BUSINESS

Huge haircut to dodgers’ fines

PROKOPIS HATZINIKOLAOU, SOTIRIS NIKAS

TAGS: Finance

The Finance Ministry is again making overtures to tax dodgers who have in the past produced fake tax details or bogus invoices, asking them to join a particularly favorable scheme offered by the government in August 2015 that slashes their fines.

A tax bill tabled in Parliament on Wednesday shows that taxpayers whose cases had been identified by July 2015 and are still pending or at the arbitration committee stage, or who have not yet been issued with a fine, will have their fines cut by between 50 and 90 percent on the condition that they pay them by October 30.

It is noted that the leftist-led government’s practices are not at all in harmony with SYRIZA’s rhetoric developed in previous years when it was still in opposition and accused previous governments of granting favors to major tax evaders.

Ministry officials say that the clause was included in the bill due to the need for an increase in the collection of fines, as the previous – higher – fines proved impossible to collect.

Another clause in the bill provides for fines for ministry officials who violate the rules on classified information. These may range between 1,000 and 100,000 euros.

The bill also provides for the abolition of the Single Property Tax (ENFIA) discount for taxpayers whose revenues from interest exceed 300 euros per year, and for the publication of the names of major debtors to social security funds, as was the case with debtors to the tax authorities.

And all this is taking place while the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, is insisting that the IMF is not yielding on its positions at all: “We must continue to be strict and disciplined,” she stated on Wednesday, showing that the negotiations on labor reform and other issues of the second bailout reform will be very tough this fall.

Lagarde also admitted that Greece has been a difficult experience for everyone, particularly for the Greeks themselves.

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