Monday, December 24, 2012

Greece Urged to Get Tough on Tax

Wall Street Journal
December 24, 2012

Greece's international creditors have called on the country to do more to tackle tax evasion, particularly among wealthier residents, as Athens scrambles to check up on thousands of taxpayers suspected of having sent money abroad illegally.

Tax dodging is estimated to cost Greece about €28 billion ($36.93 billion) a year, roughly 15% of economic output, hampering efforts to restore the country's fiscal health after a debt crisis broke out in late 2009, threatening the country's presence in the common currency zone and plunging the economy into severe recession.

A report prepared by the International Monetary Fund and the European Union said on Monday that Greece will miss five out of 10 goals set for December in relation to audits and tax collection, adding that changes to the legal framework and collection methods could provide a major boost to revenue.

"Considerable arrears remain on the books—€53 billion—of which most likely 15% to 20% could be paid," the report said.

"The mission expresses concern that work being conducted is falling idle and that the drive to fight tax evasion among the very wealthy and the self employed is at risk of weakening."


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