Catalan govt taxman ready for independence

Catalan govt taxman ready for independence

Half of Catalonians support independence from Spain with a month to go before the region hopes to hold a referendum on the issue, according to a poll released Sunday by El Espanol.

The pro-separatist government of Catalonia said it had set up its own tax agency, ready for action after the disputed referendum on independence from Madrid scheduled for October 1st.

Junqueras reportedly said that the agency might collect 42 billion euros in taxes, 15 times higher than the current amount.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's conservative government has vowed to immediately challenge the law in the courts to stop the referendum, which it deems illegal.

Many in the region argue that Catalonia pays more in taxes to the central government than it receives in services and infrastructure.

"They knew that I was not going to authorize it (the referendum) because I was neither able to, nor did I want to, but they didn't care about that", Rajoy said.

At the moment, Catalonia's tax agency may only process payments and transfer the money to the federal tax authority.

Spain's central government now collects most taxes and then distributes funds to regional administrations.

"Independence is not decided by pressing a button but via a transition which we want to be done with maximum dialogue and with a possible agreement on financing", Puigdemont told reporters.

Last week, Puigdemont and other party leaders outlined the legal framework for the transition to an independent republic they say would take effect if a majority of people in Catalonia vote "yes" to splitting from Spain.

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