Spotlight on Internet Tax Cheats
Trade worth hundreds of millions of US dollars has been escaping the Swedish tax authorities. But a successful project has been investigating and clawing back the money.
Talking to newspaper Dagens Nyheter Dag Hardyson, the leader of the tax investigation, says that 'fake traders' attempt to avoid tax by having their internet servers registered abroad and the company pretending to operate in a tax haven such as the Virgin Islands - while in fact the whole workforce is sitting in Sweden.
Since the project was started in 2007 the tax authorities have reclaimed over 85 million US dollars worth of unpaid taxes; 45 million of this from poker playing web sites.
An example of an economic activity on the internet that often escapes taxation is the selling of avatars - characters for playing on line role playing games with. In the last 14 months 12,000 such game figures have been sold, for a total value estimated at around 84 million US dollars.