THE Balearic tax office stepped up inspections last year and detected 213.26 million euros in black money and fiscal fraud, up nearly 15 per cent compared to 2001. The figures were released yesterday by tax man Ignacio Fernández Alegria and Nicolas Bonilla, the director of customs and special taxes. Nationwide, fiscal fraud came to 11'000 million euros, an increase of 13 per cent, with a further 1'000 million euros coming from special operations concerning drug trafficking. Alegria and Bonilla said that the figures for the Balearics could be broken down to 110 million euros in settled debt (fraud discovered but not considered a crime), 50 million euros in fiscal fraud and contraband (double the 2001 figure) and 53 million euros in other operations. Alegria said that the tax office had streamlined its systems for recovering debts last year. Debt recovery includes tax collected from people who did not pay during the voluntary period. The Balearics had the highest number of people who filed their income tax returns via internet, 86'772, more than double the number in 2001. The service offered by the tax office, whereby appointments could be made for help in completing returns, was used by 46'042 people, Alegria said.

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