A stark reminder of outright theft

The revelation that the amount owed by taxpayers to the state in unpaid dues increased by 1 billion euros in just a month is an illustration of just how deep the recession has become.

Of course this is only one side of the coin.

The other thing this information has revealed is that 1.1 million freelance professionals and businesses failed to submit their regular value-added tax declarations, which in turn illustrates the breadth of tax evasion.

The worst thing about this data is that failure to pay VAT is not just a case of tax evasion, it is out-and-out theft.

Any individual or business who fails to pay VAT is not just robbing the state, but also their customers and consumers who had to pay the levy on the cost of the product or service they were purchasing.

When evasion and cheating is so widespread, how do we stand a chance of eradicating such behavior?