) worth unpaid tax since last September, when they were given a wider scope of investigative rights. Tax authority APEH found over Ft 20 billion unpaid tax when conducting wealth accumulation revisions. Last year there were 42,000 people caught working illegally, four times more than in the previous year. Frauds with fake invoices totaled about Ft 14 billion ($77 million) in H1 2007, the 88% of which was committed by companies with large turnovers. (Gazdasági Rádió, Magyar Hirlap)