Wholesale illegal trade going on next to tax authority headquarters
90% of shoes and clothing sold in retail in Hungary arrives from the Far East to a distribution center in Kőbánya in Budapest, and most of these goods never get customed or taxed, says retailer Zoltán Sinka. In the past ten years he sent countless submissions and letters to the competent bodies requesting an investigation of the issue but his efforts were to no avail. Therefore, he now published the documents and other alleged evidence he collected online.
We don’t know whether Mr. Sinka is right about the allegations or not as no official data exists on the phenomenon he describes. However, the fact is that during the distribution center’s opening hours pick-up trucks are busy getting loaded with the products imported from the Far East and sold here. The license plates on the cars of these customers are often foreign, suggesting that a big portion of the sold goods is taken abroad. Mr. Sinka’s experience is that the price is calculated with VAT only if the customer specifically asks for a receipt. Even when doing so, the receipt is most often not a proper document, rather just a piece of paper.
The wholesalers seem to be quite relaxed conducting their business. The General Directorate for Deployment of the National Tax and Customs Administration is located right next door but the wholesalers in the distribution center don’t feel threatened. In the meantime, the tax authority has started various proceedings against Zoltán Sinka, which he believes is because of the cases he revealed.
Translation by Anikó Mészáros, editing by Orsolya Gulyás.
This text was originally posted on 18 March 2014 in Hungarian language.