Attacks won’t stop tax auditors, ministry says

Attacks won’t stop tax auditors, ministry says

The Finance Ministry is planning to send tax inspectors back to businesses where auditors have been physically attacked. Inspectors have already received instructions for dealing with businesses where they face violence – which are usually the most likely to engage in tax evasion. The instructions state that the auditors can request police assistance at any time.

Checks in recent days have seen attacks on auditors on Myconos, including an incident at an island hotel where two tax inspectors were verbally and physically confronted. Angry hotel staff forcibly removed and destroyed their findings.

The instructions list the information that should be sent by the auditors to the Directorate of Inspections including the date of the incident, full details of the business and staff, a description of the incident, details of the company’s accountant and where legal action relating to the event stands.

A regularly updated database will be created based on this information from which details can be retrieved for audit purposes.

According to statements made by Alternate Finance Minister Tryfon Alexiadis to Mega TV, some 6,000 businesses are inspected every week. He noted, “We must find ways of shaming those who steal from the citizen and the state.” He also said they had already uncovered numerous violations with fake cash registers as well as incidents of data tampering.

Alexiadis said that the minance is examining the use of credit cards to clock expenditure against an individual’s tax-free limit. This will also include medical expenses. The relevant legislation is due to be ready by October.

According to reports, the economic team is considering building credit or debit card usage into the tax-free threshold and offering a higher tax-free threshold for taxpayers as an incentive for using this payment method. Alexiadis said that the phenomenon of tax evasion is mostly observed in tourist areas and stated that studies were being carried out into ways of motivating citizens and businesses to use credit cards.

Meanwhile, the new tax assessment which records the value of all a taxpayer’s assets will be applicable from November 2015. Those who fail to declare taxable assets will face fines and penalties if caught.

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