Politics: Gov't unveils nat'l programme to combat tax evasion

The Greek government on Monday unveiled a national programme aimed at combating tax evasion, which foresees strict inspections of enterprises and taxpayers in the period 2011-2013.
The programme, the result of a joint effort by four ministries, is designed to raise 11.8 billion euros in tax revenues in the period from 2011 to 2013 through combating tax evasion, which has taken dramatic proportions in Greece.

According to the plan, the "black economy" in the country is estimated at 25-37 pct of GDP, equalling annual tax losses of 15 billion euros, or 30 pct of total tax revenue. This performance positions Greece at the top of EU and OECD countries with the largest off-the-books economy percentage rate.

The programme envisages the imposition of strict measures (jail sentences, confiscations, etc) and measures to reorganise tax bureaus by abolishing or merging financial services and maintaining only one tax agency in each prefect capital, with the rest tax agency offices to be replaced by citizens’ service offices.

All personnel will be transferred to central tax agency offices to ensuring adequate staff and increased efficiency of inspections.

Under the plan, the finance ministry will set up a new body for collecting tax revenue and introducing a digital coding system to trace illegal imports of tobacco and alcohol products in the country. The national plan also foresees measures to boost international tax cooperation with third countries and to promote a bilateral agreement with Switzerland to monitor deposits by Greek taxpayers abroad.

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