Experts come to help Greece collect taxes

Greece’s European Union partners are sending in reinforcements to help in the battle to reorganize the country’s tax collection mechanism, aimed at improving state revenues and combating tax evasion.

Tax experts from Spain, France, the Netherlands, Sweden and Belgium have already arrived in Greece and are helping the country’s tax authorities to locate pockets of tax evasion and come up with ways of monitoring categories of professionals who are seen as more likely not to declare their full income.

Finance Ministry officials say that the only option left to state increase revenues is by reducing tax evasion and chasing up unpaid debts. They stress that there is no margin for reducing salary costs, so all efforts should focus on stopping tax evasion.

Each group of foreign experts is offering specialized help in certain areas: The French are providing know-how in inspections of the very wealthy, the Spanish have taken on the construction and real estate sectors, the Swedes are drafting a plan for electronic checks on high-income taxpayers, and the Belgians and the Dutch are occupied with setting up a call center for collecting debts and reminding taxpayers when payments are due.