Alternate Finance Minister Tryfon Alexiadis has described the issue of tax evasion in Greece as complex in an interview with the Belgian newspaper L’Echo, while stressing that he will be judged on his ability to collect taxes.
Asked why collecting taxes seems so hard in Greece, Alexiadis pointed to a lack of political will to ensure a working system and interventions by politicians and others.
He noted, however, that during the last 5,300 tax inspections he had not received any calls for intervention, showing a public awareness that this government’s higher officials are very different.
After five years of tax rises, Alexiadis noted that the situation is tense. Last week tax collectors on Rhodes were roughed up by business owners and citizens while conducting spot checks.
“These reactions are the start of fascism,” he said. “Citizens cannot attack officials for doing their job.”
He added that Greece has one tax inspector for every 1,100 inhabitants, much lower than other European countries, out-of-date computers and no access to X-ray machines such as in Albania, Bulgaria and Romania, greatly reducing the effectiveness of controls.