ECONOMY

Finance Ministry memo calls for end to exceptions for tax evasion

A memo handed to Finance Ministry employees has called on officials not to make any exceptions in their effort to tackle tax evasion, indicating that some personalities enjoyed political protection in the past.

The memo was not signed but appears to have been issued by Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras. It sets out plans for making inroads in the fight against tax dodging, including the appointment of 4,000 inspectors.

According to reports, the memo also underlines the “tragic” state of tax collection in previous years. It claims that tax inspectors are repeatedly contacting the Finance Ministry to inform them that they have indications about high profile people, such as singers, lawyers and mayors, evading their taxes. Inspectors, it claims, ask what action they should take.

The memo says that for many years such individuals were considered “untouchable” but that the Finance Ministry would no longer accept any exceptions. “Whoever cheats on taxes, even if it’s the Pope, will have to pay,” the memo reads.

The memo also says that tax inspectors who fail to meet their targets will be removed from their positions.