New Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras has called for a large scale crack down on tax evasion in Greece, and outlined urgent measures to be taken as soon as possible.
Stournaras said that cracking down on tax evasion means also speeding up the ability of the government to collect fines. As a result, the Greek government must take all the necessary steps to prevent the writing off of fines, which are at risk of being deemed to be uncollectible due to the length of time left outstanding. Stournaras hopes to collect USD1bn of these “risky” fines by the end of the year, saying that there is still a lot of “fat” to burn.
Greece has been criticized by its international creditors for its inefficient and slow process for collecting fines from recalcitrant taxpayers. For example, it may take up to 10 years to prosecute tax evaders in Greece, and it is estimated that between 2009 and 2011 only around USD70m was collected out of the USD12.3bn in fines imposed during the same period.
Stournaras proposes in particular to enact tougher legislation to enable the faster collection of unpaid fines, to carry out an urgent review and acceleration of existing back tax cases, as well as further extensive checks to track down tax evaders. According to Greece's international creditors, tax evaders are said to owe USD70bn to the Greek government.
However, Stournaras said that the most urgent thing for the government was to take active steps to collect existing fines, especially as raising revenue is a major problem for the Greek government. The Tax Offices and Financial Crimes Squad (SDOE) said it would grant up to 36 instalments spread over three years for tax evaders to ensure effective collection of taxes and fines.
According to the Troika (EC/ECB/IMF), Greece is likely to miss its tax collection targets this year because a crackdown on tax evasion was less effective than initially anticipated..
TAGS: tax | law | legislation | court | tax compliance | Greece | tax avoidance | compliance | enforcement | Finance
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