Taxing times for kids

Gov't hopes tykes will influence their parents

BUENOS AIRES — Argentina’s government is hoping a children’s TV program will help it reduce tax evasion that is so rampant that one former president called it a national sport.

Cecilia “Caramelito” Carrizo teaches young viewers the importance of paying taxes on her show “El Arca de Caramelito” (Caramelito’s Arch).

Guests draw on the backs of sales receipts and play a game that teaches how the tax system works. Carrizo sings songs with lyrics like, “This is our country and we have to care for it.”

Produced by America TV’s former programming manager Jorge Rial, “Arch” bowed May 10 on third-ranked Canal 9, owned by journalist-lawyer Daniel Hadad.

“Parents are ashamed to ask for sales receipts, and we want kids to push them to do it so that they won’t be able to avoid it,” says tax office head Alberto Abad. “We have to change the culture (of tax dodging) and our allies are the children.”

Officials estimate locals evade about half of all taxes.

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