A legal notice on an exemption from tax on property transfers is effectively an amnesty which the government has introduced by stealth and which should be withdrawn because it is discriminatory, the PN said on Tuesday.

Legal Notice 419, entitled 'Exemption from Tax on Property Transfers (Set-off of Tax Arrears) Rules, 2021' provides that persons who have tax arrears can set off those arrears by transferring tax due on property transfers.

The PN said this legal notice was a blow to all those who had paid all due tax and it rewarded those who abused.  

No distinction was made between those who may have raked up arrears because of temporary problems beyond their control  and other 'less genuine' cases.

 The PN recalled that during the course of COVID-19 it had backed government initiatives for tax deferrals for businesses that found themselves in difficulty. But this legal notice was discriminatory against those who paid tax in full and on time.  

What was the reasoning behind this government decision, and who was the government trying to please, the party asked, saying this measure was contrary to the action plan agreed with the Financial Action Task Force to get Malta off the greylist of financial jurisdictions.

The Opposition will be challenging the legal notice in parliament.  

The statement was signed by Mario de Marco shadow minister for finance. Jason Azzopardi, shadow minister for enterprise and competitiveness and  Karol Aquilina, shadow minister for justice.  

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