No progress seen in tax administration

Tax evasion loopholes remain wide open in Greece, the monitoring mechanisms are still shackled to political power, and an apparent determination to adhere to all laws and regulations conceals a counterproductive climate of inactivity, according to a damning report by the International Monetary Fund and the European Union on the country’s tax administration.

As a result, government promises about beating tax evasion and collecting revenues appear out of touch with reality. The authors of the draft report believe “the sense of autonomy is alien to the governance tradition in Greece” and argue that it will be likely the head of the General Secretariat of Public Revenues will be a political appointment.

Despite recommendations, very few measures were carried out after the European election last May, which is mainly attributed to political interventions ahead of January’s general election.

The tax mechanisms picture is disheartening to say the least, as, for instance, there are known individuals (including some tax officials) who use OPAP betting slips to explain undeclared income, without no state intervention.