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Greece’S Efforts To Limit Tax Evasion Have Little Success

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http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/21/world/europe/21greece.html?_r=1&ref=business

The agents from the Financial and Economic Crime Unit slipped in on a holiday evening recently, taking some of the tall seats at the crowded bar in the Three Little Pigs Cafe here.

Soon, however, they were asking customers to show their receipts — an indication that the trendy night spot was paying value-added taxes. But the agents were not satisfied. Armed with a new law devised to help Greece crack down on tax cheats, the agents shut the cafe for the next 48 hours because, they said, receipts were missing. Across the city, other restaurants and nightclubs were also being padlocked, their names showing up in the local newspapers, their front doors sealed for all to see.

The highly visible campaign against cafes and night spots is only one of the many efforts Greek authorities have made over the past year to change what has long been a way of life in this country — rampant tax evasion. But so far, to little avail.

“We have learned a lot,” said Ilias Plaskovitis, the general secretary of the Finance Ministry. “We have had great success in identifying who owes taxes, but much less in collecting them.”

A lot is at stake. Various studies have estimated that Greece may be losing as much as $30 billion a year to tax evasion — an amount that would have gone a long way to solving its debt problems.

Last spring, Greek officials were confident they could quickly improve tax collection. Officials chafed when the International Monetary Fund would allow them to budget only an additional $1.6 billion based on projected increases in tax revenues. It was a figure that Mr. Plaskovitis expected would be easily surpassed.

The head of the Financial and Economic Crime Unit, Ioannis Kapeleris, said the agency had issued bills and fines for unpaid taxes totaling $6.5 billion last year, up from $2.2 billion in 2009.

His agents have gone after doctors who claim they are making only $25,000 a year, even though they work out of offices that cost twice that much to rent. They have questioned yacht owners who say their luxury boats are used only for business and used satellite photographs to track down those who have not reported their pools on their tax forms, as required.

But payments have only trickled in. Officials said they could not yet say how much tax revenue had been collected because the numbers were still coming in from dozens of tax offices across the country. But, they said, Greece fell $5.4 billion short on its budgeted revenue last year, through a combination of unpaid taxes and a slowing economy.

In fact, tax collection was so poor that the Greek government decided last September to offer an amnesty program, allowing many taxpayers to settle their outstanding debts by paying just 55 percent of the bill. So far, that program has brought in more than $1.5 billion.

But it has also drawn critics, even from within Prime Minister George Papandreou’s party. Critics said it was a sign of desperation that sent the worst of all possible signals if the new government wanted to make it clear that it was serious about tax collection. Past governments have offered amnesties every few years.

“Long term, you encourage people to think that five years from now there will be another amnesty, another discount,” said Costas Bakouris, the president of the Greek chapter of the anticorruption organization Transparency International. “If you really want to change things, you have to be consistent. You can’t say, ‘I’m going to fight tax evasion, but right now I need cash so, O.K. — never mind the rules.’ ”

Excellent so you've had great success in who should be paying tax but no luck in actually making them pay tax! :lol::lol:

Even better the IMF allowed the greeks to increase spending on the back of these "increased" tax revenues. Genius. How about the Greeks are allowed to increase spending once they have a balanced budget and proved they can collect the tax? Too radical?

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http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/21/world/europe/21greece.html?_r=1&ref=business

Excellent so you've had great success in who should be paying tax but no luck in actually making them pay tax! :lol::lol:

Even better the IMF allowed the greeks to increase spending on the back of these "increased" tax revenues. Genius. How about the Greeks are allowed to increase spending once they have a balanced budget and proved they can collect the tax? Too radical?

Doctors are amongst the worst tax offenders in Greece. They charge about 100euro an appointment, so you can imagine that their annual gross is well into 6 figures. The Greek authorities are just not serious about tackling this problem. There is no equilivent of the GMC in Greek, ie in the sense that it is an organisation with teeth that provides a serious deterent to errant medics. If they establised such a body, which then had the power to strike off those convicted of tax-evasion, the whole problem would disappear overnight, as would the practise of IKA (NHS) doctors demanding bribes to treat patients.

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A lot is at stake. Various studies have estimated that Greece may be losing as much as $30 billion a year to tax evasion — an amount that would have gone a long way to solving its debt problems.

No, it wouldn't. If the Greek State had collected that £30B it would have happily spent all £40B of it.

Why do people insist that cutting tax/tax evasion 'takes money out the economy'. The State is not the economy, doofus.

That £30B was spent or saved by individuals who are collectively far better at finding productive use for it than any State. The more you give the State, the more the State is able to borrow and put the country in unimaginable - never mind payable - debt.

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I love it all so much .. You all know that the bars that got closed are the ones that PAID their tax .. the ones that stay open are the ones bribe the tax authorities .. The legit buisnesses get landed with a massive tax bill and closed down .. the crooks get off by bribing the tax inspectors ..

A greek friend of mine told me he hoped that there would be a change after the EU bailed them out .. but it's actually got worse since the bailout .. What is needed is for the ministry of finance to be taken over by the EU so that taxation is controlled by a non greek .. all the tax inspectors need to be investigated by the equivilent of the "untouchables". Only when the corruption in the tax office is removed then they start collecting taxes ..

The EU has totally failed Greece by bailing them out and not asking for anything in return .. The cycle of debt and default will continue until greece changes it's culture of corruption ..

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Doctors are amongst the worst tax offenders in Greece. They charge about 100euro an appointment, so you can imagine that their annual gross is well into 6 figures. The Greek authorities are just not serious about tackling this problem. There is no equilivent of the GMC in Greek, ie in the sense that it is an organisation with teeth that provides a serious deterent to errant medics. If they establised such a body, which then had the power to strike off those convicted of tax-evasion, the whole problem would disappear overnight, as would the practise of IKA (NHS) doctors demanding bribes to treat patients.

I would have thought that a body like the GMC should stick to concerns about medical matters.

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The EU has totally failed Greece by bailing them out and not asking for anything in return ..

The EU didn't bail out Greece, it bailed out the German, French, UK banks that held the greek debt!

The average Greek would have been far better off (long-term) if the EU had let Greece default and leave the Euro.

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The EU didn't bail out Greece, it bailed out the German, French, UK banks that held the greek debt!

The average Greek would have been far better off (long-term) if the EU had let Greece default and leave the Euro.

+1

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The EU didn't bail out Greece, it bailed out the German, French, UK banks that held the greek debt!

The average Greek would have been far better off (long-term) if the EU had let Greece default and leave the Euro.

I would argue that they probably would have been as badly off or worse off. Leaving the euro for any country except Germany or France is a non starter. Unless Greece sorts out it's corruption problems it has to borrow to survive.

The one thng that isn't going to happen is that Greece tackles it's corruption, it's too profitable for too many people.

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  • 312 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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