Greece clamps down on tax evasion
GREECE, struggling to cut deficits and dig out of its debt crisis, is getting tougher on tax evaders, enforcing a new law that allows immediate closure of businesses that violate tax regulations.
Yesterday, six bars and night clubs in Athens were shut down for 48 hours by the finance ministry's economic crimes unit (SDOE) for not issuing receipts to customers in an effort to evade VAT tax.
"Tax evasion is theft and represents a grave social injustice," the ministry said.
The closure of the six bars and nightclubs was part of a broader sweep in the Athens area showing a high degree of VAT evasion. The ministry said over two-thirds of the concerns checked by SDOE inspectors in the sweep ended up being fined for tax offences.
Scrambling to improve tax compliance and boost budget revenues in a recessionary economy, the law allows tax authorities to better assess citizens' tax liabilities based on objective criteria of their living standard.
The clampdown on rampant tax evasion includes stiffer penalties for tax offenders and judicial system reforms to shorten delays in processing tax cases. Budget revenues grew 5.4pc last year to €51.1bn, narrowly missing a 6pc percent annual growth target. (Reuters)