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Greece loses around €9 billion from tax evasion

21 May 2010 / 12:05:23  GRReporter
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Revenue of €50 billion has been hidden in Greece, according to data from the National Bank, on which taxes would have amounted to €9 billion. Condition for the government deficit to decline by 10 percentage units by 2014, is this money to be found and taxes to be imposed on them, as provided in the agreement between Greece, the International Monetary Fund and the Eurozone. 

According to a survey of the National Bank, the total income taxes collected in Greece during the last decade amount to about 21% of the GDP rate, which for Eurozone countries this percentage is 26. But while taxes from employees, pensioners and businesses are moving within the average for the 16 Member States, the tax-free income from entrepreneurs and private companies is quite low, which means that the large debtors of the state Treasury are hidden in this category. 

According to the bank, it is imperative the following measures to be taken: to open all bank accounts, sanctions to be imposed immediately and to publish the names of all taxpayers who are involved in tax evasion. 

Large debtors of the state are individuals - mostly business owners, but also legal entities - companies, which in most cases develop their activities until this moment. According to Imerisiya newspaper the sum of the total amount these 3700 taxpayers owe is about €10 billion that and if this amount is collected, it can reduce the government deficit to 4.2 percent of GDP. This long list includes the state railway company OCE, former state owned Olympic Airways and municipalities, which owe about €3 billion, which in turn raises the question to what extent these amounts can be cashed. 

The list of auditors includes many food and clothing companies, travel companies, publishers, advertising agencies and insurance companies. According to the Ethnos newspaper financiers have identified approximately 11,000 'fat' debtors who owe taxes amounting to over €100,000. It should be noted that these days tax authorities operate under steam, as proceedings are initiated for the seizure of properties by debtors, who have not paid their taxes.   

The office of the Minister of Finance George Papakonstantinou has the list with names of 3,700 taxpayers, each of whom owes to the state over €1 million of unpaid taxes. On top of the list is the name of a Thessaloniki businessman who has a ‘mammoth’ debt of €636 million. Among irregular taxpayers is stock company Acropolis, which became known as part of a major scandal regarding the structured bond scandal of fixed debt for an amount exceeding €550 million.

Tags: Greece Athens tax evasion economy crisis
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