Tracking tax evaders with a click

Ordinary citizens encouraged to report dodgers on new digital complaints platforms

Tracking tax evaders with a click

As part of the ongoing efforts to track down offenders, the Independent Public Revenue Authority (AADE) plans to soon develop a digital platform through which taxpayers can report tax evasion.

Despite intensive efforts through new technologies to reduce tax evasion, it is still at particularly high levels and is carried out both by self-employed professionals who conceal taxable income and also dodge indirect taxes, like VAT. 

High levels of tax evasion were the primary reason why governments increased the tax burden on individuals and legal entities during the economic crisis when the country received bailouts, in order to meet the fiscal shortfall which was also exacerbated by high tax-free thresholds and benefits.

In a recent study titled “The Unequal Distribution of the Tax Burden on Households in Greece,” the private sector union GSEE noted stark discrepancies with the EU. It said that on average, in EU countries, for every euro collected from direct taxes there is 1 euro from indirect taxes, while in Greece for every euro of direct taxes there is 1.8 euros of indirect taxes.

With few exceptions, the rates of all indirect taxes, whether VAT or excise duties, increased significantly during the decade of the memoranda. This explains the sharp increase in the share of GDP taken up by indirect tax revenues over the same period.

The study highlighted that extensive and successive increases in the applicable rates, both VAT and excise taxes, have raised the tax burden from 11.4% of household expenditure in 2008 to 15.7% in 2019. At the same time, self-employed professionals declare much lower incomes than they actually receive.

In addition to the new technologies and the digital interconnection of businesses with AADE, the tax administration and the complaints platform that is being created will receive, according to a tax administration official, complaints by name and anonymous ones. Through interoperability, the system will be able to identify the details of the business or professional that is being reported for tax evasion or smuggling.

Citizens will fill in the special form and if the information is complete, the system will transmit it to the control mechanism. If the complaint is valid, then the green light will be given for an audit.

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