Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Stricken Greece Scrambles for New Revenue
Wall Street Journal
March 29, 2011
Almost a year after Greece received a €110 billion bailout to save it from bankruptcy, the country’s deeply dysfunctional tax system is still having trouble collecting taxes. With as much as one in three Greeks dodging the tax man—a national pastime in this country—the folks at the finance ministry are starting to turn their attention elsewhere.
They reckon that if you can’t collect revenues from the living, then how about raising some money from the dead? Specifically, Greece’s bean counters are wondering what happens to all those assets— houses, offices, bank accounts, stock holdings—that belonged to the deceased, but who passed away without survivors?
Why not? One estimate says there could be €4 billion of those unclaimed assets to be tapped. Other estimates put the number as high as €20 billion. If so, that would go a long way to closing Greece’s budget deficit (last year around €22 billion) and would even make a dent in the national debt (now around €340 billion).
Posted by Yulie Foka-Kavalieraki at 11:04 AM