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Josep María Paños, chairman of the Catalan Association of Taxation, Accounting and Employment Consultants: “The key driving forces behind the economy are SMEs, freelancers and professionals”

Mié, 09/02/2015 - 10:32

Josep María Paños, chairman of the ACAT, and Jorge Irigaray, general secretary of EAE Business School, have signed an agreement with the aim of continuing to strengthen links with organizations in the accountancy sector.

For Paños, “it is an honour to be associated to EAE as a full partner of the ACAT, as it is a seal of assurance of excellent tuition. I hope that it is equally an honour for EAE to be the Association’s partner. I foresee a highly rewarding future for the mutual cooperation between the two institutions”.

The team at EAE had the chance to chat to him for a few minutes about what this agreement means, the new tax reforms and a few strategies for dealing with the high unemployment rate and the black market.

Recently, the Associació Catalana d'Assessors Fiscals, Comptables i Laborals (Catalan Association of Taxation, Accounting and Employment Consultants) has signed an agreement with EAE. What does it involve?

The purpose of the agreement is to join forces between the two institutions to achieve better, quality training for the members of the ACAT and the students of EAE Business School. To this end, we are pleased to be able to count on a valued partnership with EAE, one of the country’s best business schools. As a result of this agreement, ACAT professionals will have access to an extensive range of options for their training, while EAE students will have an access route to the world of Taxation, Accounting and Employment Consultancy. This will run alongside the joint events and activities organized by the two institutions, which are sure to be of great interest to the professional world.

Taxation is always a hot topic but particularly at the moment, with the Government introducing a set of tax reforms at the start of 2015. Nine months in, what conclusions can be drawn?

Unfortunately, our country is plagued by incomplete reform, largely for reasons of tax revenue and electioneering. What we need is true taxation reform that lightens the bureaucratic burden, eliminates the endless legal uncertainty that we face, simplifies the taxation system and promotes business and professional development through reasonable tax rates.

In an economy in which over 90% of companies are SMEs, what steps must be taken over the coming financial years to build on the measures already taken by the Government?

The steps that we really need are a generalized reduction in tax rates, the elimination of tax bureaucracy (lots of absurd formal obligations that weigh SMEs down), a tax system that is clear, certain and fair, and an inspectorate that truly chases after tax evaders and not taxpayers that fulfil their fiscal obligations.

This summer has been characterized by the negative news generated by the situation in some of the BRIC emerging superpowers, especially Brazil and China. How could this effect the deceleration of the European Union?

Unfortunately, in a globalized world, the EU cannot exist in isolation from the rest of the world. As a result, a severe crisis in the BRIC economies is bound to have a negative impact on the EU and its economy.

According to recent statistics, the unemployment rate in the Eurozone had dropped to levels similar to February 2012, although Spain continues to register higher levels, together with Greece (22% and 25%, respectively). What are the key factors in sustaining this trend? Can the ‘German’ model be extrapolated to the economies that have been punished most severely by the recession?

Spain clearly has two problems: an unemployment rate that is hard to bring down and a large black market that contributes to this alarming rate. If we really had an unemployment rate of 22%, the country would be in the midst of severe national unrest. As such, we have to fight unemployment fraud and the black market in order to ascertain the real unemployment rate. Spain must once and for all commit to real employment reform, however traumatic that may be. We have to liberalize the employment market, simplify its rules and lower its costs.

Together with Madrid, the Balearic Islands, Aragon, La Rioja, Navarra, the Basque Country and Cantabria, Catalonia is one of the autonomous communities with the lowest rate of unemployment in Spain? What are the key ‘driving forces’ behind the Catalan economy?

Without a doubt, SMEs, freelancers and professionals, ironically those that receive the worst treatment.

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