Dear Sir

The Minister for Employment Valeriano Gomez and the rest of the Government are going to crack down on the Black Economy (Daily B Sunday Home News). Some hope. I first encountered black money when I bought the house I still live in. The seller negotiated down to 10 million pesetas to which I agreed however he wanted the official price to be 2.5 million to which I didn't. The “system” was explained to me by my lawyer and eventually the maxim, when in Rome, was applied. At the signing of the contract my lawyer, the seller's lawyer and the Notary were all in attendance when the certified cheque for 2.5 million was handed over. At this point the Notary left his office and we handed over the black 7.5 million.

Although the level of cheating is now much less this continues today and often the Notary doesn't even diplomatically turn a blind eye but just stays put until the shafting of the tax department has been completed. Some years later I had a tax inspection of my business.

The upshot was that the IVA (VAT) I had been charging was rated to be too low and I had to pay the difference over the 5 years being scrutinised. By this time we were nearly 2 years on with me having continued to collect the tax at the low rate. I asked the inspector what to do. Even into retirement official collusion is alive and kicking. I went to the Social Security to ask if I could continue working after 65. No problem was the reply - well not quite. I could work but not receive a pension. Not so good but surely if I continued to work, pay my taxes and generate employment would I get a cash bonus and/or an enhanced pension when I eventually quit working. No. Not a penny more and all the years of missed pension lost forever. No problem was again the reply. Do like everyone else and work in the black. This is one of the traits I like about the Spanish. They have all the laws that we have but get around the ones that don't suit.

Mike Lillico, Playa d e Palma