BUSINESS

Tax offenders before 2006 in the clear, according to gov't circular

PROKOPIS HATZINIKOLAOU

TAGS: Taxation, Finance

The Independent Authority for Public Revenue issued a circular on Monday that effectively ends the hostage status of tens of thousands of taxpayers and enterprises over past tax violations that are more than a decade old.

Enforcing a Council of State decision that deemed illegal any extension to the statute of limitations beyond the five-year period provided, the circular signed by IAPR head Giorgos Pitsilis directed the tax-inspection mechanism as to which cases it should focus on.

Pitsilis noted that all tax violations dating from 2005 or earlier are covered by the statute of limitations, provided the taxpayers in question submitted their tax statements then.

Any tax violations from 2006 to 2010 should also be covered by the statute of limitations unless the monitoring mechanism has identified any additional data that require inspection.

In effect, this means that any people included in the various lists of Greeks suspected of hiding assets outside the country’s borders (such as the so-called Lagarde List, the Borjans List etc) are in the clear regarding any cases up to 2005. However, cases after that year will likely remain open as they have additional information, supplied by the lists.

That is not the case for the list detailing money forwarded abroad as the relevant information has always been possessed by the tax inspection mechanism. The Council of State is set to issue its verdict on this category around mid-October.

The tax cases from 2008 onward will be probed by priority in case tax evasion has been identified. In such cases the law passed in 2013 applies, which provides for the statute of limitations to apply after 20 years – and not just five – unless the country’s highest administrative court rules otherwise next month.

The IAPR business plan clearly gives priority to tax cases from 2011 onward, which are within the five-year period, and specifies that 60 percent of the inspections should focus on the last five years and only 40 percent on any older ones. Next year this will shift to 70 percent for recent ones and 30 percent for those older than five years, as the tax administration has realized that it is recent cases that hold the greatest potential to fetch money into the state coffers.

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