Retail stores in the Mall San Pedro were one of the first to get a visit from the Policía de Control Fiscal (PCF) or Tax Police, to check on shops to verify they are applying the Value Added Tax (VAT).

The visit Thursday morning is the first audit of this type that takes place since the tax went into force on Monday, July 1.

The operation is of things to come, part of the government controls to ensure the tax is applied to both goods and services.

“The operation was born as a first step to verify that, effectively, with the entry into force of the VAT the shops are applying it as it should be, in this case we are reviewing absolutely everything, the part of the VAT and the tax part of each commercial premises, that is, business registration, health permit and the license to for the activity they have registered is actually the one that is being carried out in the commercial premises,” Irving Malespín, director of PCF, told AmeliaRueda.com.

According to Malespin, prior to the operation the officials had intense training to carry out the surprise inspections, not only on the VAT but to detect any other type of tax irregularity.

“This is the first, but it will not be the last, we already have a plan from here to the end of the year that will take us, not only to all the shopping centers, but to a number of stores in general, so that we all are in rule,” explained Malespín.

“It is a comprehensive work, in addition to VAT, we want to go further and see what kind of infractions these people may be committing (…),” he added.

On Thursday, legislators approved unanimously the bill for a three month moratorium on VAT sanctions, that is, taxpayers found to have made a mistake will not be fined for their error, so long as it is not a major error or there was intent to evade paying the tax or defraud the tax department.