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Georgia: Tbilisi Turns Shoppers into Tax-Fraud Informants

Shop owners beware! Any customer could be a 'private tax inspector.' (Photo: Molly Corso)

Georgia’s democratization process is taking an ironic turn. Though eager to distance themselves from the Soviet era, a time when informants buttressed the Communist system, officials in Tbilisi are now turning average Georgians into tax-fraud snitches.

The government wants to maximize its tax revenue collection and wants the public to help it identify stores, both big and small, which hide profits and avoid paying their fair share into the state’s coffers. Under a program instituted by Georgia’s Revenue Service, an unspecified number of shoppers are being recruited and paid 100 lari (about $60.16) for each shop they report that is fined for not providing receipts to customers. The so-called “private tax inspectors” receive training from the government on how to monitor stores in their neighborhoods.

To read the full story

Molly Corso is a freelance reporter in Tbilisi and editor of the American Chamber of Commerce’s Investor.ge magazine.

Georgia: Tbilisi Turns Shoppers into Tax-Fraud Informants

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