Greece Cracks Down on Tax Evasion

September 7, 2012 Taxation in Greece

Tax Evasion in GreeceATHENS – Greek tax authorities are freezing the assets of tax evaders and conducting on-the-spot investigations of businesses in order to catch out taxpayers who skip out on their tax obligations.

On September 6th the Ministry of Finance of Greece released three press releases detailing the measures that tax authorities are now taking in order to crack down on tax evaders, which will help raise extra tax revenues and plug the government’s gaping budget deficit.

In one of the release the Minister of Finance Yannis Stounaras explained that “…tolerance towards those who cheat with their taxes, no matter how high up they are, is over.”

As part of its efforts to clamp down on tax evasion, Greece’s Financial Crimes Squad (SDOE) has begun to freeze the assets of taxpayers who cheat on their taxes.

So far the SDOE has frozen the bank accounts and seized the assets of 121 individuals and companies which allegedly evaded significant amounts of taxes.

The value of the frozen assets is currently estimated to be at EUR 50 million, but the Minister underlined that a full evaluation of the frozen bank accounts has not been concluded, and the value is likely to increase.

According to the newly published press releases, tax authorities are also conducting operations to catch out Greek businesses which actively attempt to evade their tax obligations.

Most recently, tax inspectors conducted investigations outside a concert performed by the band Red Hot Chilli Peppers, and issued fines of up to EUR 5 000 to anyone found selling unauthorized merchandise or not offering receipts with sales.

Tax inspectors are also routinely conducting unannounced inspections of shops and restaurants in popular tourist towns to find evidence of businesses not recording sales in order to lower their income taxes.

Photo by Niina C