Tackling the sizable informal sector of Armenia’s economy is a top priority for tax authorities, the head of the State Revenue Committee (SRC), Davit Ananian, said over the weekend.
Ananian said he has decided to set up a task force that will strive to measure the precise scale of tax evasion in various sectors of the economy. He admitted that the SRC currently lacks full information about it.
“If we don’t have estimates of the informal sector we won’t be able to say with which instruments we should be combatting it and whether that fight can be deemed effective,” Ananian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am).
“For the first time we are setting up a working group in order to gauge that grey economy,” he said. “This will be the cornerstone of the SRC’s activities.”
Ananian promised a tougher crackdown on companies and individuals underreporting their earnings when he was appointed as head of the SRC in late May. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian said last week that the tax and customs service has since recovered more than 20 billion drams ($42 million) of unpaid taxes. The sum was collected from 73 companies, according to the SRC.
“The number of such firms is going up by the day and so is the figure cited by the prime minister,” said Ananian. He insisted that the main purpose of these fines is not to boost the government’s tax revenues but to make businesses “change their behavior.”