Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Greece plans tough tax evasion laws

Financial Times
February 21, 2011

Greece has unveiled tough legislation to reduce tax evasion as part of reforms agreed in return for a €110bn bail-out by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

A draft bill presented to parliament on Monday proposes jail sentences for people convicted of non-payment of income tax obligations above €75,000 and value added tax above €150,000.

The finance ministry will launch a three-year action programme next month aimed at combating pervasive tax evasion, including measures to curb corruption among tax officials.

More than 30 per cent of due revenues go uncollected, according to official estimates.

Following criticism by the EU and the IMF that Greece was failing to “name and shame” prominent offenders, the new legislation provides for publishing lists of large-scale tax evaders.

Overall revenues rose only 5.5 per cent last year against an initial target of 13.8 per cent, in spite of two increases in value added tax and excise taxes on fuel and cigarettes


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